Monday, December 14, 2009

Global Church Plans To Save World (plz)

Originally I had composed the following essay as a critique of general church 'policy' (or lack thereof) for inclusion in a Christian magazine. Most of the way through, however I realized that it would be far too 'hot' a topic to allow for publication in their standard journal, which like many of its ilk had many provisions about the publications standards and their aversion to controversy... Thankfully I came across Blogger and now can share this with all of you.

As this will constitute the second 'publishing' of this work I shall be sure to include revisions. For some of my friends this may shed new light on an old work. And that being said, though it is aged, like a fine wine I expect that its potency shall increase as this metaphysical liquor distills in the dark under-croft of the intellectual mainstream.

Though it is an old composition I hope that its inclusion as the first work on this Blogger site will speak to its importance to me.


Environmentalism vs. Christianity (v.2)
D. M. J. March

I have served in both Christian and Environmental organizations for much of my life. I have believed in the principals of both groups for quite some time. In that time I have devoutly studied various elements of the philosophies of both these groups and have arrived at a rather unusual conclusion; environmentalism is latently hostile to Christianity in their respective, present forms.

I realize that there is no obviously outright hostility, however I will argue that there is a great deal of latent, ideological tension between the two groups and that moreover it is in the churches EXTREME best interests to adopt a Christ-like attitude here (Philipians2:4-5).

So what hostility do I see ? I see the evidence [1] from the environmental camp that points towards the truth that the western (Christian) nations in their prosperity, ignorance and neglect, have directly contributed to the mass-poisoning of the planet Earth (Matt18:7)! This has been done to a point that we may be seriously jeopardizing the ability of future generations to survive on the planet if something is not done (Luke7:32). Invariably most of the responsibility for this tragedy must fall upon the Christian businessmen and governments that have perpetuated this unfortunate outcome as a tangible consequence. I feel that greed and negligence peppered with ignorance are the root causes of the environmental calamity that we are now all a part of. This is a deep-seeded and obvious connection, a fact that exists in the broad, rather undefined ideology which is 'modern-environmentalism'. Now still, you may conclude that a good part of this 'blame' may rest on the individuals or governments ASIDE from their Christianity or lack thereof. As if Christian values and environmental conciousness are somehow separated by a strange etherial wall (see religion vs science). This simply brings me to my next point; the secularization of the environmental movement.

Nearly every outlet for environmental education and action is in a ‘non-religious’ zone. Politics, schools, public property and even the common home. All these areas are places where we don't mention religion without some level of chastening. The political 'arena' is the forerunner of this. Mainstream parties are mostly non-religious now. Of course there are exceptions, but in the main all parties and governments must exclude preference to the Christian God to allow for other minority religions to have equality. We all know this basically results in the exclusion of any formal religiosity from the public forum and NOT practiced, unified acceptance and respect. Perhaps this is correct to do, perhaps not, but the effect is that all environmentalism, as a body of political issues, takes place in a thusly religiously-bleached atmosphere, if you will.

Schools are another place I mentioned. Here it is the standard now that a religious education is a luxury, or a specialization, not the public standard [2]. This is also where the next generation is learning about environmentalism. secular schools will never draw the connections between poor ethical decisions and intentional evils and environmental degradation and the eventual, direct costs.
Education on the subject seems to presently focus only on the hopeful management of already tainted systems, it does very little to make consideration of the practical realities of DOW, Monsanto, Kraft or other 'global killer' agencies. In fact there is an inherant conflict in many fine institutions that posses the ability to make a difference, namely funding.[3]

I certainly will never advocate the forced assimilation of religious minorities, but I find the trend towards religious exclusionisim instead of global unification to be quite troubling. Schools should be the center of discussion in our nations about where this system has gone wrong, about the best methods for ethnic and religious integration across regions, instead they are focused on the more narrow pursuits of management, marketing, business profiteering and legal manipulation - the very elements which have caused much of the present problem. Main focuses of campus law are international and security regulation, very little focus is given to municipal development, local political forum preservation, and increasing the quality of life. This is not the place to address the myriad problems created by this ransacking of the underlying social fabric and the alteration of the consented social norms (concented through silence, most often based on ignorance)

