Beating God to the End of Times
I've changed my mind on the end times. God is not going to have to wipe us out. We are going to beat Him to it.
Is destroying our environment a Christian idea? We're doing it of our own free will.
Is it all part of that "dominion over nature" idea in Genesis? We are killing ourselves by our own choices.
This is God's joke on us. People are gazing into scripture trying to find the secret of when the end will come, and if they would just look up through the Chinese smog, they would see it is well underway.
No one knows when the Biblical end times are coming. Many enjoy looking for signs and some are even trying to manufacture them. There's a rancher in Nebraska systematically breeding redder and redder cows and sending them to Israel in hopes that a red cow born in Israel will signal the Jews that it is time build the Third Temple and start the ball rolling. It's good to have hobbies, but while he's doing this, we are destroying ourselves. And we're doing it for the least Christian of values - money.
Rivers are polluted in West Virginia and North Carolina in coal industry disasters, killing wildlife and potentially poisoning people. Sixty-two miles of the Mississippi River is closed due to oil spills. The companies that perpetrated these offenses are leaving the taxpayer to fund the cleanup.
Oligarchs are keeping up the pressure to build a pipeline through the US to take Canadian tar sands to China. We get the spillage, the ruined water tables and again, the bill.
The EPA just approved the continued use of more chemicals deadly to bees. Bees are essential to the production of food. Isn't this just a little insane?
Drought in California threatens areas that provide over 90% of our broccoli, tomatoes, grapes almonds, and walnuts. The dairies of California are in dire straits. Milk and cheese prices are going to get worse. The wine industry is threatened and craft beer makers along the Russian River are running out of water. Now we're talking tragedy.
Closer to home, in Texas and Oklahoma, drought stricken areas are giving up water to oil and gas fracking, removing millions of gallons of water from use forever. Get that? Forever. As the drought becomes worse in Texas, you can forget beef. The 99¢ menu will feature an onion sandwich and Bob's Steak and Chop House will have to become a chicken joint.
Water around Fukusima, Japan, is far more radioactive than once thought. Currents are bringing radioactive trash to the Pacific Northwest shores of the United States and making fish even more dangerous to eat. Aquatic life mutation is still being discovered in the Gulf of Mexico.
Climate change is real. You can have your opinion about it being human-assisted or not, but it is real. Even Exxon, that for years funded deniers, now admits on its webpage that the climate is changing.
There are already too many millions in the world starving. Not hungry, starving. NorthPark makes an effort as a congregation to help the hungry, but I don't know what we can do to save the starving. And as the climate changes, there will be millions of climate refugees teeming to places that have food.
It will be of our own creation, a result of our free will. We don't need Seven Seals and giant winged lizards, trumpet blasts and Armageddon to announce the end. Flaming tap water and the dead bee on your patio are the harbingers.
What do we do? What is the Christian response? How do we switch from dominion over creation to stewardship of what we have been gifted?
These aren't rhetorical questions, I really want to know.
PCUSA started an Environmental Ministries Program in 1990 in hopes that the 90's would be the "turnaround" decade. We missed that deadline.
As usual, the impact of environmental degradation weighs most heavily on the poor. Being responsible stewards is part of doing justice.
I urge you to take a look at the PC USA website and see what our church has to say.
In the meantime, plant some bee-friendly flowers for the summer. Lot's of people are depending on you.