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Michael Dowd's spirit left his body Saturday night, pulling out the roots of him from thousands, tens of thousands, of people - me included.

I feel the pain in so many of us, as the Michael-in-us goes from here to the unknown.
How can that ebullient personality, that vibrant body, be now just another body, among the tens of billions of human bodies that have lived and melted back into the earth, the only G-d he believed in.

He went from being an evangelical preacher to the Universe Story preacher to a devotee of the truth of Overshoot and Collapse, and how human civilizations and the living earth have danced since before time was counted.

He found his way from an unstoppable community activist (when I first met him) to the wise teacher and friend he was Saturday, before the line was drawn and his life here ended.
Along the way, people like me have let his teachings penetrate deep into our own understanding of life. He introduced me this document from Sir John Glubb: The Fate of Empires It rattled my assumptions that we could change the world and set me on my own course of accepting what is - and isn't.

He offered, after much study, his understanding that there is joyous life beyond "doom" - TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it). He came to call it "Post doom, no gloom."
Beyond the wrenching grief for the suffering that comes as the climate swings into a new stability that likely won't include humans - there is a joy in just the glory of the living world/the living universe. There praise and thanksgiving and unfettered love for every spec of Life.

As Mother Teresa said, "We are not called to be successful, but faithful." He was faithful to reality, including glorious rivers and repeated endings of mighty civilizations.
His morality was ultimately this, this fidelity to reality and his unstoppable call to share his "good news" with tens of thousands of us.

I could make something of him dying as Hamas reined terror on Israel, a tragic act in a long history of displacement and mutual violence.

He might have said prayers for all who are being unspeakably terrorized, while also seeing how such wars always come as civilizations end. We see this tearing one another to shreds here in the US and in Ukraine and in a roiling struggle for dominance as our earth - reality, G-d - collapses along with exploded concrete.

Well, I don't know what Michael would have said. But I know he would have ministered with setting our shock in a larger context of holy life and human failing.

I loved him. For years. I also see that I let him find for me the language and context for this unraveling. I let him - and the hundred or so guests on my podcast - give me/us their understanding of what's happening and how to live through it.

So his death also lays down a gauntlet for me. Can I step further and firmer into the truth I carry. When a leader dies, this is the challenge. Often people vie to be the recognized successor of a great teacher. Not with Michael - though many will teach what he planted in them. The challenge for me is to anchor the wisdom I've gathered in my zig zag through life, and offer, through words, my partial but passionate values and understandings.
Here's how he characterized his mission:

"I am a religious naturalist/big history/big integrity evangelist. Since April 2002, I've lived permanently on the road with my wife, Connie Barlow, an acclaimed science writer, teaching and preaching a meaningful, inspiring view of the 14-billion-year epic of physical, biological, and cultural evolution to religious and secular audiences of all ages. I am passionate about sharing our common creation story in ways that uplift and expand heart, mind, and soul, and in ways that motivate people of all backgrounds and beliefs to grow in right relationship to Reality (i.e, to "get right with God") and to cooperate in service of a healthy future for all."

Listen to his last talk. Drink in the wisdom he distilled from his own passionate life. Hear him say, again and again, how much he loved life and how ready he was to die any moment. He was dedicated to truth, to service, to communicating every way he could that we are heading off the overshoot and collapse cliff. He was more bold, and LOVING, about this than anyone I know. If you were close to or inspired by Michael, I send my heartfelt love to you.

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