February 2003 Issue #15
CHRISTIAN ENVIRONMENTALIST SHOULD BE REDUNDANT
Have you ever noticed that when the news speaks of Christians, and then environmentalists, they almost always place them on opposite ends of the political spectrum. Is that the truth? It could be in many cases, but I do not understand why. You see, in my mind, it seems logical that every Christian would automatically be an avid environmentalist. If you say you love the Creator so much that you want to accept and be a follower of His Son, why would not that same love extend to protecting all He has created.
Most people, who try to explain to me why this has not taken place, usually blame it on that "dominion" word. In Genesis 1:26 it says, "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.'" That happens to be an RSV translation, but it is pretty similar throughout the various translations. Scripture goes on to repeat this in verse 27 when God talks to man (us), and even adds "subdue" to the set of instructions. Let's look at that last one first.
In Grolier's New Webster's Dictionary it defines subdue as: to control, discipline, or bring into subjection || to make (sound, color, etc) less intense || to reduce the vivacity of (someone=s, one=s own, spirits). As severe a word as subdue is, do you notice the distinct absence of the words destroy or trash or annihilate.
How about dominion? That same dictionary defines dominion as: sovereignty, supreme authority. Well, it sounds pretty all encompassing. But the question is; supreme authority to do what? If I ask you to housesit while I am away for an extended time, I have, in essence, given you complete control over that which is mine. So, what condition do you think I expect to find it in when I return? In giving you dominion, was I really extending free license to do whatever you wished with it? Feel free to trash the place, or destroy all that I have spent my life creating?
But that is probably not the best analogy, since God has not gone anywhere and left us. Let us picture for a moment one of those vast British estates you sometimes see in the movies. The Lord of the mansion, has put you in charge (chief steward) of the whole place - grounds, animals, plants, staff, everything and everyone, except him. Now that is dominion. What do you think? Is he expecting you to chop down all the trees, kill the animals for any old reason, and basically trash the place for your slightest whim and desire? I think not. Indeed, even for a person with dominion, that could bring some pretty severe repercussions.
Some think the question "What would Jesus drive?" and other such considerations are amusing. That He has no business snooping in your garage, and needs to be relegated back to Sunday mornings at church. Is that really what you think God intended?
I understand why not all environmentalists are Christian.
But, like I said, I still do not understand why ALL Christians are not avid
WSHARING is sent periodically to members of "the poet's circle." Viewpoints expressed here are those of the poet, william, who is solely responsible for it's content. Permission is granted only for reproduction of original articles and graphics.
I am aware that is the same poem I placed into the last newsletter, but it is so perfectly related to the topic of this issue, I felt it bore repeating. (Online Note: the photo is an added bonus - it is not not in the printed version of this newsletter. Additionally, some backgrounds have been added to quotes, and the two column format, normally beginning on this page, has been eliminated for ease of reading.)
THE OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT
You may have noticed the slightly different look to this newsletter and the name change from "Sharing" to "wsharing." This is to try and be consistent with the Teaching & Sharing Center website which is now up and running. As things have worked out, I also found it necessary to connect to the Internet in order to manage the site myself. First a cute anecdote about that.
This whole process has required me to obtain a new computer (Dell), learn a new operating system (Windows XP), a new website program (FrontPage 2002), and all about being connected to and navigating the Internet.
AT&T connected me to the Internet the morning of 11/25/02 (Monday). By Tuesday night, as I was walking in the cold crisp darkness back to the garage to take the garbage out to the curb, I was clearly already plenty frustrated, for I looked up and exclaimed, "wow, this is a lot more fun than the Internet!" That is pretty bad when taking out the garbage becomes more fun than anything. Things have settled down some since then as my knowledge and skills have increased, but I am not entirely certain that my opinion has.
In spite of all that, the show is on the road. I decided my first photo sharing with the world would be two dozen roses. I am not sure I love the world as much as two dozen roses might imply, but it somehow seemed appropriate. For those of you receiving this in printed form (but who are connected to the Internet) you can go to the site at www.wsharing.com then click on any of the five primary pages. Then click on [photos] at the bottom of the page, and an index page will come up with the "roses" thumbnail to select.
Some are already being sent notification of this newsletter by E-mail. This, of course, saves postage, paper expense, and time for me and the Center. If you would be willing to go the route of being notified that a new newsletter has been added to the site, rather than me mailing you one, please E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know I can switch you to the new "tpc-TEC" (the poet's circle - The Electronic Circle).
The above is my Center E-mail address. You can also connect to me at email@example.com There is no actual Internet connection at the Center. They both come into Outlook in my computer at home.
For those of you to whom this is still all "Greek," just say "Amen, thank you Lord!" For all the benefits of E-mail, and instant access to limitless resources -- the Internet, in general, still has a sheer lunacy feel to it. Too much information - too little real need for most of it - that includes my stuff.
