Students at Union Theological Seminary prayed to a display of plants set up in the chapel of the school, prompting the institution to issue a statement explaining the practice as many on social media mocked them.
After nearly 10 years of creating content for Now The End Begins, sometimes I feel kind of jaded, like I have seen it all. And then this happens. In an absolute stunning illustration of the last days Church of Laodicea that Jesus says He will “spue from His mouth”, students at Union Theological Seminary bow down before plants, worship them, and then confess their ‘climate sins’ to them. If I was an end times novelist, and I brought this story to my editor as a plot idea, he would throw me out of his office for suggesting something so stupid. And yet, this is real, and welcome to the end times.
“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:14-16 (KJV)
But you needn’t be too shocked or surprised by all this, a quick trip to the Union Theological Seminary website tells you that “Union is one of the first major seminaries in the U.S. to open its doors to new programs devoted to non-Christian communities.” What do they mean by that? They mean that they proudly teach Islam and Buddhism as part of their “interreligious engagement.” That is to say that Christianity and the Bible is not the only way to God or to Heaven. So be careful before you send your child off to a “christian college” because they just may come back as a Muslim, a Buddhist, or more likely as an atheist.
The one bright spot in all this end times theological slop is that if we are in the end times Church of Laodicean age, that’s a good thing because the next event on the timeline is the Pretribulation Rapture of the Church!
‘Absolute theological bankruptcy’: Union Theological Seminary students confess climate sins to plants
“Today in chapel, we confessed to plants,” the nation’s oldest independent seminary declared Tuesday on Twitter. “Together, we held our grief, joy, regret, hope, guilt and sorrow in prayer; offering them to the beings who sustain us but whose gift we too often fail to honor. What do you confess to the plants in your life?”
- RELATED ARTICLE: THE CHURCH OF LAODICEA
The ceremony, which is part of professor Claudio Carvalhaes’ class “Extractivism: A Ritual/Liturgical Response,” drew ridicule from many on Twitter, some of whom accused the seminary and students of having lost their minds.
In response, the seminary’s Twitter account began retweeting users who defended the ritual and also issued a statement spanning a lengthy 10-tweet thread.
“We’ve had many questions about yesterday’s chapel,” the statement read in part. “In worship, our community confessed the harm we’ve done to plants, speaking directly in repentance. This is a beautiful ritual.”
“We are in the throes of a climate emergency, a crisis created by humanity’s arrogance, our disregard for Creation,” the statement continued. “Far too often, we see the natural world only as resources to be extracted for our use, not divinely created in their own right—worthy of honor, thanks and care. We need to unlearn habits of sin and death. And part of that work must be building new bridges to the natural world. And that means creating new spiritual and intellectual frameworks by which we understand and relate to the plants and animals with whom we share the planet.”
Today in chapel, we confessed to plants. Together, we held our grief, joy, regret, hope, guilt and sorrow in prayer; offering them to the beings who sustain us but whose gift we too often fail to honor.
What do you confess to the plants in your life? pic.twitter.com/tEs3Vm8oU4
— Union Seminary (@UnionSeminary) September 17, 2019
Encouraging churches to turn from “theologies that encourage humans to dominate and master the Earth,” Union asserted that “we must birth new theology, new liturgy to heal and sow, replacing ones that reap and destroy.”
“No one would have blinked if our chapel featured students apologizing to each other,” the statement went on. “What’s different (and the source of so much derision) is that we’re treating plants as fully created beings, divine Creation in its own right—not just something to be consumed. Because plants aren’t capable of verbal response, does that mean we shouldn’t engage with them? So, if you’re poking fun, we’d ask only that you also spend a couple moments asking: Do I treat plants and animals as divinely created beings?”
Confessing to the plants was “just one expression of worship here at Union,” a spokesperson for the seminary told the Washington Examiner. “Union Theological Seminary is grounded in the Christian tradition, and at the same time deeply committed to inter-religious engagement. Union’s daily chapel is, by design, a place where people from all the wondrous faith traditions at Union can express their beliefs. And, given the incredible diversity of our community, that means worship looks different every day!”
“One day, you may come in to find a traditional Anglican communion, another day you may enter into a service of Buddhist meditation or Muslim prayer,” the spokesperson continued. “Another, you may find a Pentecostal praise service or a silent Quaker meeting. We create a home where people can worship side by side, in traditions similar to and very different to their own. Through this process, we learn from our neighbors and discern our own faith more deeply.”
Affiliated with neighboring Columbia University in Upper Manhattan, Union became the nation’s first independent seminary in 1893 when it sundered from the Presbyterian Church after the denomination tried to oust one of its professors for claiming the Bible is not inspired by God, among other things. READ MORE
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