Turtlelog No. 7, www.TheGreatStory.org
of Great Story Leaders
Clockwise upper left: Ralph Copleman, Mary Coelho,
Linda Gibler, Bill Bruehl
Commentary by Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd
Before we launched our life on the road, we taped audio interviews over the phone with twenty leaders of the Great Story movement, documenting personal stories of how each first experienced the 14 billion year journey of cosmic evolution as a sacred story, what aspects of this story touched them the most, and what difference it has made in their lives. During our first year on the road, we taped perhaps ten more. Then we purchased a video camera, and began recording "personal testimonials" in video format. (The above photographs were captured as stills from the video recordings.)
Why record testimonials? We are convinced that, in a hundred years, our time will be looked upon as the birth of a new consciousness, inspired by the work of Thomas Berry and others, who are helping increasing numbers of us adopt an "Ecozoic" vision of the future and appropriate lifeways to bring that vision about. Brian Swimme, Miriam MacGillis, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Matthew Fox, Elisabet Sahtouris, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Andrew Cohen, Duane Elgin, Don Beck, Ken Wilber, Joanna Macy, John Seed, Robert Wright, John Stewart: these are some of the pioneers in this and closely related movements. These diverse leaders provide inspiration and good works at national and international scales. Yet there are hundreds of creative and passionate individuals working at regional and local levels who are crucial to this movement. It is our goal to record the personal stories of transformation and action of these lesser known individuals.
In March 2004, we shipped all of the audio testimonials we had collected to Bron Taylor, Professor of Religion at the University of Florida (Gainesville). After visiting with Bron in January, and providing a guest lecture for his graduate level class in "Religion and Nature," we were told that the raw material we had collected could be put to use by Bron's graduate students in the first U.S. PhD program in "Religion and Nature." We are delighted that this precious historical material has finally found a home and will be put to use. While we were doing the interviews, we gained a gestalt sense of how people awakened to the The Great Story and what a difference it has made in their lives, but it will be extremely helpful to us and others to have this material professionally studied and summarized.
As to the new, video-recording phase of this project, we aim to continue collecting more high-quality video interviews as we encounter such leaders in the course of our travels. We have no funding for this effort; rather, it requires a commitment by us to seek out the individuals and set aside the time for filming. We trust that various institutions and individuals will be able to make good use of this documentation in the years to come.
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