Before you become totally convinced that I am anti-technology, let me explain that just the opposite is true. I am one of those people whose first reaction to a new tool is to learn absolutely everything I can do with it, and see if I can dream up a few things on my own, while I am at it. With today's electronic tools that is too time and energy consuming to be possible. And, it is a big part of the reason I stayed away from this for so long. Now the real challenge is balance.
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As I looked over the materials I had set aside for this newsletter, I began to feel that the undercurrent theme here was violence. The obvious damage and violence we do to the environment, and all God's creatures, but also the violence we do to one another, either directly as in attack, or war, or indirectly, as a result of economic, social, or environmental choices we make every day. As I look back, I see, to some extent, this is a continuation of a theme prevalent in my last newsletter. And, perhaps begun in #13 where I talked considerably about Cherokee history.
The purpose of this is not just to lament the past though. It is to awaken to different choices, as we move forward. An old Al-Anon saying states, "as you stand for the umpteenth time holding your hand against your bloodied forehead, shouldn't you finally realize, it is not the wall that is moving?" Or, a Coleman McCarthy quote I recently read, "In fact, violence is rarely effective. If violence was effective, we would have had a peaceful planet eons ago."
But, let's start with the environment and something called "Your Ecological Footprint."
"Everybody felt a little bad if they didn=t recycle, but they saw nothing wrong with having three cars."
C Michael Brower
YOUR ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT
About the time that I started this newsletter I ran across an article in the Sierra Club magazine called "Are You Big Foot?" by Kim Todd (January/February 2003 issue, page 40). Almost simultaneously I received a call from Jim Meyerle, where in the course of conversation he mentioned the Ecological Footprint Quiz, and said he would send me some information.
Jim Meyerle, for those who don't know him, is a personal friend, and member of the poet's circle, who heads up Project Lakewell, and is on the staff at Urban Options in East Lansing. Once he knew the primary theme of my newsletter would be on environmental issues, he sent me multiple articles, and can be thanked for much of the data appearing in this issue. If you would like more information about Urban Options they can be reached at (517) 332-0422, or visited, or written to, at 405 Grove St, East Lansing, MI 48823, or visited on the web atwww.urbanoptions.org. You can also E-mail Jim personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyway, this "Footprint Quiz" was developed to allow individuals to see what kind of impact their lifestyle has compared to others, and available world resources. Americans, as you'll see are pretty heavy footed. Not much of a surprise there. Yet, it's easy to sluff it off when you talk about "Americans" as a group. There's a little different feel when you take the quiz about the way YOU live.
This is primarily an Internet quiz which can be taken at www.MyFootprint.org (from the Redefining Progress people). But for those of you who do not have access to the Internet . . .
(Pages 4 and 5 have been eliminated since you are online and have access to the website.)
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ABOUT YOUR FOOTPRINT
The average ecological footprint in the United States is 24 acres per person. Your footprint measures _____ percent (your footprint 24 x 100) of an average U.S. footprint. Worldwide, there are 4.5 biologically productive acres per person. If everyone lived as you do, we would need _____ planets (Your footprint 4.5) based on current populations. As populations increase, of course, the picture changes.
I was between 12.88 and 14.72 on the printed one, and between 15 and 17 on the Internet one, depending on how lenient on some of my answers I chose to be. But it would take about 3 more planet earths for everyone even to live my lifestyle.
If you choose not to look at things globally, but as individual nations, the United States actually has 14.9 productive acres per person, when you break things down by country. But, any way you cut it, we are gobbling up way more than our fair share of the world's resources.
"The United States, representing only 5% of the world's population, uses one-third of the world's paper, 25 percent of the oil, 23 percent of the coal, 27 percent of the aluminum, and 19 percent of the copper. Even when compared with people in other wealthy nations, we emerge as champions, using twice as much fossil fuel as the average resident of Great Britain, and 2.5 times as much as the average Japanese. As for eating habits, we consume, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists' publication, 3.25 pounds of meat each week, 1.5 times as much as the average Briton or Italian and more than 2.5 times as much as the average Japanese. As conspicuous consumers, the sheer volume of production in the U.S. also has led to a high-waste style of life. And, many people remain unaware of the environmental impact of what they buy, use and then throw away."
- EcoAlert from American P.I.E.
They went on to support "Buy Nothing Day." A campaign that has apparently been around for about 8 years, but which gets little publicity.
"The good news is that public awareness is growing; the willingness of people to recycle is evidence that there is a basic understanding that the things we consume cause environmental damage. Excellent programs, too, are helping; for example, Adbusters is campaigning for Buy Nothing Day (the day after Thanksgiving).
Many of our environmental ills stem from excess - too many cars, too many disposables, too much consumerism, too much, period. Enjoy a day of rest on the first day after Thanksgiving."
