Sunday, April 22, 2007
Earlier this month, Jenn wrote a favorable post about Al Gore's documentary movie, An Inconvenient Truth. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I agree with Jenn that people (I'm thinking primarily of North Americans, or - to narrow it more - Americans) need to get much more serious about taking care of our planet. I pointed out in a comment on her post that some high-profile evangelical Christian leaders don't believe Christians should get involved in environmental issues. Dave also added a bit more about this subject in a later comment.
Since today is Earth Day, lots of environmental articles are being featured on the Internet. Here's one view of the Christian Right's stance vis a vis the environment. The author mentioned, but did not link to the web site for, a group of environmentally responsible Christians who disagree with the highly visible, shrilly vocal and sadly out-of-touch yet familiar evangelicals and fundamentalists. Andrew Sullivan, a columnist for The Atlantic Monthly, calls the latter groups Christianists. It's his parallel to the term, Islamists, which many apply to radical, militant, fundamentalist Muslims. Sullivan, a gay Catholic Christian, wants to distinguish between the general body of Christians and the extremists who give the rest of us a bad reputation. Follow the links to the article and web site. You'll learn some interesting stuff. But before you go away, check out my Earth Day story:
When Dave and I were corps officers (pastors) at the St. Marys, Ontario corps (church), nearly 20 years ago, we had an opportunity to help the congregation take a small environmental action. Our ladies groups (there were several of them, attended by anywhere from 12 to 100 ladies each month, depending on the particular program) had gotten into the habit of using styrofoam cups for our refreshments. They were cheap and convenient: use them and throw them away, no dishwashing hassle. How could you not love that?
It so happened that several of us watched a news program about the destruction of the ozone layer one Sunday evening. The next day, the Home League secretary (a key leader for all the ladies' groups) and I talked about it and decided to encourage the ladies to start using china tea cups, even though that would create more labor. At the next general meeting, on Tuesday, we discussed it with the members. Several of them had seen the same show and all of them agreed that we had to do something, however small, to act responsibly. We all agreed that it was a matter of Christian stewardship - caring for what God has given us. That afternoon, we began using china cups, washing them, putting them away, etc. I was proud of "my" ladies. And you know what? They were all ages 65-85. They weren't young, college-educated, sophisticated liberals. They were older, small-town ladies who knew how to use the common sense that God gave them. Environmental responsibility is not just an issue for the young, the brilliant, the beautiful, the sexy - it's an issue for all people and, in fact, for every living being.
My challenge to myself, my family (immediate and extended) and friends is to celebrate Earth Day by thinking about what we can do to be more environmentally responsible. And then to do it.