Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Light Game

"Through a young intern’s experience in a garden, we come to see how learning the incarnational art of growing food and coming to a deeper realization about why we’re here go hand in hand. In this simple narrative, Mary craftfully weaves together a story that reveals the connections between organic farming, religion, science, energy, light, and life to bring us to reflect on life’s deepest questions. The Light Game is a must-read for anyone searching for deeper answers, who questions religion, or who questions their own life. It will help us more clearly see the light inside each of us, and show us how we can each bring more light into the world."   - Kelly Moltzen, MPH, RDN, Franciscan Action Network board member & Wake Forest University School of Divinity Re:Generate Fellow
The Light Game, available for free on Kindle until September 14

"What if life is a game and there is only one rule?"

We are all searching for answers about the meaning of life. So much so that we often forget about the core truths about what it means to be human, and that people of all religions are in search of the same thing. Those of us who practice religion all seek to understand the "cause, nature, and purpose of the universe," which is how defines "religion."  But what if it all is actually very simple?  In my own tradition, I've realized that the very premise of the religion - that Jesus' life was about sharing what it means to live as an incarnational human being on Earth - becomes an elephant in the room when considering the schism between the life Jesus taught us to live and the human predicaments we find ourselves in at this moment in time. Catholics and other Christians often forget about the incarnationality of the religion, spending entire livelihoods deliberating on philosophical and theological concepts instead of living out what the religion tells us is important: how we live life on Earth.

To be in-carnate is to be in the flesh. The word represents a spiritual being residing in the flesh, in human form.  To fully live as humans we have to know how to nourish ourselves with food from the Earth, and so it is important for us to consider how the food we eat is grown, and even better, to grow some of that food ourselves.

Mary Colborn helps us make a critical discovery about the nature of the energy that produces our food in her new book The Light Game. As an organic farmer and lifelong spiritual Catholic, Mary helps us see that the energy that is used by plants to produce oxygen and food comprises the same vibrating molecules that make up the energy we live off of and is shared in our interactions with one another. Through the various parables (many rooted in the natural world) and healings performed by Jesus throughout his lifetime, Jesus was telling us the same thing. We are Light. We are all made of the same divine energy as that which created the cosmos.  And therefore, each of our lives is critically important, as we are all part of the whole.  We all have an integral role to play during our time on this Earth.

I met Mary through the Global Catholic Climate Movement and had a chance to visit her farm in Michigan recently after supporting her Barnraiser fundraiser earlier in the year.  I've been interested in supporting her work especially after realizing our shared interests in promoting regenerative agriculture within the Catholic Church. While at the farm, Mary read me an almost finalized version of The Light Game. As the book is about a young intern working in the fields of Mary's farm and wrestling with questions about the meaning of life as Mary ponders these questions out loud with her, it felt almost as if I was in the book itself, as I helped harvest produce and talked to Mary about the contents of the book. We picked green beans and raspberries and reflected on Franciscan spirituality, integral ecology, and the challenges of trying to sustain a farm in this day & age with little government support for small-scale organic farmers. I met Mary's sister Tina, saw the chickens, barns that need repair, and acres and acres of unused farmland potential that could be created into a teaching farm with student interns as Mary envisions. I also saw the giant Love Letter on the side of her barn that she talks about at the end of the book. As a struggling small-scale organic farmer, Mary hopes to use the proceeds from the book to revitalize the farm, create a food hub and internship program for young farmers. She's not working alone, either- Mary hopes to do this in tandem with the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Food Innovation Center, which is building a food hub for farmers in the Kalamazoo Valley of Michigan.

I cannot stress enough how exciting this project is, and how profound The Light Game's message is. I would really like you all to read it, and so would Mary.  In honor of World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10), Mary is making her book available for free for five days, downloadable on Kindle or the Kindle app.  Please check it out and share your comments - we'd love to hear what you think! 

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