Sunday evening we did not have services here on The Hill. Patty and I attended a Christian Forum on the subject, "Ecology, Environment and a Christian Response." A young couple attending our church was asked to be on the panel for the discussion. We wanted to hear what was discussed and we think, while Kristen carries Micah, they give themselves to asking hard questions and wrestling for answers. You could say, and we have, we are "kindred spirits."
Micah and Kristen have been spotlighted by the Oklahoma Gazette for their move to the Amber area and the project of living "green." Bob Waldrop, President of the Oklahoma Food Cooperative, and Dennis Williams, Professor at Southern Nazarene University, rounded out the group of panelists. The questions offered the panelists a wide swath to cut through the complexities and related issues created by questions about ecology and a life of faith in Jesus.
The last question posed by the moderator, "What three things would you recommend to us were we to begin considering ways to be environmentally friendly?" Everyone offered some great ideas. I was struck by the simplicity of the first. Growing up on 17th Street I recall the "clothesline." Two poles located at the north edge of the backyard with multiple lines running between them was a place we often gathered our clothes. We occasionally hid behind the drying clothes. I never once thought of it as environmentally friendly. And, when we did get a clothes dryer, I never thought we had become unthinking consumers. That was then.
Today, hearing Bob remind us of the thirst clothes dryers have for power I now realize the sensibilities of our day and times have changed. We know more today than we once did. We are still learning. Dennis noted much of what presents itself as "data" for the debate is relatively recent, within the past 100 years. Models are employed to work both backward and forward to offer speculation about our future. Admittedly, Dennis noted many times the "data" is manipulated and at some point a person must make a decision as to whether he is a "declensionist" or an "ascenstionist." This was not his reference to those who desired hell (declension) or heaven (ascension). It was not his attempt at humor but rather description. Either things are getting worse or they are getting better and at some point in the debate one must move from the paralysis of indecision and live based on their conclusions regarding this importnat matter. (I will save the eschatological implications Dennis and Micah rightly noted as grounds for the Evangelical penchant for the ostrich appraoch to the environment.)
Gas prices reaching and exceeding $3 gallon and with T. Boone’s prognostication for $4 gallon everyone is thinking about the cost of energy on some level. It would be a great time to seize the attention of careful consumers to alert them to ways not only to save but to aid in a proper understanding of "ruling and having dominoin" over creation. These power words often mute the intention. Rather than view ourselves as unrestricted takers of God creation, we would better see ourselves as "co-caretakers", as the late Rob Lacy noted in his "street" translation of Genesis. We team with God to care for his good world.
We are thinking about where to put a clothes line. We must move beyond thinking about where to put the clothesline. We must purchase the line and install it. Only them will what we say is conviction is really conviction. This assertion holds implications for more than just what we do with our convictions about God’s good creation. We would do well to re-consider what Kingdom means and just what our convictions are regarding the rule and reign of God in our lives and in our world. When these convictions become realities in our daily lives we may then tell someone of both our value and convictions, and so better than just words.
Thanks Micah and Kristen for calling our attention to God’s good world and ways we should think about our place in it.