In today's OpenLine comments, Louis Lagger responds to Ken Wilson's Guest View, which deals with, among other things, religion and environmentalism.
"Both groups have different word views," Lagger says. "Environmentalists embrace science and reason. Evangelicals look to the Bible ..." Lagger specifically addresses birth control, but it's interesting as a general argument.
People tend to assume religious people are conservative Republicans, and that Republicans hate the environment and would sell polar bears and the ice caps in a heartbeat. Therefore, they argue, devout Christians hate the environment. Those things are occasionally true, but they're stereotypes, not facts.
There's nothing in religious dogma that I'm aware of to suggest we should be polluting or using up the planet's resources as fast as we can.
Actually, there's some stuff that suggests God's probably a pretty Earth-friendly guy.
There's this pastor, Rob Bell, who
preaches teaches at Mars Hill Bible Chapel in Grandville, Mich. (He's a Wheaton College grad if you're looking for a local tie.
In his second book, "Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections between Sexuality and Spirituality," he tells a story about a gift he made his dad as a child.
It was the typical kid-made gift: lousy by good production standards. As an adult, Bell saw the gift, still out on display. And he knew his dad treated it well because how you treat the gift shows how you feel about the person.
Similarly, if you are a religious person who believes God created the earth, you need to treat the planet with respect because your care reflects what you think about the earth's creator.
If Rob Bell's dad had looked at his childish gift and said, "This is lousy," chucking the item, we'd suspect he was a bad dad. Instead, he treated it, the sign of his son's love, with honor.
If God gives you the gift of the planet he created, and you throw trash on it, use the resources as fast as you can, pollute the waters and destroy the animals, how much respect are you showing it's creator? None.
"And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good."
While many people agree that celebration-style worship is best done in groups, Mars Hill offers a greener option than hopping in the car and driving to Michigan ... or your local megachurch. On Mars Hill's Web site, you can download audio of their services. You can even subscribe on iTunes. I can just imagine some teen telling his mom, "Can't go to church. I haven't downloaded last week's to my iPod yet."
It might not be the best way to experience God, but who's to say that anything that gets you in touch with yourself and the world is a bad thing? I don't remember an 11th commandment saying, "Thought shalt burn a tank of gas to get to Sunday services even if gas is over $4 a gallon."