I think I now understand yet another reason why Christ taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come on Earth as in Heaven” — we need the same undividedness and undevelopedness in both places!
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?
Two liberal unprogrammed Friends monthly meetings are considering the idea of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions 10% in the coming year. “What will it take?” Karen asked.
…It’s worth your time to read what Karen’s respondents are saying.
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?”
If Nathan hadn’t held the reins of the interchange so firmly, David would have found a way to derail the interchange, out of an intuitive fear of what was coming. And then Nathan’s visit would have accomplished no good at all.
But equally, if Nathan hadn’t permitted David those two choices, David would not have had to accept the judgment as his own, and himself as being condemned by his own knowledge of what God reveals to be right and wrong. David would just have rejected the judgment as Nathan’s opinion.
This art of choreographing the interaction, controlling it just enough, and giving the person being confronted just the right decision points, is what makes for successful witness. I won’t claim that great witnesses sit down and diagram out what they’re going to do…. But they can feel their way to their goal because they know in their gut what works.