In a nutshell, VEJ is about "prayer, education, and action on behalf of Earth."
The order of those three things--prayer, education, and action--is not random.
VEJ co-founder Patty Gillis explained it to me once. I'll paraphrase it for you: Action grows out of education. Education grows out of prayer. Prayer grows out of grateful and humble hearts that open to receive the gifts that God gives through creation.
What happens when action comes before prayer and education?
Action without education is often wasted action. It is like scratching a mosquito bite until it bleeds and spreads infection.
Education without prayer often does a lot of good for the ego, but not much else. What good is it to be the smartest person in the world if nobody wants to be around you or listen to you? The opportunity is lost to be influential for good.
So, right action starts with education, but only if that education grows up out of a grateful, humble, simple heart.
And nothing cultivates that kind of heart like prayer.
These days, it feels like we need to act, act, ACT!
Every morning brings us news of crises that seem to get more urgent every day: Injustices against people and planet seem to be metastasizing all around us.
The human impulse is to do something...now.
That's not the wrong impulse.
But at VEJ, we believe the first thing to do in crisis is to pray. Prayer reminds us that we are not God nor should we try to be!
And then listen to understand. Education reminds us, not that we know a lot, but that we know very little.
And only after we pray and listen will we be formed by humility and grace and informed by empathy and knowledge. Then we act...in courageous compassion, cunning kindness, and love that is lethal to all that is not love in this world.
This year at VEJ, we are taking a time out from the fast-spinning cycle of action/reaction in the world to focus on prayer and education. We are looking to serve those who want to pray and listen for awhile so that they will be ready to act rightly when the time comes.
We are not withdrawing from the crises of our age; we are simply affirming that sometimes the best way to deal with a crisis is to "be still and know..."
If this is what you seek, please let us know how we can serve you.
Grace and peace,
BT Irwin, primus inter pares