Grant's comments yesterday got me thinking about some other green bloggers that I have been reading. They seem to be mostly American ones, and I think they are not particularly interested in religious matters as a group, although I could be wrong about that. The buzz word is "challenge". They are banding to together to challenge each other to live better lives. It's really very exciting to read about.
There are a significant group of people networking to encourage each other to reduce their consumption of "stuff". The book "Affluenza" has been an influence here, as well as the well publicized year of personal environmental discipline detailed by Colin Bevan in his blog "No Impact Man" where he tries to live in New York City without making a negative impact on the environment. There is a group who are involved with "The Compact", where, among other things, they agree to buy nothing new; another group called "Riot for Austerity" also pledges to make lifestyle changes for the greater good. They often list personal rules for how they will go about disciplining themselves to spend less, reduce their environmental impact, and completely re-think the way they do everything. Austerity is a virtue.
There is also, in the last month or two, a group that have challenged each other to take a day off each week from all media/electronics. This seems to be less about going green and more about recognizing the way media, particularly the internet, has become too consuming in their lives, taking them away from rest, family, and the natural world. If you are involved in this challenge you can choose any day of the week to do this. Just pick one and try to stick with it.
When you step back to look at these discussions, it becomes pretty clear that human beings continue to wrestle with all the same issues that have always been there: How can we keep our lives in balance? What is "enough" and what is "too much"? How can we balance the need to work with the need to rest? What is real community, and how can we nurture it? Why save the environment if we never get a chance to walk in the woods or dig in the dirt? When is there a danger of important work becoming an unhealthy obsession?
These deeply felt yearnings are built into our very nature, I believe by God Himself. He ordained a Sabbath for us to rest. He provided an awe-inspiring Creation for us to revel in. He gives His blessing to family life, creating helpmates and deeming children a"blessing and reward". He encourages us to gather together regularly to think about Him and encourage each other. He prompts us to act in a unified way, as His body on earth.
The old-fashioned, mundane Sunday, devoted to church and family, is still appropriate today. Maybe Christians should revisit it, rethinking everything the way the bloggers are doing. Maybe, without becoming too judgemental of others, we should "challenge" each other to make that day one where we turn off the media, buy nothing new, leave the briefcase in the trunk of the car, and just have a Sabbath. Go to church. Have family and friends over for lunch. Take a walk. Talk over the fence with your neighbor.
Anybody with me?