American P.I.E. (Public Information on the Environment) P.O. Box 676, Northfield, MN 55057-0676 Telephone: 1-800-320-APIE(2743) Fax: 507-645-5724 E-mail: Info@AmericanPIE.org Website: http//www.AmericanPIE.org
Paul Brown in an article in the Guardian states,"The human race has only one or perhaps two generations to rescue itself, according to the 2003 State of the World report by the Washington-based Worldwatch Institute. About 30% of the world's surviving forests are seriously fragmented or degraded, and they are being cut down at the rate of 50,000sq miles a year. Yet, among the worst trends worldwide is that 420 million people live in countries which no longer have enough crop land to grow their own food and have to rely on imports. Around 1.2 billion people, or about a fifth of the world's population, live in absolute poverty - defined as surviving on the equivalent of less than $1 a day. Still, the greatest threat is not a shortage of land, but a shortage of water, with more than 500 million people living in regions prone to chronic drought. Wetlands have been reduced by 50% over the last century. Coral reefs, the world's most diverse aquatic systems, are suffering the effects of overfishing, pollution, epidemic diseases and rising temperatures."
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So, how is everything looking in your neighborhood? I ask that tongue-in-cheek because for most of us life just goes on. How does this really concern me? What could I do?
Let's take first the question of personal concern. Y'all remember a few years back when the Mississippi flooded BIG TIME? It started, of course, along the upper Mississippi. I suppose, if you lived along the southern regions of the river, you could've taken the attitude - hey, the sun's shining and life is good here, why do I need to concern myself with somebody else's problems?
But, you see, it's all one river, and whatever is happening up north eventually reaches those just dancing in the moonlight. It's all one earth. ONE big giant LIFE SYSTEM.
"A recent study led by researchers at Redefining Progress documents the amount of ecological capacity humanity has used over the last 40 years as compared to the capacity available on this planet. The Ecological Footprint Accounts provide evidence that our demand has exceeded nature's regenerative capacity since at least the late 1970s. While humanity's load corresponded to 70% of the biosphere's capacity in 1961, it grew to 135% in 1998. In other words, this 35 percent overshoot means that it would take the 1998 biosphere 1.35 years to regenerate what humanity used in that single year. Humanity is using at least 35 percent more than the "interest" that nature provides. Which means that we're liquidating the capital."
What could you and I do? Well, to put it bluntly, we can start acting like it matters. We have started showing some small concern about how we treat our life support system, the environment. But, we do not ACT like it matters. We still want to argue about economics and entitlements, and the right to do whatever "I" want. After all, is not personal freedom what America is about? Again, to put it very bluntly, the terrorists who flew the jets into the twin towers were exercising personal freedom to do as they wished. Personal freedom is not about "free license," it's about responsible choices. Being environmental terrorists is not an option.
ENVIRONMENTAL TERRORISTS? STRONG WORDS?
They might be if our record weren't so appalling. These few pages have been focused on the people end of things. That's bad enough. We've shown equal disregard for the rest of God's creation, as we mindlessly advance with our "progress." Still, progress isn't even the problem. You and I both know our lives are filled with trinkets and stuff, totally unrelated to basic progress, or needs, or even comfort. It is a sad commentary that our "economic" health has come to depend on us selling and buying endless "things" which much of the time we have absolutely no need for, and even as a "want" provide precious little happiness. You want to FEEL happiness? Do something to improve the situation for all that God created!
"Conservation biologists believe that it may require 30-70% of the biosphere simply to maintain bio-diversity - nature's complex web of interdependent life-forms. Currently, about 3% is set aside as protected parks or reserves. The United Nation's Brundtland Commission suggested the politically courageous, but ecologically insufficient goal of increasing the world's protected area to 12% of the biosphere. To accommodate these other species, how much of the Earth's biologically productive area do you think should be set aside for them?"
The above quote, and question, is from the "What about other species" area you can click on after doing the My Footprint quiz. Our leaders can always be counted on to put economics ahead of environmental issues. But, in the big picture, economics is a mute point when there is no more sustainable environment. And, as every credit card user must eventually attest to, pretend if you want, but, sooner or later, there is indeed a due date.
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" LET THERE BE PEACE ON EARTH AND
LET IT BEGIN WITH WAR . . . "
Do the new lyrics I just penned, to the popular "let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me" song, strike you as a little absurd? Don't exactly roll off the tongue do they? Something about the contradictory nature of the two lines gets things all out of whack. So why believe it?
We must believe it, because contrary to what comes out of someone's mouth, actions are more often the dead giveaway of what a person truly believes. Jim and my son, Chris, have been sending me abundant E-mails with information, opinions, and people's concerns about the "war" on terrorism, and as I write this, in particular, the potentially impending war with Iraq.
