Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Christian environmental trump cards

In the past couple of months, I've started to get the idea that I sent A Very Convenient Truth to press too soon. The book came back from First Choice Books in January, and since then, two major issues came out that are only touched on in the book; the latest revelation from the Lord makes three.

The two major issues -- on which I've since blogged in this space -- are biofuel and the BC government's carbon tax.

When I wrote the book, the debate over biofuel and whether grain crops should be diverted from food uses to fuel production was just starting and governments -- like BC's -- hadn't begun mandating a biofuel component. Frankly, I can't think of any issue that has turned on its head so swiftly as this one: biofuel went from being the panacea into a leading cause of a worldwide food shortage.

The carbon tax hadn't even been thought of at that time. One could argue that, in writing about a current issue, if one waited until all the facts were in and all the stories told, nothing would get published. On the other hand, AVCT does discuss the "witchcraft" present in the environmental movement: the effort to modify people's behaviour and manipulate their minds. The carbon tax, being pitched to the people and embraced by the movement as a way to "force people to change their driving habits", falls into that category.

And this leads to this latest revelation from God: another trump card that Christians have for dealing with the environment. The first is repentance for having failed at The First Great Assignment -- have dominion over the earth ... be fruitful, multiply, replenish the earth and subdue it (Gen. 1:26, 28) -- as a way of re-committing to that assignment and getting back on track with God's program. This second one is found (hallelujah!) in Romans 12:2 ...

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.
Renewing one's mind happens with redemption and the receiving of the Holy Spirit. It's the Holy Spirit that changes us from the inside out. Real change cannot be imposed from the outside in -- just as people who are forced to go into treatment programs or whose rehab programs don't involve Christ often fall back once they've finished -- but has to come from within. With the Holy Spirit at work in one's life, one's entire DNA changes. The sinful behaviour of our previous life is scraped out and replaced with proper behaviour. It's a principle of recovering from sin in any other aspect of life -- sex, drugs, swearing, e.g. -- and that principle should apply to the "sin" of our having failed at the First Great Assignment.
(Sin is not just a matter of violating God's laws: sin is disobedience, and the premise of AVCT is that we've been disobeying God for the past few millennia by not managing His Creation the way He instructed us to.)
See, our mind-set does need to be changed. That mind-set is primarily self-centered and leads us to do things that are environmentally destructive. Maybe we're just too lazy to wash out tins and put them in the recycling, or separate out recyclable paper and compostables from regular garbage. Maybe we believe it's up to the government to provide the wherewithal to do it (the Town of Oak Bay, BC, for example, provides compost buckets that are then picked up with the rest of the trash*), and if the government won't, then there probably isn't a problem.
A couple of recent letters to the editor in some Metro Vancouver newspapers expose another area where our minds can stand to be renewed. They complain that public transportation "doesn't work for them" because it denies them their own "space" on the commute: no cupholders, no smoking allowed and you can't crank the stereo. Selfish, certainly not God-focused, and out of a mentality that refuses to accept responsibility. Unless the government does something -- and somebody else pays for it because I don't want my taxes to go up or fares to increase -- then I'm not going to be part of the solution (pout-pout).
(I could bore for Canada on how, when my family first moved to West Vancouver in 1962, there was no bus service. Eventually, we got a bus that went by every hour. Guess what we did? We made sure we were at the bus stop, waiting for the bus, by 12 minutes after the hour, or else we were hooped. And I remember dad and me having to cut out of more than a couple of ballgames at Nat Bailey (then Capilano) Stadium because we had to make the last bus. We didn't complain about inadequate bus service: we planned according to what was available.)
Attitudes like that have become ingrained in us as a species over centuries. It requires a Holy Ghost mind renewal to change it.
The other mind-set that needs renewing is to deny there's a problem. In part, that's a symptom of the presence of sin. But also, when we hear the shrill rhetoric and fear-mongering from environmentalists -- the Chicken-Little-on-steroids stuff -- we automatically switch off our brains. "Sod the price of gas," we say: "I'm going to use my vehicle anyway, and the Lord will provide, because I 'need' it." If you find yourself suddenly out of money because you're using so much gas, maybe the Lord doesn't agree that you "need" your vehicle as much as you think you do. Don't blame God for that: remember Psalm 127: Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.
That's why it's so vitally important to expand your personal relationship with God to include environmental matters and to repent for your previous actions that failed to manage His creation properly. Walk in His ways, so He will take care of you and supply your needs according to His riches in glory (including the carbon tax and any other high prices). You'll find it much less confusing: rather than listen to your own conscience -- which can be seared and change to suit your ability to "handle" it -- or the pronouncements of some self-styled expert, you're taking your instructions from the Big Sir, Himself.
And praise God that the Holy Spirit is there to renew our minds when we ask Him to, so that we emerge from the mind-set that has led us to do things that damage creation. We've been laboring under this "me first" mind-set, while God calls on us to turn that into a "Him-first" mind-set.
Not "earth first".
Not "Mother Nature first".
Not "environment first".
Him first.
*'sfunny: I was just reminded of how government attitudes have changed: back in 1989, I contacted the City of Victoria to ask about getting a "blue box" for their new recycling program. I was put through to an answering machine. I'm still waiting for the call-back.

No comments:

Post a Comment