A Language of Healing and Relations

Sustainable Preaching at COP 26:

“A Language of Relations and Healing – New Ways Facing Climate Change”

Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SEC), Hall 5, Space IASS Potsdam, Nov. 10th, 13-14:30 (GMT)

Introduction (Michael Rentz)

We met at COP 26 to talk about the need of a new kind of language, new forms of dialogues, facing climate change. The language of the so called developed countries led into the ecological crisis during the last fifty years. If we look detailled, the roots of this language reach back to the age of Enlightenment in the Old World when “liberty” began to be understood the liberty to reject responsibility for what is happening around us and redeem ourselves individually. Unfortunately we forgot our brothers and sisters on that way.

The question is if the development of the developed countries is a desirable development at all for the planet. Outer voices and our inner voices tell us: It isn’t.

Since fifty years it seems we cant’t stop the ecological crisis. We seem to be captured in it because our thinking and speaking – our culture as our language of possible development – apparently opens no way to get out. It is like being captured in a matrix without knowing to live in a matrix and not in the real world. The way we speak and negotiate forces us continously to fall back into the matrix, see the film from the year 1999 by Lana und Lilly Wachowski: The protagonist Neo had the chance to chose between a blue and a red pill. We (in the industrial countries) permanently take the blue pill. That means everything will continue as it has been before. The predictable result is to be captured in a framing that causes the continuing ecological crises. In the discussion at COP 26 today we talk about the red pill that opens the eyes and leads out of the crisis – leaving the matrix. Maybe in fact it is a green pill because knowledge only of the situation is not enough. Social interaction is needed, and as we in this room imagine it has to be rooted in a spiritual way connected to our inner voices.

Our inner voice speaks a language of healing and creativity. Healing combined with creativity and facing challenges is what human beings really are made for. In this point philosophy and belief fortunately are in agreement. That makes me confident because we do not need two different strategies – one for Christians and another one for the rest of the world.

Not only climate change has to be faced with new forms of dialogues. This today’s challenge concerns all parts of the ecological crisis from which climate change is only one result. The ecological crises in fact is the half-hearted dealing with the challenges we are facing!

In the interfaith and international project “sustainable preaching” we try to develop a living network for creation care by rooting the terms of sustainabiliy to the verses of the bible. Here the participants – from all over the world – try to remind themselves and others that sustainability is nothing new but founded in the bible.

Thank you for being here to share your insights out of your personal spiritual background with us!


Dorothea Seeger, Marine Biologist, leading member of Friends of A Rocha in Germany: I really liked the picture that Jakob shared: connecting our head, heart and our hands. Thank you. I experienced that reconnecting with creation, observing and getting to know our fellow non-human (and human) creatures can be a healing and transformative experience (for me as a marine biologist especially being close or even better being in sea). And being in relation with our fellow creatures gives me hope, despite bleak and alarming scenarios. It gives me also strength to act.

Maureen Goodman, Programme Director, Brahma Kumaris, UK and Strategic Circle member, Spirit of Humanity Forum: The language we use has a profound impact on our worldview. Our culture is lived through our language. Indigenous languages are ‘verb-based’. For example, instead of a word for ‘love’ as an abstract thing, it is described as an act of generosity, an expression. There are many studies about this. Perhaps the most important aspect is the feeling behind the words we speak. What is our consciousness as we communicate? Is it a consciousness of respect, of abundance, or acceptance? The vibrations that come from our deep inner intentions are listened to far more than words. Cleaning out our consciousness from any negativity such as anger, fear or hatred will also help ignite those purer positive intentions in others.