For it is by Hybrid You Have Been Saved…

June 20, 2007 at 7:29 am Leave a comment

Global warming is a serious problem. The World Health Organization reports the global average surface temperature has increased by 0.6° + 0.2° C over the last century. Globally, 1998 was the warmest year and the 1990s was the warmest decade on record. Further, abnormally high temperatures in Europe in the summer of 2003 were associated with at least 27,000 more deaths than the equivalent period in previous years. Nature reports the number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled in the last 30 years. I think we would be hard pressed to deny the evidence that our world is experiencing a serious ecological crisis. Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, brought the data and statistics into the public eye like never before, and it is causing quite a response. In fact, several people I know have responded by purchasing hybrids not long after watching this movie.

That brings me to my question. It is one posed by the Psalmist in Psalm 121:1, “I lift up my eyes to the hills — from where will my help come?” As we face crises in our lives, we run to and fro searching for a way out – salvation. After 9/11, one of President Bush’s responses was to encourage us to keep purchasing. His exact words: “I ask your continued participation and confidence in the American economy.” Several scholars and theologians pointed out that this response seemed to be offering consumerism as the answer to terrorism. However, many of the same people who saw this response as ridiculous are the first to offer a consumerist way out of our global ecological crisis. When our nation was scared after 9/11, the answer was “keep shopping,” and now when our people are scared about global warming the answer is, “buy a hybrid.”

Let me be clear here. I realize and agree that we have several serious challenges to face. I believe global warming is a real and potentially devastating phenomenon. Heck, I’m even prepared to make changes in to help reverse global warming, because I believe we’re called to be good stewards of creation. I just think we have a tendency to blindly believe that we can save the world through our purchasing power. Consumerism is the answer. Want to change the world, buy new light bulbs and a hybrid.

As Christians, we will eventually the conversation have to move to difficult questions about a faithful response. How can we advocate participating in the salvation of creation while still maintaining that Jesus is the Savior? How do we long for a new heaven and new earth while working to care for the old earth we have? Is our eschatological future a long series of events leading to salvation (as a friend of mine believes), or is there radical discontinuity between this world and the world to come? How does this all relate to our mission as God’s people?

In the end, go ahead and buy that hybrid. Just remember Jesus is Lord and the power of the consumer is not.

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Entry filed under: Practical Theology, Science and Theology, Theology.

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