Last week Bill Moyer’s hosted, "Is God Green?" Some folks announced it would be on at the Emergent Gathering and Micah sent me a text that he and Kristen were watching and it was good. I found it on the Internet and watched it today. It dovetails with another portion of Marilynne Robinson’s, Gilead.
The narrator is telling his son how he met his wife, his son’s mother. As the story unfolds one discovers this widower pastor falls for a young woman who visited the congregation. During her discovery of church and the instruction that followed some ladies interjected their views.
Two or three of the ladies had pronounced views on points of doctrine, particularly sin and damnation, which they never learned from me. I blame the radio for sowing a good deal of confusion where theology is concerned. And television is worse. You can spend forty years teaching people to be awake to the fact of mystery and then some fellow with no more theological sense than a jackrabbit gets himself a radio ministry and all your work is forgotten. I do wonder where it will end.
But even that was for the best, because one of the ladies, Veda Dyer, got herself into a considerable excitement talking about flames, that is, perdition, so I felt obliged to take down the Institutes and read them the passage on the lot of the reprobate, about how their torments are "figuratively expressed to us by physical things," unquenchable fire and so on, to express, "how wretched it is to be cut off from all fellowship with God." I have the passage in front of me. It is alarming, certainly, but it isn’t ridiculous. I told them, If you want to inform yourselves as to the nature of hell, don’t hold your hand in a candle flame, just ponder the meanest, most desolate place in your soul. (Robinson, Gilead,p.208)
Listening to some who want to deny the effects of the way in which we have lived into the "dominion and rule" of creation seems a bit obtuse and I wonder just where it is they find the theological moxie to pack into the Creation Mandate affirmation to rape the earth. One of the "experts" who wanted to rule all talk of global warming as left wing mumbo jumbo finds some sordid way in which God judges the earth via the irresponsibility of human beings. He notes the curse that fell on the earth as a result of the "fall." It seems the sacred text unfolds that curse as to the manner in which an agrarian culture would find crop development hindered by weeds, thorns and thistles; how work that would be edifying would bring misery. To suggest God authored toxins to be poured into our water supplies as the same as thorns and thistles seems something akin to a very difficult olympic sized gymnastic exercise. That same creation is given voice by the Apostle Paul and that voice longs for redemption from the curse and it is not an end to the earth but liberation!
Speaking about things scientific may be a bit beyond my expertise. But, the very idea the way in which we pollute the earth to be the manner in which a deterministic God exercises judgment on the planet for the sin of the human makes me want to trap the jackrabbits. Who gave them their voice?
I absolutely love Robinson’s passage quoted above that it may well have been stooping to connect her wonderful description to such rubbish. Yet, I sense that we empower some to our own peril.
It seems my cousin used to tell stories of rabbit hunting at night …