The Great Transition - Nature, Economics, and Faith


This is a synopsis of the talk by Rev Dr Simon Topping to Progressive Christianity Gloucestershire on Saturday June 2nd 2018

Simon based his illustrated lecture on the writings of South American R.C. liberation theologian Leonard Boff and on Pope Francis’ Encyclical “Laudato Si” There was remarkable convergence in their views which isn’t surprising as they come from similar backgrounds. Both call for a radical shift in world view and order, away from the old paradigm based on 1. Exploitation, 2. Dominion, 3. Growth
Leonardo Boff called for a new paradigm of:-
1. Interconnectedness, solidarity and harmony
2. An understanding of the sacredness of all – a merging of matter and spirit
3. Distributive power/shared energy.
4. A realisation of The Common Good
5. “Perichoresis” – relating together in movement and mutuality, giving space to each other. The word comes from the Greek “Dance of Love” performed at Greek weddings. It is often used to describe the relationship in the Trinity.
Simon reminded us of a need for honesty in our interpretation of Biblical texts in the way they can present anti-ecological perspectives of e.g. Patriarchy, The fall of Nature, Tribal ideology, anthropocentric views (man at the centre) even Monotheism.
Pope Francis – “Laudato Si” – a summary of its emphases
1. A new realisation of the interrelatedness of all things
2. The dangers of Anthropocentric views of creation.
3. A new understanding of The Common Good
4. Striving for Economic Growth is a threat to the environment
5. A new common destination of goods (as opposed to private property?)
6. The doctrine of the Trinity is pointer to a new spirituality – unity in diversity I suppose.
Where are pointers to be found to this new way of living? Simon suggested some examples to look at
• Indigenous Communities
• Transition Network
• The Hilfield Friars Community (Anglican Franciscans -worth looking at on line.)
• The Love economy
• A discovery of “Joy in Enough.”
• The local church (sometimes)
We were challenged by Simon’s presentation of this big picture of our world’s issues and suggested solutions. Discussion afterwards mainly focused on the micro steps and the importance of making small changes in lifestyle and community engagements. There is much fuel here for further exploration.

Image: By User:Perhelion - medivial church window; Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Group Bulletins