I have to admit I’m quite concerned. As someone who strongly believes that faith in God mandates the preservation and care of the earth, I am fearful where our country seems to be heading. The next president’s choices for people to lead influential positions like the Environmental Protection Agency, the Energy Department, and the Interior Department does not bode well for the care of the earth. I am trying hard not to be despondent about this but at the same time I am finding very little cause for optimism. My primary hope is that people like you will care enough to fight those changes that will prove detrimental to God’s Creation. Many see this as an economic battle, and it certainly is in part, but I believe it is also a spiritual battle. We cannot claim to love God and at the same time not care what happens to that which God has created. Nor can we afford to forget how closely God is tied to Creation.
In her book, Grounded, Diana Butler Bass says “God is the ground, the grounding, that which grounds us. We experience this when we understand that soil is holy, water gives life, the sky opens the imagination, our roots matter, home is a divine place, and our lives are linked with our neighbors’ and with those around the globe. This world, not heaven, is the sacred stage of our times.” Bass goes on to say, “We are powerfully connected to the ground, and the soil is intimately related to how we understand and celebrate God. The late Irish Catholic priest and philosopher John O’Donohue called the land ‘the firstborn of creation’ and the ‘condition of the possibility of everything.’ The earth itself, he insisted, holds the memory of the beginning of all things, the memory of God. When Sallie McFague offers the metaphor of ‘body’ to describe the relationship between the God and the world, she is reminding us of both scientific truth and a sacred mystery. ‘What if,’ she asks, ‘we saw the earth as part of the body of God, not as separate from God (who dwells elsewhere), but as the visible reality of the invisible God?'”
If the earth is to be preserved, and our health with it, then there must be a transformation in our understanding of the earth. The planet cannot be viewed primarily as a resource for private and corporate development. Its sacredness must be maintained and our role as stewards of it preserved.
I fear that most Americans do not have a theological understanding of the earth or fully understand how Creation interacts with and points to the Creator. It will be imperative in the next few years that people of faith who do understand the connection between God and Creation share that understanding with others. The connection between God and Creation is clear in the Scriptures. Now it must become clear among the populace. Will that be enough to make a difference? One can only hope and pray it will.
(I took the pictures shown above in Kentucky, Indiana, and California.)