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Peace, spirituality, values, and activism
from a Jesus perspective

Shalom activist Shawn Sanford Beck (part 2)

Shalom activist Shawn Sanford Beck (part 2)

This the second of a two-part conversation with Shawn Sanford Beck, Christian Animist and Green priest. In the first half we heard about Shawn’s faith journey. In this, the second half, we turn to his self-designations, exploring what they might mean for us.

Our conversation begins (1:00) with a brief return to his background in order to explore the sources of his current identity. While his animism was always implicit, going all the way back to the “enchantment” of childhood, later sources helped make that explicit and articulate. These included Star Wars (a sort of scripture for him), martial arts (10:45), easter religion (Buddhim and Daoism), Matthew Fox, eco-feminist theologies, Celtic spirituality, and then (much pater) indigenous history and practice. (14:00)

At 16:00 we turn to his book, Christian Animism, exploring why he wrote it, who he wrote it for, and the key themes of its three sections, starting with the meaning of his terms, then (24:00) turning to sources where we can learn this worldview and spirituality, before concluding (29:55)

After the break (36:00) we turn to Shawn’s “green priestcraft”, beginning with his wrestling with how to understand our relationship with the other-than and more-than human world (not indifference; not stewardship), before he settled on the idea of a priest (40:00) or “chaplaincy” (41:30). 

Then (43:50) we turn to the “craft” side of green priestcraft, where Shawn talks about a parish, grove, and shrine. This also includes (50:25) a process of leaving our ordinary life, kything as we enter the more-than-human world, and returning to ordinary life. And it touches on how this might impact our engagement with environmental “issues”.

We finish (1:02:00) with Shawn’s lingering questions and curiosities, including what it looks like to do any of this in urban context, and what to do with polytheistic conceptions of paganism.

The Rev. Shawn Sanford Beck is the Recruitment Officer for St. Andrew’s College in Saskatoon. He has worked in pastoral ministry, social justice chaplaincy, and theological education, and written and reflected extensively on ecological and interfaith spirituality (his blog is at https://ecosophian.wordpress.com/). He has been featured on Tapestry https://www.cbc.ca/radio/tapestry/not-doing-religion-by-the-book-1.4547318 and in the United Church’s magazine Broadview https://broadview.org/shawn-sanford-beck/. He can be reached at greenpriest@hotmail.ca. His book, Christian Animism, is available from Christian Alternative Books (JHP) or your favourite online distributor.

Photo: Christopher Sanford Beck

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7 months ago

This is a wonderful podcast, wide and deep. So much to consider and hopefully eventually act on. Thank you.

4 months ago

I initially refused to listen to these two podcasts featuring Shawn! However, after forcing myself to listen to both whilst catching up with a never ending ironing pile, I was pleasantly convicted to confess my discrimination towards this as a Christian. But since my Christian belief is being challenged to walk an Anabaptist and Kingdom Christian view I am glad that I opened my mind and heart to listen without prejudice. I have been challenged in my ecological views as well that I consider myself an ecologist in my way of life, eating a plant based diet etc. Shawn you came across as a warm, loving human being. I’d just like to add Eugene Peterson in his Message version has the responsibility in place of dominion, which really resonates with me, that like a parent we’re responsible for our children, or a carer is responsible for those under their care. I read that God placed Adam in the garden to garden it. Maybe Dominion had a different meaning in the middle ages, but doesn’t get away from the fact we have done great harm to the earth in the Western Church Culture and are still. Oh by the way I have bought your book on Kindle to read soon. Thank for two incredible podcasts Tim…! 😁👍👋🙏 blessings Jeff Knight

Last edited 4 months ago by jeff_knight_1957@hotmail.com
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