Monday, April 20, 2009

modern culturally acceptable idolatry

Flipping through my comics reader this morning, I was averaging one comic out of every four mentioning earth week.  Did you know it was earth week?  Apparently we're all supposed to help out by turning off the TV to save electricity and using recyclable lunch boxes instead of disposable lunch sacks.  (I find this ironic on a morning that we had to make sure to NOT use our daughter's lunch box because her class is going on a field trip and they all have to bring a completely consumable/disposable lunch.)  Deny yourselves.  Save the earth.  Reduce, reuse, recycle.  Spend your time, attention and money . . . does this sound like worship to you?

Now, I'm all for stewardship.  The first job God gave people was to tend the Garden, and that never changed.  But when our focus is on the gift instead of the giver, the created rather than the Creator . . . isn't that nearly the definition of idolatry?  Can going green be syncretistic?  Alan Jacobs certainly suggests it in his excellent review of the Green Bible in the latest First Things.  

Because what are we on about with "saving the earth" anyway?  You know and I know (and you know that I know) that whether or not I send my kids to school with their lunches in a lunch box or a paper sack doesn't really make any difference.  Or does it?  If it makes a difference in the bent of my heart, if it makes a difference in my attitude, is that a net gain--even if no actual conservation is accomplished?  We are being called to lay our offerings at Gaia's altar.  

And it can be a tricky thing.  Many of the actions that the modern druids call us to, are, in fact, appropriate offerings for a Christian seeking to be a faithful steward and caretaker of all the gifts which our Creator has given to us.  But it's a question of orientation.  Do I take the actions I do for the glory of Christ's name and the furtherance of his kingdom?  Or is the highest good I can imagine merely earthly?

1 comment:

TL. said...

AH I so agree!!!