Year 4, Month 1, Day 10: The Moans Of The Damned

The Whittier Daily News (CA) speaks about the question of faith and the environment:

Throughout all of California and the rest of the country, the faith community has been working for many years to preach the gospel of good stewardship of our shared environment.

Amid theological differences, we have fostered a shared sense of purpose and urgency that unites us in solidarity with our local and global communities, especially those most vulnerable to climate change.

The action that results from this shared sense of purpose goes far beyond a congregation’s four walls. People of faith bring shared principles – such as working for the common good, caring for our neighbors, and working for economic justice – into the public policy arena.

For example, the California faith community strongly supported the passage and implementation of Assembly Bill 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. This bill, which was fully implemented on Jan. 1, 2013, aims to cut carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, addressing both global -climate change as well as regional air pollution.

But even policy change in itself is not enough to address the crisis we are currently facing as people of faith struggle with the power to indelibly alter God’s Creation and affect the lives of many generations that come after us.

The environmental crisis is at root a spiritual crisis. To remedy this we must begin to build a new relationship with the earth. That means answering the call to be good stewards of Creation and understanding that the “environment” is not a nebulous “out-there” reality; rather it is intimately connected with our lives and our spiritual development.

This value system is not incompatible with economic growth. On the contrary, the clean technology sector is a major factor in building California’s economy. According to a recent Next 10 report, the clean tech sector grew by 53 percent from 1995-2010, while jobs in the wider economy grew by 12 percent. When we care for the environment, we are caring for the health, livelihood and economic situation of our neighbors and ourselves.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Take two aspirin and call me in the morning. Sent January 5:

Attempts to reconcile the demands of long-term sustainability with Christian theology are more complex and problematic than they seem at first blush. While many modern Christians have rejected the notion of Armageddon, a substantial number still advocate for a final apocalypse; a concluding spasm of terrifying violence yielding to a paradisical afterlife for true believers.

The sustainability so desired by environmentalists is predicated on the notion that humanity’s future is open-ended, that our species has a place in the web of Earthly life and a part to play in the long-term history of our universe. These wholly laudable concepts are on a collision course with the notion that the world is destined to end conclusively and explosively, providing an eventual reward for the faithful. For the “faith community” to credibly preach environmental stewardship, it must direct its attention to the many self-described Christians who still hew to End Times theology.

Warren Senders

Smoking Ganesh Bidis Isn’t Blasphemous, Is It?

This news item is fascinating.

The government in the Indian state of Meghalaya has confiscated textbooks showing pictures of Jesus Christ holding a cigarette and a can of beer.

Presumably someone just grabbed a Jesus picture off the web and stuck it in the textbook without noticing that He was holding a cigarette and a can of beer.

This is excellent news, because it provides me with an opportunity to tell my Smoking Jesus joke, which I learned from Dee Wood about twenty-nine years ago.

Jesus is walking down the road, carrying his cross. It’s a hot day and he’s thirsty.

He walks by a Hovel.

Guy standing in front of the Hovel: “Hey, man, ain’t you Jesus Christ?”

Jesus: “Yeah, that’s me, man.”

Guy: “Hey, that cross looks real heavy.”

Jesus: “Yeah, man, it’s a real pain in the ass. Hey, you got some water?”

Guy: “Sure,” (gets a dipperful of water and hands it to Jesus)

Jesus: (leans his cross against the wall of the hovel, drinks the water) “Thanks, man.”

Guy: “No problem, Jesus. Hey, you want a cigarette?”

Jesus: “Sure, man, a cigarette would hit the spot right about now.”

Guy: (pulls out a packet of Raleighs, takes two out, hands one to Jesus, puts the other in his mouth. Strikes a match, lights Jesus up, then himself. They smoke for a minute.)

Jesus: “Yeaaaaah, man. That’s a good smoke. Love that wonderful Raleigh taste. Say, man, do you save the coupons?”

Guy: “You want the coupon? Sure, Jesus, that’s cool.” (Takes the coupon out of the pack, hands it to Jesus, who puts it in his pocket)

Guy: “Say, Jesus, I didn’t know you saved Raleigh coupons.”

Jesus: “Of course I save the coupons! How the hell do you think I got the cross?

This joke only makes sense if you remember this: