SpokaneFAVS is pleased to welcome Kimberly Burnham to its team of writers.
Burnham, who holds her PhD inIntegrative Medicine, is a brain health expert with extensive training in Craniosacral Therapy, Reiki, Acupressure, Integrative Manual Therapy, Health Coaching and Matrix Energetics. She currently works at New Moon Family Wellness.
She grew up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and now practices Judaism.
Burnham is also the author of several books and recently co-edited the anthology, “Music—Carrier of Intention in 49 Jewish Prayers.”
For SpokaneFAVS she will be writing about issues surrounding spirituality and health.
Read more about Burnham on the SpokaneFAVS writers page.
Tracy Simmons is an award-winning journalist specializing in religion reporting and digital entrepreneurship. In her approximate 20 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti. Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas, Connecticut and Washington. She is the executive director of SpokaneFāVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Washington. She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and national publications. She is a Scholarly Assistant Professor of Journalism at Washington State University.
Welcome. Since we are part of a larger organism, social, international , natural and environmental, what are your thoughts about religion and ecology, and theism or whatever?
Hi Tom Schmidt, Thank you for the question. I consider myself an environmentalist. Summer 2013 I bicycled 3000 miles across the country raising money for Hazon, which is the largest Jewish environmental organization in the US. I saw a lot of intersections between religion / spirituality and ecology or the environment. For example, who suffers most when our environment is damaged? Often it is the poor, the disenfranchised, people struggling to support their families. Spirituality, my thoughts anyway, teach us to have empathy and compassion for those who are struggling. One way to express that is to help people live in decent environments and have nourishing food to eat. For me spirituality, social justice and care for the environment go hand in hand. As I bicycled across the country I also started to understand the complexity of the environmental issues and that many people are doing the best they can. I might not agree with what they are doing but they are doing things from a place of trying to support their family and community. One of my favorite quotes from naturalist John Muir is “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” We are all connected and if we realized this we would really “first do no harm,” whether it is out of a sense of connection to people and the universe on a spiritual level or simply out a sense of self-preservation.
What a holy experience! To expand on my qyestion, I’m interested in how our views of any Diety or Christology or the cosmos effect our atitudes toward the world and our relationship toward it. For instance, the idea of the world being created as corrupt, and original sin, can impinge upon whether or not we should or could save it from our poluting and exploitative ways. A god who designed a society that is heirarchical might permit dumping on the poor. A god who is external to the creation might suggest that the creation is not important . How much might a beleif in salvation of the soul suggest that we need to abandon salvation of the world. There are many more models that have various meanings for our environmental concerns, and I think it matters very much what mages (imaginations) of G-D we use. I find many who are more concerned with preserving their possitionwith their church heirarchy, or in the eyes of their god, than they are about their relationship with nature. They want heaven and are hesitant about wasting time and energy on nature.