Last Saturday, I attended the annual conference of the American Teilhard Association (ATA). The ATA was founded in 1967 and is committed to making the thought and vision of Teilhard more widely available. According to its website, the ATA’s objectives are:
- A future worthy of the planet Earth in the full splendor of its evolutionary emergence.
- A future worthy of the human community as a high expression and a mode of fulfillment of the earth’s evolutionary process.
- A future worthy of the generations that will succeed us.
The ATA conference was well done. There was an excellent networking session followed by a lunch. The keynote speaker was Mary Evelyn Tucker, Executive Director and Co-Author of the EMMY award winning documentary and accompanying book and education series, Journey of the Universe.
Dr. Tucker gave a wonderful lecture. I tried to take notes but I did a mediocre job of it as I was too caught up in her lecture. Here is an all too brief and incomplete summary Dr. Tucker’s main points of emphasis based upon my cryptic notes (please feel free let me know of any corrections via e-mail or in the comment section below):
1. Evolution and Cosmogenesis. Evolution, both in the biological sense and the cosmological sense, requires a major change in our thinking, something that humanity is struggling to deal with. Our understanding of the world had been based on the fairly static world of Artistotle and Newton. In the last 200 years, we have discovered through biology, physics and cosmology that the universe (and by extraplolation, the Creator of the universe) is far more complex, dynamic and beautiful than we humans had previously imagined. Humanity is still grappling for ways to understand the implications of these findings, which is leading us to a second axial age.
2. Grounding in Creation. Humans, and all physical creation, are grounded in matter. We are part of a dynamic and living universe. The direction of the evolutionary universe is not random or purposelessness.
3. Participating in Pattern. Logos, the divine ordering of life, is existent in all of creation, both material and non-material. All of us are called, by the very nature of our being, by the Creator to use our talents and creative energies to participate in the way of the logos.
4. Hominization / Divinization. Dr. Tucker used the terms hominization in the way that Teilhard did, namely that hominization is the way in which human thought transforms previously existing practices and functions of the earth. Humans, by virtue of us being the apex of evolution according to Teilhard, have an acute obligation to mitigate the potential upcoming environmental catastrophe. Although, Dr. Tucker did not specifically cite Pope Benedict, the theology and the implications were identical, whether it be the appeal to Teilhard or the obligation to take dramatic action on the environment.
Overall, it was a wonderful conference and presentation by Dr. Tucker. I truly appreciate her passion and inspiration. I also encourage you to order Journey of the Universe or attend a viewing in your local year. It is a very inspirational message.
Tomorrow, I will highlight some of the other interesting people I met at the American Teilhard Association Meeting that are doing amazing things and have wonderful resources to share.