The Turtle Island Project and its new North American Theology share a vision with a religion and spirituality portal that uses 21st-Century technology to spread the word – to a globe of faithful – who believe we can all learn from each other – while living in peace and respecting the planet that was given to all of us by the divine creator (God, Allah etc.)
It’s all about communications:Read the Spirit: http://www.ReadTheSpirit.com/explore Turtle Island Project: http://www.TurtleIslandProject.org TIP Sacred Places website – Upload your own Sacred Place: http://www.NorthAmericaSacredPlaces.org
When historians look back on 2007, we hope that two significant developments in religion will be the creation of the “Read the Spirit” portal and the Turtle Island Project’s new North American Theology – both are a modern way of returning to the roots of religion.
On August 11, 2007 – the founders of the Turtle Island Project – Rev. Dr. Lynn Hubbard and Rev. Dr. George Cairns – participated in a national conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan organized by the founders of Read the Spirit – David Crumm, the longtime religion writer/editor for the Detroit Free Press and John Hile, a man who puts the spirit in technology.
The Founders of the “Read the Spirit” portal
The conference included numerous other writers, editors, photographers, artists, clergy, scholars and people from other disciplines who agree it’s important to keep up the internet and other new ways to spread the message of religion.
The founders of the Turtle Island Project are developing the new North American Theology and have open a website for Sacred Places – where the public is encouraged to upload their own Sacred Places – and explain why these sites should be respected and protected.
Founders: Turtle Island Project & new Northern American Theology
Here’s how to read and contact Read the Spirit:
Read the Spirit Director:David Crumm David.firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the Spirit Technical Genius:John Kile email@example.com
Here are some photos from the interfaith Read the Spirit conference in Ann Arbor followed by the 10 Principles that were “nailed” by those attending:
The Founders of Read the Spirit say:
We are a new kind of media network.
We are David Crumm Media LLC, a multi-media publishing company focusing on religion and spirituality that is headed by partners David Crumm and John Hile.
But, ReadTheSpirit also is a network of professionals — writers, editors, photographers, artists, clergy, scholars and people from other disciplines, as well, who are building cooperative partnerships to produce books, Web content and videos.
Seventy of our friends gathered for a national conference in Ann Arbor in August and collectively we “nailed” these 10 Principles to a portal, a deliberate echo of the nailing in Europe half a millennium ago. As our new portal, ReadTheSpirit, expands through early 2008, we will become a global gathering place for people who find these voices helpful in their daily lives.
The principles that we “nailed to a 21st-Century portal” on August 11, 2007:
The Ten 21st-Century Principles of Religious Publishing
Principle 1: It’s about the Voice, not the book.
This religious truth cuts across spiritual traditions. Our Scriptures talk about Voice, Message and Word. And, today, this principle remains profoundly true. In this new century, power lies in the message, not the specific packages, which are constantly evolving. So, we are not merely a community of writers; we are a community of Voices preparing ourselves to speak in a variety of media. Recognizing that the power is in the message, not any specific media product, gives us tremendous freedom and speed – because our messages begin to have impact the moment we voice them, not merely on some arbitrary, fleeting product-release date.
Principle 2: If we are people of Truth, then we have nothing to fear from creatively, vigorously searching for Truth.
Our books (or videos, broadcasts and Web sites) don’t need to answer every question. We’re not replacing the fullness of Scripture. That’s not our role. We only need to truthfully seek and helpfully point people along the journey with us. This gives us an enormous territory in which to work, because we can boldly and creatively look for truth anywhere – and we should do that, because other people are already out there in the most unlikely places – looking on their own. Ultimately, this principle relieves us of the impossible burden of trying to act and talk and write like gods ourselves. We can be humbly humorous about our own occasional failings – and that realization, in itself, is an expression of Truth, as well.
Principle 3: We must look for Truth in every stage and condition of life — and in every corner of our human family — because our traditions call us to overturn false assumptions about the vulnerable.
For example, just as Dr. Benjamin Spock overturned truths about child care at the dawn of the Baby Boom, it’s time to overturn the belief that aging is a disability to be suffered or, at best, a problem to be solved. There are spiritual gifts in every stage of life – and America is poised at the precise moment when millions will be searching for that new truth about “The Gifts of Aging.” Just as we have deceived ourselves about the spiritual nature of aging, we have fresh work to do in seeing the truths among millions of people within our so-called religious minorities. The 21st-century truth is that we are all religious minorities. And, contrary to popular belief, this strategy actually can be Good Business in media – as “Baby and Child Care” proved in 1946 by becoming the most successful English-language nonfiction bestseller other than the Bible itself.
Principle 4: It’s about connection, not competition. Our Voices should call people together, not separate them.
We’re building community, not marketing niches. During the boom of “church growth experts” in the 1980s and the explosion of religious publishing in the 1990s, we bought into marketing principles that may have helped us spread the word for a time – but that ultimately run counter to our core religious principles. All of our religious traditions call us to connection and cooperation. In religious publishing, fragmentation and competition has led us only to reduced margins, a confusing torrent of messages and an uncertain future.
Principle 5: The most powerful spiritual stories are in the lives of the ordinary people we meet.
This truth was demonstrated repeatedly by Jesus and the world’s other great religious teachers, but we have forgotten this enormously important lesson in our chase for tales of celebrities, powerful preachers and exotic heroes. As American media fragments and publishers cut back on their budgets to send reporters across the U.S. and around the world, we risk missing out on telling some of the greatest spiritual stories of our age – the stories of real people who may be sitting next to us – or may be living in villages half way around the world.
