Thursday, April 21, 2011

Forcing People to Choose Between Trees and the Man Who Died Upon a Tree

Today I was reminded of a major reason why I felt as if I could not be a part of American Evangelical Culture and still seek to follow Jesus: culture wars. Oh how I hate culture wars! Why do we spend so much time obsessing over things that are barely (or not at all) mentioned in the Bible or in Christ's ministry? Why? It makes me completely understand why people don't like Christians.  American Evangelical Culture takes these completely minor issues and declare them at odds with a life of faith.

I was reminded of this today after seeing a number of Facebook posts declaring that tomorrow that person will spend "Earth Day" (quotations theirs) celebrating what Jesus did for us because "without Easter this EARTH has no hope." (emphasis theirs) I sadly predicted would happen earlier this week after noticing that the holidays fall on the same date this year. Really?!?? Really!?? We have to choose? Either you celebrate the sacrificial redemptive work of Jesus on the cross or you care about caring for our planet? You really want to declare that an either/or situation??? You really want to leave people with the impression that one comes at the expense of the other? Does that give us license to just trash this planet because all that matters is that we're going to Heaven? Where does this idea of stewardship and personal responsibility come in? What about the countless studies that show how pollutants and toxins we've put into our environment can negatively health, especially pregnant women and children? Does God not care about any of that? Is that excluded from the list of things we'll be held accountable for? More importantly, do you really want someone to feel unwelcome in your church over this??

For the record, I think it's a terrible reason to exclude people from your congregations or to question their faith. I think caring for the Earth is a completely Biblical concept and one that should be even more important to us as Christians. I have great respect for the Christian organizations that have taken up the mantle of encouraging people to actively engage in that work. Just because God created a world that would provide for life doesn't mean that he'll save us from the consequences of taking it for granted and indulging overconsumption with no regard to the consequences. And I seriously doubt he is asking us to choose between the two observances.

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