Monday, November 2, 2009

1st What You See Is What You Will Get

Dear Friends,

After much reflection about it, I've decided to continue posting my blog, at least for a while. A knowledgeable friend advises me to make them shorter and in a more regular sequence. I'll try to do that, in part by writing briefer installments of my reflections on a theme. Here's my first effort.

Praise be to you, gracious God, for this day, this earth, this life,
for the weave of miracles blessing us and for your quiet power sustaining us.

We praise you for times of laughter and tears. risk and reconciliation,
reflection and healing, and for the stubborn presence of your spirit
making it all sacred.

Praise be to you, awesome God, for the holy mysteries
of our struggling and wondering ... and all that moves us to awe.
to love, to pray, so serve, since it is your Spirit that moves us so
and is creating us still .... Amen.

Adapted from My Heart in My Mouth: Prayers for Our Lives.

In a recent column in The New York Times a British author, A.N. Wilson wrote about the startling invitation of Pope Benedict XVI to welcome disgruntled Anglicans laity and priests (even married ones) into the Roman Catholic Church.

Wilson gladly concluded that this move would make it impossible for the Church of England to survive and end the idea of there being an Established Church of England. Wilson concludes,
The paradox is that a move by a conservative pope to ease the tender consciences of conservative-minded Anglicans will actually be a move toward the complete secularization of Britain, and the acceptance of its new mulitcultural identity.
Far more critical than Wilson's circuitous thought process or the motives and complexities of the organized churches, is the question Wilson unintentionally raises about how to see the world, see the earth itself. Are we to see the earth in secular terms as primarily an economic resource to be used a our discretion?; or are we to see it in at least somewhat religious terms as essentially sacred gift to be respected as an inviolable trust?

Variations of this question run through most of the pressing issues facing us -- economic development, poverty, energy policy, living standards, taxation, consumer driven markets, international competition, weapons development and use, even armed conflicts.

And most critically, how we see the world, the earth is THE question regarding global warming or, if you prefer the less graphic term, climate change. The answer to the question has enormous consequences which might be summed up by a slightly different wording of the familiar phrase, "What you see is what you get", namely "What we see is what we WILL get."

For instance, concern for the economic impact of efforts to reduce carbon emissions, a major factor in global warming, generates great resistance to taking any serious action on the issue. If that's how we continue to see the world, what we'll get is a world become a cinder. And by "we" it may not be us of this generation, or just the poor, or the under-developed countries, or China and India, but the United States, our kids and grandkids. future generations, everyone from whom we will have stolen the gift of the earth.

So rather than putting protecting our economy the first priority shouldn't we put protecting our planet first, and begin changing our economic interests and practices accordingly, perhaps even altering our standard of living somewhat?

And that confronts us with what we see as the meaning of life, what its core value is, what its essential purpose is, and to whom we owe what and why. Those are basic human questions and, I think, religious questions -- not so much for religious institutions who seem to lose their fundamental purpose in pursuit of their own economic ends, but for the religious spirit, that is, the spiritual longing that keeps interrupting and summoning us in sneaky ways and curious times and reminding us. What you see, and how, will be what you get.

More later. For now, think about it.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you decided to continue your blog...I will now have a blog to continue following! As for this particular blog entry, I am, for now, thinking about "it"...and have been on some level for quite some time. Thank you for putting "it" right back in front of me, and for doing it so succintly...Debra