As my children become grown, they deal more readily with my snarky sense of humor. I have recently taken a new approach to reminding them of their responsibilities for caring for God’s good creation. When I catch the hot water running too long, or the door left open or the lights left on, I often say, “So, I see you hate God!”
No, it still isn’t taken well. But the point gets made.
When we fail to realize or recognize our complicities in the destruction of the planet — in ways both great and small — we fail to honor the creating God we worship.
I still marvel at folks who, with no reason that they can articulate and none I might discern, make what I now consider to be unholy choices in their lives. Whether it be buying that oversized vehicle or running the air conditioner at full tilt in the height of summer or flying when a more efficient mode of transportation would serve, folks still don’t seem to get it.
The planet — this astonishing gift of God’s divine creativity — is in need of our tender care, our undivided attention and our constant awareness of the impacts of what many take as uncomplicated choices that carry no consequence beyond themselves.
This, dear fellow creatures and communal compatriots, has got to stop.
The national founder of Interfaith Power & Light, The Reverend Sally Bingham, summarizes the central message of a collection of essays on churches and climate change (Sacred Acts: How Churches Are Working to Protect Earth’s Climate) in this way: “To show our love for God, we don’t destroy what God loves. To obey the commandment to love our neighbor, we don’t destroy our neighbor’s air, land, or water.”
A basic premise of my faith is summarized in what we label “stewardship.” It recognizes that the natural world is a creation of God, belongs to God and is in our hands to protect and preserve for current and future generations.
That is the message we must convey loudly and broadly in these days.
But how? How do we foster awareness? How do we get folks — even those living in our own homes — to snap to attentiveness about habit or thoughtlessness and their impacts on the Earth and on all future generations of creatures, including us human beings?
Surely the answer isn’t to shame folks into proper behavior. The God I seek to know is a God of love, compassion, community, forgiveness and mercy — and creativity. These are the tools that we are called to place into service of the task before us — despite my tongue-in-cheek behavior with my family. We need to equip, encourage, exhort, excite, empower and embrace one another as we realize a vision of a new way of treating the manifold gifts of God in the abundant goodness of the Earth.
This is what Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light is attempting to do. Since our formation in March of 2011, we have been working hard to get people and congregations together in order to support one another towards the goal of loving the creation and the Creator well. We are organizing regional affiliates across the State of Indiana, creating communities of purpose and solidarity in this work. There are already groups in Indianapolis, Muncie, and Bloomington. Other beginnings are being made in Evansville, Lafayette, Franklin, Richmond and Terre Haute.
If you would like to assist in being part of this movement to love God more fully — in our thoughtful and restorative efforts to care effectively for creation — send us a note. Our website will help. Our email is email@example.com. We would love to hear from you and we believe that God will feel and appreciate the love.