Dependent Origination

I met Bob Thompson a couple of years ago when planning an event for the World Parliament of Religions being held in Salt Lake City. Bob was helping myself and a few others imagine a two day event prior to the Parliament. I loved his open, playful, and endearing personality. Ever ready to share a story. I found him kind, gracious, and real.

One of Bob’s books is called, A Voluptuous God: A Christian Heretic Speaks. It’s loaded with rich references and stories told in such human ways. In that book, Bob speaks of the concept of dependent origination:

Dependent origination teaches that everything that exists is dependent on something else. Every part of life is dependent upon other parts of life. The universe is a living organism in which each cell works in balance and cooperation with every other cell in order to sustain the whole.

Good, right. Familiar too, right.

I’m grateful for the many people I’ve met, like Bob, and from many walks of life — theologians, biologists, school teachers, health care professionals, and the like — that feed this narrative arc of an undeniable connectedness. Most of us, in most systems, are trying to relearn this amidst the 300 year wave of industrialization and mechanism that has engrained a cultural story of separateness.