Faith community’s stewardship is inspiring

A couple of years ago a question posed by the Christian community was, “What would Jesus drive?” Well, if he were making that decision in our 2008 world, there’s a good chance he’d drive a Toyota Prius or another variety of hybrid.
At least that’s what I deduced at the recent Conference on Faith, Spirituality, and Environmental Stewardship held at Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina. There were a total of 13 hybrids to be seen out of perhaps 80 cars, 11 Prii and two Honda Insights.
And who would Jesus’ favorite sports figure be? Clearly Yoggi Berra. To provide just a few quotes heard at the conference, “The future isn’t what it used to be,” or, “Feels like dejavu all over again.” And there’s always, “When you reach a fork in the road, take it.” Philosophical, and to the point.
When Catawba College Environmental Studies professor John Wear first conceived of the conference, he had no idea it would attract over 200 participants, let alone a baker’s dozen hybrids. As an environmentalist who showed up to see how my environmental organization of identification, Appalachian Voices, could cooperate with people who go to church every Sunday or the synagogue every Saturday, I was overwhelmed. These folks are serious about protecting creation. From global warming. From coal-fired power plants. From toxic soil washed into the lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans.
Are they really “tree huggers?” Like one religious leader said when asked in less than a complementary way, “Well yea, what are you, a ‘puppy kicker’?”
And the widespread and comprehensive knowledge of the technical details of complex environmental issues is clearly evident in the faith community, in no way different from the more secular leadership of Appalachian Voices, the Sierra Club, and other organizations.
Politically, I am convinced that the creation care community has a built in advantage over other environmental types. They span the spectrum politically, whereas most of my colleagues are Democrats.
This may seem trivial, but it has proven otherwise. The Interfaith Power and Light organization (no it’s not a utility) is a major force in energy conservation and in their opposition to coal-fired power plants. These are the major battles for IPL as their overarching issue is Climate Change. They have played a major role in pushing for the current global warming legislation in the US Senate.
Appalachian Voices has recently added two leaders of the creation care community to its board. I met an African gentleman at the conference who I am planning to take on a tour, along with his seminary students, of the West Virginia coalfields to see the ravages of mountaintop removal. Will Samuel be the next member of the faith community to join the AppVoices board? Stay tuned…
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