In the book Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, what are Earthseed's connections with Black life, the pulpit, proclamation, and ritual?

In Parable of the Sower, the twenty-first-century Earthseed religion is shown to be closely connected to the rituals of Black Baptist Christianity in which its founder, Lauren Olamina, was raised.

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Octavia Butler's novel Parable of the Sower is set over several years in the mid-2020s, beginning in 2024, and is structured around the proclamation of a new form of religion. The protagonist, Lauren Olamina, is the daughter of a Christian pastor who is so identified with his vocation that he is only ever called Reverend Olamina. Lauren has lost faith in her father's religion. The rituals of Christianity, the church, the pulpit, and everything the Reverend Olamina holds sacred no longer have any meaning for her. Civil society is disintegrating, and Lauren formulates a new religion called Earthseed, which she believes is capable of giving people hope in these troubled times.

Earthseed is central to the book, and Lauren finds new devotees as she travels north to found a community based on its principles in the latter part of the narrative. The religion is not racially restricted, and some members of the Earthseed community, such as Harry Balter, are white. However, because Lauren has grown up in a Black Baptist church, the ritual and focus of Earthseed are strongly influenced by the charismatic style of worship often found in such congregations. Lauren aims to revitalize rituals and sacred objects, giving them new meaning and connection to the current situation.

At the same time, Earthseed has a pragmatic focus on communal life and on people helping each other, and the ritual is largely intended to form a cohesive group rather than to be God-directed. When one of the community objects to Lauren that God does not care about them, she replies:

All the more reason to care about myself and others. All the more reason to create Earthseed communities and shape God together.

Lauren never stops using Christian ritual, the rhetoric of proclamation, and even Christian scripture in her religion for the twenty-first century, which seeks to provide "a unifying, purposeful life" for its adherents. In fact, Lauren suggests that belief in Earthseed is compatible with simultaneous belief in other religions, including Christianity. Rather than preaching strikingly new or contradictory doctrines, Lauren adapts the religion in which she has been raised to face the challenges of environmental crisis and a disintegrating society. The funeral rites and the foundation of the Acorn community at the end of chapter 25, in which Earthseed and Biblical verses are mixed together, clearly shows the connections between Earthseed and the religion in which Lauren was raised.

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