Sunday, February 01, 2009

Ocean front property in Arizona

Conservative Christians have been arguing that there's no such thing as global warning. I'll admit that it's been a hard winter which certainly makes it easy to doubt the veracity of claims from scientists, politicians and activists who warn us that we're damaging the environment. Be that as it may, Christians should be careful not to close their ears to the pleas of Al Gore too quickly.

The position of many is that humans must be amazingly arrogant to think that we could somehow ruin or damage something which only God Himself has created. Hey, I'm no deist, I'm totally with you that God is God and I am not and that He alone retains ultimate sovereignty over His Earth.

But please hear me out. My wife and I are home owners. The deed is in our name, we pay the mortgage and the property taxes and the utility bills. But guess what- we still have to nag our kids to clean their rooms and pick up their dirty clothes off the floor and hang their towels in the bathroom and their coats on their hooks. Believe me, as much as I love my children, given complete run of the house, they would wreck it in short order.

When we were renters we were blessed with a great landlord. He was a good friend and a master electrician. He took care of the furnace and the air conditioner and the security alarm. Once he even fixed the garbage disposal. But guess what- I still had to take out the trash and sweep the floors and scrub the bathrooms and wash the windows, and change the air filter not to mention flush the toilets and dust the furniture.

Sure, it may seem arrogant to think that humans are capable of destroying what God has made, but I'm afraid that it's also terribly irresponsible and perhaps even just as arrogant to assume that we aren't damaging the planet, even to the point of altering the climate. Just as children naively and perhaps selfishly assume that their parents are going to take care of everything- (especially if they're spoiled and never taught to make their own beds or wash and fold their own clothes) we would be fools to imagine that 7 billion people, ravenously consuming limited resources, especially with fossil fuels are not or could not demean and even destroy God's creation.

Maybe they did a disservice to mislabel climate change as "global warming" so that when Iowa has the 6th coldest winter in recoded history, the conservatives are so quick to declare that it's all some big lie that we should ignore. The weather has more extremes and the oceans are rising, there may not be any more or any fewer volcanoes, earthquakes or wars, but there are more tsunamis and hurricanes and those hurricanes are more powerful that they used to be. The winter may be colder in Iowa, but the summer is also hotter. And smog , contaminated water, and endangered species are not things to shrug off and disappearing polar bears is not something to just joke about.

Please consider something. Conservatives may not have much patience for environmentalists and they're justified be concerned that jobs shouldn't be sacrificed for trivial and emotional campaigns to save obscure animals. However, why would environmental activists, scientists, and all those terrible "Liberals" make up false claims about the environmental crisis? Just to make themselves feel important? To undermine and destroy all our precious freedoms and American way of life? Do they really want to just ruin all the fun?

Please. These are serious people and as "bleeding hearts," they are by definition, caring and concerned people who want to help make things better. Even if you think that they are sometimes overzealous or misguided, you cannot argue that they are uninformed or negligent. They are thoughtful and intelligent and their concern is for all our best interest. So please, don't write them off as morally inferior or irrelevant and ignore them.

Indeed, we all- especially Christians, need to search ourselves and reflect on our behaviors and attitudes toward the environment. I know that I for one am guilty of crass consumerism and laziness when it comes to "leaving more behind than I came in with," which was the opposite of how they taught us to treat out campsites in Boy Scouts.

God calls us to be stewards of HIS Earth. It was the first responsibility He gave to Adam and Eve and a serious responsibility bestowed on Noah. Humans may be the only creatures made in His own image and the apple of His eye, the only ones He sent His Son to die and rise again for, but it is still arrogant, selfish, and short-sighted for us to think that we are the only creatures that He cares about or that all of creation is meant merely for us to use up and cast off any way we please or that He won't hold us accountable for our poor stewardship- including letting us wallow in the squalor we find ourselves in.

I like to tease atheists by letting them know that just because they don't believe in God, He still believes in them. Well you know something- just because conservatives deny that there's such a thing as global warming, doesn't mean that we shouldn't all start buying that ocean front property in Arizona!

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