Finally, the home, the place where you are not to talk about religion or politics at the table. I have always found this a strange perception. As if the common people are not qualified to speak about nor form opinion on such matters in their own company... how taboo!
Thus the conversation at home as far as environmentalism is often reduced to "be sure to put the carton in the right box" or "did you see that movie about the planet ? Pretty wild! ". If we're not to talk about religion or politics at home then how will we ever get a dialogue going about a subject that stands to greatly effect them both !? Recycling seems straightforward enough. Except if you live in Ontario and you find out about Quebec or BC's policy. [4]

But how, you may ask, can environmentalism affect religion ? Above, I mentioned that the Christian leadership of the past 200 years seems to have had the cumulative result that one might expect from an enemy against the planet, that since environmentalism is taught in a near-strictly secular way it tends to bleach God out even more than confront the issues which may exist. The third point I want to mention is the atheism of environmental thought. One thing I often wonder is how much Andrew Carnegie or Thomas Edison would have already contributed in intellectual effort and fiscal capital to the resolution of these issues for all mankind, if they were still alive.

As a Christian-Environmentalist it took me a long time to realize just how much of a near oxy-moron I truly was. I never saw any conflict with a desire to heal/protect the Earth and to learn about the alleged King of Kings. Where I started to have concerns was in the idea that God somehow allowed this to go on and that prayer does not seem to be enough to clean the river. It seems upto us, apart from God entirely, to fix this mess. He never even acknowledged this problem directly in any of his works and it seems like we don't need to count on him too much for a solution either. If we all just do our part, it will fix itself (though how many of us do?). We seem to have quickly evolved to a people who now accept Gaia, or an ‘Earth spirit’ - which exists as mathematic and statistical truth - more easily than the spirit of our own, ancestral God. If we appropriately adjust the amounts of toxins we expel, Earth can heal, no big deal.

So where does God fit in ? For me, its in the same place he always has: around the dinner table, right where you might not want him. Getting in your face. You see, another thing is that God entrusted us to watch over this planet and its creatures (Gen1:26). Environmentalism is waving a big red flag in our faces telling us “HEY, YOU'RE DOING A BAD JOB HERE!” So many of us shy away from one ideology or the other or both, just so much that we don't feel like we're doing anything wrong. You see, the real trouble is that NOTHING (or very little) is being done. We know that the Earth is beat up. Hey, I do my supposed part and separate my garbage too. But is that enough; one day a week for maybe an hour. (sound familiar)? Is that enough for Jesus too, I wonder ? Is that enough for us, just taking it one hour per week at a time? I believe we are called to something bigger. Jesus left us teachings that were designed to bring us together, to stimulate dialogue and right thinking, and to bring honour to the greatness that created and sustains us which we cannot see and do not know (Acts17:23).

So is environmentalism hostile to Christianity ? Yes. How ? In its present form, as a means of idolatry. Number one on Moses top ten list of things not to do. Environmentalism exists in a separate world from our happy Christian notions. It steals our converts, diminishes our role, disgraces us and our King by his association to us. So what is the soloution ? For churches to embrace environmentalism. For churches to press governments for environmental soloutions we can all agree on. For churches to organize and pay to do the work of saving the planet and its people. If we believe that Jesus is the power that sustains us and gives us life and joy, then why aren't we living in a way that shows we appreciate it ? Why isn't the church an environmental leader ?! Does your church order environmental paper ? Look into environmentally friendly cleaning supplies ? Consider solar power ? Why or why not ? Shouldn't your church be a leader in efforts to save the world now that there is a way and a real call to do it ? Jesus didn't just want us to show up on Sunday, he wanted us preaching good news and living day to day in good service to our fellow men and our God.

Heres something to wrap your head around, in a book I once read they described Jesus as someone who came to save the person, the soul, the individual... the Anti-Christ was therefore someone who came to save 'the world', the physical environment and all the physical people in it. An interesting notion, if thats the way it is meant then its no wonder he is welcomed with open arms. Has the church abandoned its flock ? Do Christians emulate Christ ? Are we vigilant in our stewardship ? [5]

Do environmentalism and Christianity have any reason to remain enemies ? Will we as Christians take the slap and turn the other cheek ? Will we stand up and say “YES, we made mistakes in our ignorance, now lets get it fixed“ ? Will the church help to save the world at the end of the age ??! I hope so.


[4] - In ontario no standard deposit it paid or redeemable on cans, etc, in Que and BC they are.

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