Friday, December 14, 2007

Jesus and climate change V

Seeing "creation"
To speak of "creation" rather than "nature" or "the environment" is an exercise in creative fidelity of vision. It is a way of seeing that is similtaneously creatively different to the deadly vision of how we 'normally' look at things (a pile of resources to be exploited, an economic unit of production and consumption) and yet is also faithful to those things as they are, involving painstaking attention with self-critical awareness that results in admiration.

The opening page of the Bible says not only that ‘in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’, but also that what he made was ‘good, very good.’

Here’s a little exercise. Think of things you love: a close friend, your favourite family member, your loyal pet fish, your home and comfortable bed. And think of activities you enjoy: eating a fabulous pasta, reading an humorous poem, hitting that perfect six playing cricket, growing basil on your balcony, learning how to speak Swahili - whatever it is that floats your boat. Everyone and everything you love, everything in which you find joy, is a gift from God. Every breath, every mouthful, every morning you wake up, is God’s gift to you. To think like this doesn’t come automatically. To receive each day as a gift of God’s love takes a certain kind of creative vision. The great diversity and abundance of good gifts, or the problems we face as we try to balance them, can distract us from noticing and remembering the giver. God invites us to live lives filled with thankfulness and dependence, to stop pretending that we are self-made, self-reliant. He invites us to stop being self-obsessed.
Series: I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; IX(b); X; XI; XII; XIII; XIV; XV.


One of Freedom said...

An interesting contrast to the culture of entitlements that permeates the West. I'm not sure I get the leap from the Protestant work ethic to entitlement, but it is the reality I live and struggle with. The culture of entitlements sees life as a hassle to be endured rather than a gift to be embraced, and the good things in my life, well I deserve those anyway.

Great post Byron, I'm enjoying this series.

byron smith said...

Yes, good point about feeling entitled to things as a (disasterous) alternative to receiving them as gift. Perhaps the link to the PWE comes through the commodification of life, such that a monetary value is placed on everything. In this calculative approach, since I can quantify my earning capacity (or actual earnings), I can see precisely what goods I have earned and can pay for with my own toil. However, what I have not addressed is why we assume that I own my labour.

A third option (which I presume is not incompatible with seeing life as gift) is to see oneself as a slave, owned by another. Paul says, You are not your own, you were bought with a price. Therefore, honour God with your body. (1 Cor 6.19b-20)