Discuss: What Love Looks Like
I admire Tim DeChristopher immensely. He is a true hero. Does anybody have an address for him?
Initially offering tasty h’ors d’oeuvres, this conversation quickly becomes deeply nutrient-dense. Thoughout, the imperative and bone-rattling questions and responses are so authentic and challenging that we cannot come away with a world view that does not call us to action at our very most vulnerable places. We must, as is suggested, become a community that moves the [now off-]center.
Here’s Tim’s address:
Tim DeChristopher #16156-081
FCI HERLONG, SATELLITE CAMP
Federal Correctional Institution
PO Box 800
Herlong, CA 96113
Both Tim and Terry are honest, wise, and clear-eyed voices for this time of change. I have come to honor love over hope as a motivation for deep action, given the circumstances of our time. Great Gratitude to all working on the fringe…
This interview is remarkable, inspiring, true! It is long and worth reading. I agree with the other comments - honest, wise, clear-eyed. I feel encouraged to continue to do whatever I can to be part of the community that moves the center to a place that values the worth and well being of all beings, and the environment which supports all life. I know I need the courage to let go of my comforts, that this is what is holding so many of us back from acting on what we know to be true.
Nice Article. I wish I knew Tim better and I agree he is right in his pessimism. We need so much more than his act of civil disobedience. I am a nonviolent Unitarian Humanist with a (superficially) down-to earth technology education. I am of the generation that failed Tim and my own son along with the fore bearers who ignored Rev. Malthuse for the last 200 years. He said “The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man.” And I will add additional inadequate powers to absorb man’s various forms of poop —including atmospheric warming. Since he was an Anglican minister who understood mathematics, let us agree to blame the Anglicans and Episcopalians. Bless Tim to inherit a larger audience and all the others who wish for a non-violent solution. I predict nature will win and “There will be Blood.” Is it still considered violence if mother nature and men acting in their natural instincts are doing the smiting? I predict violence will change our insults to our planet. It will not be pretty. Perhaps the next 100 years will be the era of “Environmental Honor Code”
A couple of years ago, I spoke at a meeting in Tim’s Unitarian Church. His arrest provoked a meeting to discuss civil disobedience. As an identified-nerd, I was challenged to find technical solutions ,— Oh for the elusive silver bullet! Can’t we get the Lone Ranger to fire a few warning shots to save us! The Empathy for Tim’s illegal acts are a great symbolic start but we need more caliber! Could Stephen Spielberg give me a call? – we need an epic ‘religion co-opting film’ that scares everyone on the planet to drop the evil ways from their current cultural and religion practices and turn about. If Gene Roddenberry could come back from the dead —he would be up to the task as appropriate sequel to his “Trouble with Tribbles” episode on irresponsible breeding. If only Gene knew about global warming!
We need a heck of a movie that skips ahead in 50 year intervals and tell us about the crop failures and the gulf stream course-change and the too many people using all the oil and fire-lifting all our coal up into the atmosphere. But these outcomes are too abstract. We need the explosions and fires and riots of mobs charging with garden rakes when 5-6 billion people decide their feet and hands and buttocks are getting prune-textured from the oceans rising. Do you think they might move uphill? Do you think this may cause raised voices over food and cropland and where to pitch a tent and “Where the heck is some food, my microwave and food stock floated out to sea!” I guess there might be attempts to migrate and maybe some NRA folks will use their guns against anyone who isn’t their cousins. Anyway , I mentioned we needed cultural/religious evolution instead of higher mileage autos as a solution to Tim’s concern for Exxon-Mobile . I bet I can get Newt’s help on this!
Later, I joined a church discussion group on climate change. Our leader showered over a bucket—to capture grey water for recycling (as and example of home climate-saving practice —she didn’t show us how to shower over a bucket). I don’t follow such practices and felt like I had little to contribute. But I was inspired and suggested my root cause fix idea. “Environmental Cannibalism” addresses Malthuse observations and that if earthling want to live like Americans, we need to reduce down to a billion or so and this practice seems to be the most elegant, non violent path — introduce appropriate carnivores.
No I’m not optimistic. The global warming problem reminds me of trying to carry a shallow cookie sheet with 3 cups of water within the borders. It can be done, in theory. The water exceeds the way the pan is being used.
Charles Wilson Mechanical Engineer, CQE
A powerful and inspirational interview that should prompt each of to think more deeply about our commitment to a saner, less destructive future. Tim and Terry give me hope. Hats off to Orion for publishing this!
I like the consideration of the “dark place”. The place where you realize the
unimaginable evil and tragedy that is being enacted on our planet. The place where Robinson Jeffers’ poems The Purse-Seine and Rearmament strike a deep chord in the depths of oneself that realizes the all too probable end of the benighted experiment of intelligent life on earth. Was it all only meant to end in this nightmare of unconscious madness?
When I contrast this dark realism with the foolish and enabling optimism that so many cling to, I have to choose to fully experience the horror of our real situation over the cheap comfort of tenuous illusions. Those who refuse to acknowledge the awful truth are not truly prepared to face the drastic solutions that offer us our only hope. In their refusal they are deeply complicit in what is unfolding.
I really value the deeper discussion of grieving and wilderness because they seem to be helping me find my way.
I love and am inspired by Tim but am also angry and jealous of him locked in jail asking more to join him. Being arrested or receiving a sentence to jail is a public accountability of having taking a risk and standing up to the status quo. But it is no measure of how big of a risk that is. The inquiry from Terry about the most uncomfortable thing you can do the biggest risk to take with the most at stake to change the status quo seems more relevant.
Success for Tim looks like the story told above and I don’t believe it can be replicated by simply being arrested. I do believe we can learn to deeply source our own integrity and love through some form of spiritual practice and then ask others to be vulnerable with us and hold each other accountable to act courageously with our gifts.
I met Tim a year ago after returning from my own pilgrimage in the wilderness. Now a year later after lots of actions and experimenting with activism I am still cycling through fear, anger, love despair and hope that seem to arise from a grieving process of losing children I might have had and the future I thought I had. I too wonder where my next step and risk will lead. I encourage any looking beyond the surface of this story to really look at the core principles of Peaceful Uprising because they embody much more than joining Tim in jail - That’s just his way of throwing down the gauntlet to get us all to truly move our gifts -
www dot peacefuluprising dot org/about/peaceful-uprisings-core-principles
Thanks to Orion for publishing this and to Terry and Tim for being willing to share.