Principle 6: Millions of people are looking for the best path toward a spiritually satisfying Home.
As Americans, we’re a restless, rootless people searching for Home. Compared with the rest of the world, religion matters deeply to the vast majority of Americans – but a restless desire for individual choice and self-expression also is nearly universal. The good news is that this is the perfect opportunity for reintroducing highly motivated readers to the often-forgotten treasures of their own religious roots.
While all the principles are important – Number 7 means a lot to the Turtle Island Project founders as we promote respect for the environment and Native American culture.
Principle 7: We are in an era of profound cultural change that raises spiritual questions, across the spectrum, about our relationship to our planet – and the meaning of the place in which we live.
Americans are already asking – and answering – these questions for themselves. In our daily habits, we have transformed Starbucks coffee shops into the most successful new denomination of urban temples. Buzz words like green and eco-theology are rising from the Orthodox and Catholic churches all the way to the far end of the evangelical world. We need to explore what our religious traditions – including largely overlooked realms, such as Native American wisdom – can teach us about the sacred meaning of place. And, we need to creatively seize this opportunity to rethink spaces in our communities. Perhaps bookstores themselves, which are endangered in many areas, can be celebrated as sacred spaces – an idea that could transform the religious community’s relationship to many local stores.
Principle 8: The Spirit moves in community.
Scriptures echo this truth, but we don’t act like we believe it. Religious media currently segments and separates spiritual Voices, often rejecting promising work for a lack of resources to shape these voices and frequently boxing voices into preconceived niches, thus crippling them. Writers, filmmakers and artists usually work in relative isolation, in many cases experiencing real community only in brief periods like author tours or festivals, if they are so lucky. We believe that, in religious publishing, we can form diverse communities of Voices who work in different areas of our communities and explore widely divergent spiritual issues. This timeless principle of community also reflects emerging theories of social networking in this new century. Almost without realizing it, each of us carries a network of people wherever we go – and linking our networks into spiritual, creative community will produce wiser, more creative work that can reach a far larger audience than any one of us can reach alone.
Principle 9: Radical transparency is good business.
From Open Source software to crowdsourcing projects like Wikipedia, millions already are throwing open the doors and windows to flood the creative process with sunlight. We must do the same, because even the technology of book publishing is radically changing through tools that finally are democratizing even the printing, binding and distribution of books themselves. Publishers no longer control this means of production – even though the book remains a remarkably flexible, mobile, universally celebrated product. We intend to connect and promote important spiritual Voices both with existing publishers – and through these new means. We also intend to reinvent the way spiritual books are presented online with simple domains that are easy to remember, easy to access – and become places of community. In this new century, the doors and windows are opening already – and the truths of our religious traditions suggest that our calling is to bring light, not darkness.
Principle 10: Peace is possible.
This is The Ultimate among all the ultimate truths of faith. But, most often, we voice this claim only apologetically in media, especially after troubling religious claims are made in defense of some new hateful or violent act. Why don’t we boldly seize this truth and see where it leads us in religious publishing? We agree that there is value in exploring and understanding the nature of conflict so that we can chart fresh approaches toward making peace – but, too often, we merely publish shrill and angry voices or report suspenseful tales of religious conflict deliberately calculated to raise anxiety. There’s enough of that on bookstore shelves — and a new millennium ahead of us. Let’s form a vanguard of Voices, talking to the whole world about Peace.
From http://www.ReadTheSpirit.com, posted from the GreenWood Chapel gathering, Saturday, August 11, 2007.
Questions may be directed to David Crumm at David.Crumm@gmail.com
Some more photos from the Read the Spirit conference that kicked off this communications network in Ann Arbor, Michigan on August 11, 2007 – a day that will live in-family – in-spirit – in-religion – in-love – in-peace.
Everyone is welcome at Read the Spirit and at the Turtle Island Project.
Living in Peace and Respecting the Earth while learning from each other – are a few of the goals of both Michigan-based groups that are reaching out from the heart of the Great Lakes to the world.
The will of Allah and the will of God can – and should – foster love for all mankind.
The photo above shows that inner city and larger wealthier churches can work together for the betterment of people in both communities.
Guest speaker at the Read the Spirit national conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan was well-known author Rev. Grace Imathiu (pictured below), a United Methodist pastor from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Rev. Imathiu’s passionate delivery was as inspiring as her important heartfelt message about love and respect for others.
Pictured above are projects Americans are doing in Africa. It’s easy for Americans to be so caught up with the problems at home like unemployment, homelessness, crime and politics – we forget about the rest of the world.
Even on a bad day in America, it is far better than in some countries around the world – where a glass of clean water is hard to find.
Speakers with a vast array of knowledge kept the audience interested during the one-day conference.
Read the Spirit Director David Crumm used Tinker Toys to explain a simple message to the media and writers gathered.
Communication in the 21st-Century is all about interconnecting .
Pictured in the above two photos is John Hile, who keeps the show rolling. The ever-changing technology in 21st-Century is complicated and running a smooth operation is impossible without experts like Hile.The moment it began – David Crumm (below) introduces his media plans for religion editors, writers and others.Followed by a photo – that’s a thousand words said in one picture – the official press release.
And finally – after checking out Read the Spirit – Dr. Cairns invites you to visit the Turtle Island Project’s new Sacred Places website – and please – upload your own Sacred Place:North America Sacred Places: http://www.NorthAmericaSacredPlaces.org Read the Spirit: http://www.ReadTheSpirit.com/explore