Permaculture is about growing self-sustaining plants operating in relationship. Could this be a way back to the garden? Can we also become self-sustaining people operating in harmonious relationship with each other and all life on earth? Isn't this God's intention for us? Isn't it our own best intention for ourselves?
Religion in its epistemological ground is "to bind together". Religion in accord to this meaning could mean a binding of people who have similar views. In my opinion, it is more than that. It also means playing with your child, making love, or sitting under a tree in a forest to meditate.
In their work, Elaine and Francis were on target.
Religion is about the interrelationship of everything to everything else. This is true holiness or wholeness. Their work in permaculture gardening is the practice of religion. Their love is a manifestation of their religion.
Life with religious intent is seeing the sacredness of the All in every Participant. Indeed, as Christ is said to have come for the sake of all, then so has the fly. Why? Because that fly is a participant in the ecology and weather of the entire cosmos, as we all are. Thus, it is said in Chaos Theory, "A butterfly flapping her wings in China affects the weather in New York." Humans are divine and so is humus.
Elaine and Francis' work in permaculture realized that relationship. What they did in their gardening, and in their political and spiritual work, was to foster the essence of love through recognizing the interrelationship of everything to everything else.
Thus the mystic Meister Eckhart states: All creatures shout God! This work signifies that YOU affect everything else. This is the deep mystery of Elaine and Francis' spiritual example.
In some Gnostic Judea-Christian practices, this is reflected in the calling of God as the All. That includes the chirping cricket outside my window. That includes Elaine and Francis. And, it means you, the reader. It doesn't mean that as an atheist you don't shout "God!" It means that you do. In your essence you shout God, the Self (I AM) or Nature (Essence).
So, perhaps God is not preaching up on a pedestal, but is more bottom-up? As William Blake put it: