Entries in Environmental Theology (14)
That phrase, “tender mercies”, came to mind a couple of months ago, as I was looking at a blog entry written by a couple of Friends in Michigan.
…It came to my mind a second time a week or so later, when one Friend raised the issue of nuclear power right here on this site, and another Friend responded by defending nuclear as an answer to global warming.
The phrase was one of John Woolman’s favorites….
Yesterday, Friend Angela Manno of New York Yearly Meeting (FGC / FUM), contributed a posting to the “earthwitness matters” discussion page here on this site, condemning nuclear energy as an “abomination” and citing her reasons for doing so.
This was an important posting, I believe — particularly because it comes at a time when the winds in Quaker circles seem to be blowing in an opposite direction.
We all know that feeling of helplessness, that the things we’re doing as individuals, good though they are, are not turning the tide. Not all the newspapers we recycle, combined, can halt the clearcutting of old-growth forests. Not all the Toyota Priuses we buy as individuals can halt the build-up of greenhouse gases.
There are three levels at which I believe corporate practice is needed here.
How do we discover what standards God wants us to live up to?
How do we learn to distinguish between the things that people are saying about the environment that are true, and the things that people are saying that are deceitful or manipulative or intended to stampede us in a bad direction?
And how do we find the strength and the personal skills we need to do what’s needed?
Why not let’s dream big dreams, and go for them?
The standard liberal Quaker testimonies did not emerge as answers to environmental challenges. They were answers to quite different challenges — for example, the simplicity testimony was an answer to human vainglory. And since they were aimed at different targets, we cannot count on them to hit the environmental targets we need them to hit.
The life-support functions of Spaceship Earth have never been a reason for concern before. This is new territory for our species. These are challenges we do not yet know our ability to deal with.
In this context, then, what should we mean by “harmony with all God’s Creation?”
…As the seventh and final trumpet is sounded, the twenty-four elders who sit on thrones before God pray to Him and give thanks that the time has come —
…The time of the dead, for them to be judged,
and of Your servants, the prophets and saints, for You to reward them,
and all who fear Your name, both small and great,
and for You to destroy those who destroy the earth.