Friday, March 14, 2008

Green Believers

I have been having a lot of fun dinking around in the blogosphere, discovering and becoming blog buddies with people all over the English-speaking world. Somehow, through an interest in gardening and composting, I have branched off into converstion with folks who are very interested in environmental issues, and there is just a huge range of discussion going on out there on this subject. For months I "lurked" around these sites, meaning I read them, followed up on their links, and generally got to know which ones I enjoyed and which I could do without, but now I have gotten up the courage to comment on some of them, and a few have been kind enough to repond, either on their on blog or over here on mine.

I'm sure, if they pop over here to Tallgrassworship, they wonder what in the world a Baptist church choir director has to do with them and their concerns! It must seem like a real stretch.

First off, let me say there are an awful lot of ordinary, middle-aged women out there who are concerned enough with leaving a clean, healthy, beautiful world to their children, that they are making changes, both small and large, in the way they live. These are the people I most enjoy reading. I certainly don't know where most of them stand on spiritual issues-probably all over the map, would be my guess. But for me, I like to think about what Pastor Rob Bell recently was quoted saying: "The way you treat the Creation says something about what you think of the Creator." I guess you could liken my environmental stance to the way I think about gifts I've recieved-someone gave me something they thoughtfully chose for me, and I should value it, use it, enjoy it, and preserve it's function as best I can. It's an act of thankfulness and appreciation.

And, on the theme of worship, thankfulness and appreciation, are certainly part of what we do on Sunday morning. "Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; praise him all creatures here below..."

One thing I stumbled on this week was a group of folks in the UK who are attempting to produce zero waste for a week. The UK is facing landfill issues, and this is a hot topic there. And, to my surprise, many of the people attempting this have framed it as part of "Lenten fasting". They are using the tradition of giving up something as an act of spritual discipline, to "give up" wasting resources that they had been sending to the landfill.

Generally speaking, American Baptists don't talk much about Lent. We traditionally haven't followed the church calendar very closely, with the exception of Christmas and Easter. I'm not going to sit here and tell you why we are like this, because I'm not sure I know all the ins and out of it, but I have never heard about Lenten disciplines being discussed in my church. We do, however, see fasting on occasion, as something that is done for a certain person spiritual purpose-say a special season of prayer.

But I was fascinated to think about folks using this form of personal worship as a chance to change, perhaps permanently, some personal habits related to caring for God's Creation. It counters the concerns that some Christians have had that environmentalist worship the created, rather than the Creator.

So, good for you, all you Anglicans! Thanks for sharing these thoughts on your blogs. This central Illinois Baptist is with you in spirit!


grant said...

I gave up meat for Lent to remind myself to cast off my flesh, but I've also thought a lot about the environmental impact of our culture eating way too much meat during this time.

I eat meat on Sundays, since tradition states that Sunday is never a fast day. To my surprise, I find that I have been so grateful to eat meat on that day and it makes Sunday more of a celebration. It reminds me of how Jesus said to fast while he was away and feast while the bridegroom was here. I'm also realizing that in order for me to live something else must give up its life.

Also, during this time, I've realized that I don't really need to eat as much meat as I thought I did. Thanks to you for teaching me good eating habits, because I like to eat my veggies and such, but wife has also helped. My wife is studying to be a dietitian and has helped me find meat-free protein replacements for my fast.

I'm thinking after Lent is over I might have a big week of eating a bit more meat (to celebrate Easter) and then I might settle back into eating meat once a week.

your son, +Grant

Joyce said...

Can we still have you over for a cookout once in a while? We don't want to tempt you with brats in beer....

grant said...

I've been reading a lot of Desert Fathers this past year. They were pretty hard core about fasting, but it seems like they never turned down hospitality. So if I'm invited over for a meal, I don't turn down what I'm served. :)

Joyce said...

Maybe it will seem okay if we have you over on Sunday after church. That fits with the boundaries of your fast.

grant said...

the fast will end on Easter, but it has helped me realize how much meat I actually "need". True fasting helps realign prorities.

Shannon Hodgins said...

I should have read your next post down! Good thoughts.

I'm glad your commenting and reading blogs. I enjoy the blogosphere tremendously. It is also a wonderful place for folks of diversity in opinion, faith and upbringing to share in what is very important to them.