Sunday, April 13, 2008

Green Pastor

Future Pastor, beware of the New Morality as you lead toward the Church of the Future. You will recognize it because it has some of the same characteristics of the morality as The Church As We Know It. The “Green Movement” has taken us by storm. Many point to An Inconvenient Truth as the tipping point for the gale of environmental concern, but its origin is not as important to grasp as is its spirit. I’m old enough to remember the long gas lines in the seventies and the Ecology Now stickers we put on our school notebooks. We were taught to conserve and pick up litter along the side of the roads. We were given slogans like, “Don’t mess with Texas” and “Don’t lay that trash on Oklahoma.” Cars were being built small and more fuel efficient as to get 40 to 50 MPG. So the Al Gore thing is not new to me. Neither is the judgment that is easily passed on today by well meaning proponents of a better environment. Not using squiggly light bulbs feels a lot like not having a Quiet Time. The choice to serve coffee in Styrofoam instead of paper can elicit a response similar to not going to church on a regular basis. We will always get this kind of feeling whenever a movement is based in fear and not in love. Remember that we preserve the earth because we love the earth, not because we are afraid it will burn up. We seek renewable energy because we love the next generation and hope to leave it with a better prospect for its future. Fear won’t lead us very far. What happens when you aren’t afraid anymore? Fear got us the Ford Fiesta and the Chevy Chevette, but we once we got over the fear of no more gasoline, we returned to our ways in a few years and got back to the big machines like the Hummer H3. I have squiggly light bulbs in every socket in my house. I recycle glass and aluminum. I compost. I try to consume less and conserve more. But I want to do so in a spirit of abundance and not shame. I don’t shake my finger at the person in the store buying a pack of incandescent bulbs. The Church As We Know It gave us that kind of evangelism. It was more concerned about staying out of hell than it was in living an abundant life. The environmental movement runs the risk of being guilty of the same thing. We can do better.

No comments: