I finally got around to watching An Inconvenient Truth the other night. Stunning stuff. If you haven't seen it, do. It's worth your time, regardless of your opinions on the subject.
Afterward, I went to the "measure your carbon footprint" site and rated myself. Turns out I churn out over 12 tons of carbon pollutants each year, well above the amount for the typical American. Frankly, I'm not sure how that's possible. I work at home (thus, no commute), my utility bills are below average, and a portion of that is wind-powered, I use those low-energy-suck florescent light bulbs, I recycle everything that can be recycled, and I typically eat less than a man half my size. I mean, where exactly am I leaking out all this prodigous tonnage of carbon?
My buddy Cody says the whole global warming issue has taken on too much of a "religious zealot" tone for him to really trust it. Open, factual debate on the issues, he says, is not really permitted; either you believe as the global warmists do, or else you are anti-earth and worthy of mockery and perhaps even death (for the sake of the planet). And, adds Cody, some of the factoids presented in the movie are pure hyperbole. That's a troubling sign.
Still, just because global warming has become a "religous" issue doesn't mean it isn't true. Frankly, I don't know what to think yet. But here's what I do know:
- We (Americans in particular) use and waste way too much of our planet's resources.
- The western, urban way of life is not sustainable over the long haul for our planet.
- The oil won't last; change is inevitable.
- I am responsible before God for my impact on the world--and that includes the environment.
- Whatever the cause, the earth is getting warmer. Sooner or later, we each have to decide how we are personally going to deal with that reality.
I am surprised (okay, not surprised...saddened) that we don't hear more conversation about the debate over global warming in the church. Just like we don't hear much about our culture's flagrant ethno-centrism, our tendency to see wealth primarily as a means to personal comfort and pleasure (rather than primarily as a tool for extending love in practical ways to the billions of souls in our world who will go to sleep tonight without food, adequate shelter, or safe drinking water), or our willingness to allow quiet racism and ethnic division to continue to mark the church in America.
I'm not saying the church should go "political." I don't actually think that accomplishes much in Kingdom terms. I'm saying we shouldn't be letting the fact that these issues have been politicized stop us from following Christ right into the middle of them, and bringing his love to bear in ways that make a tangible difference on the ground level, where people live.
And that, my friends, was me on a soapbox.