I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do with it, since there are so many complex dynamics involved, but it is most certainly related to everything I've been talking about. I decided first Ill say my piece. I BELIEVE KILLING IS WRONG. PERIOD. I am:
--- opposed to the death penalty
--- and anti-war
I am also well aware that God has graced everybody with the right of free will choice. I am aware I have the freedom to say what I believe today, because somebody was willing to die protecting that right yesterday. You will not hear me belittle soldiers or our military. You are not required to agree with me, nor should you or anyone be forced to live solely by my beliefs. For, I also believe that democracy is a gift of God.
Yet know this . . .
The future, if there is to be a future, will be ushered in by those who see caring, sharing, life, love, and peace, as the highest ideals, not just to be spoken of, but meant to be lived out. I am not naive. I am aware there are tyrants, and that evil abounds. But, violence never leads to a true lasting peace.
The self-centered inconsistency and absurdity of Americans constantly amazes me. We respond to our innocent citizens being killed, by those who thought they were justified, with grief and anger, and sometimes even hate. But, we expect that when we drop bombs, or send soldiers, who end up killing innocent civilians, the families, friends, and citizens in those countries will somehow not respond with the same emotions. They will somehow recognize that we, as Americans, unlike terrorists, ARE justified in killing innocent people, because we, most certainly do so "for the greater good."
It is time to think "outside the boxes." We are both powerful enough, and creative enough to do so. It only remains for us to choose.
WHILE I AM ON MY SOAPBOX
We started with Native Americans, then it was black Americans, then Hispanic Americans, then in WWII it was Japanese Americans, and to a lesser extent German (they were harder to identify) Americans. Now it is Arab Americans. There is nothing quaint or endearing at work in this "red neck" attitude about who is really American, and who is not. It is the prejudice of small, bigoted minds, pure and simple. The sooner we show it for what it is, the sooner peace has a real chance.
FROM SOME OF THE STUFF SENT TO ME
"The events of 9/11 seem to have paralyzed many people. They are living in a house of fear rather than hope. This can be deadly to any attempt to think about creating a world based on justice and peace."
- Donald E. Miller Professor of Religion at USC
"A recent United Nations report estimates that as many as 500,000 Iraqis would be injured or killed in the early stages of any war with the United States . . . . half a million children already have died in the last decade as a result of economic sanctions."
"We live reasonably peacefully within this nation because we treat law seriously. The obvious next step is that we need to treat international law extremely seriously."
- Eric Lazarus
Bush's plan to attack Iraq is an "irrational" response to Sept. 11 and America should be "setting an example of rational action."
- Dennis Lockwood
"Not in Our Name"
A statement of conscience against this war.
I would recommend listening to the statement being read by Ossie Davis, on their website. The sweeping sentence at the end, among others, precludes my signature. Still, it's worth hearing. Sorry, it's too long to put here, for those receiving this newsletter in printed form.
"Almost every church body in the United States has declared that a war against Iraq cannot be a 'just war.' Churches around the world have joined this cry."
- Mennonite Church USA Executive Board, from January 15, 2003 letter to President Bush
"Why of course the people donít want war . . . Naturally the common people donít want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
- Hermann Goering
He was Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, President of the Reichstag, Prime Minister of Prussia and, as Hitlerís designated successor, the second man in the Third Reich.
"Madison Square Garden, October 20, 2001. Richard Gere booed off the stage by Ground Zeroís firefighters and police officers for suggesting that Americans view September 11 with 'love, compassion and understanding.' Both his live audience and those who criticized Gere during the ensuing commotion viewed him as a preposterous figure saying something outrageously inappropriate to the wrong people at the wrong time. I wonder what the reaction would have been if poor Richard had expressed the same thoughts in these words, 'You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also. You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven' (Matthew 5:38-45, New Revised Standard Version).
Had Richard Gere read these words . . . well, it would have been quite a moment. Would those (mostly Christian) firefighters and police have booed him anyway? Perhaps. Would the (mostly Christian) commentators have been as vicious? Maybe. But they would have found themselves confronting a dilemma that they were not honest enough to admit in their reaction to Gereís own words; words which after all meant the same thing. Had Gere quoted Jesus, his audience would have had to face the gap between their need for defense, security, and revenge, and the clear uncompromising instruction of Jesus."
- Michael Ventura
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That brings me full circle back to the concept of Christians living what they say they believe. I think we'll leave it there for now, and move on to some basic housekeeping type stuff.
But, before I go on - has anybody noticed it's been less than a year since my last newsletter? That hasn't happened for a while - back in 1998 or before. Aren't you impressed?
NEW LIBRARY PROGRAM - OLD COMPUTER - ANY VOLUNTEERS?
In order to take over the technical end of the Center's website (as well as the content), I needed to get a new computer system. The old one simply didn't have the memory capacity required for the new programs. So I put the old system downstairs (in back) in the multi-purpose room. Then I purchased a library program for it, figuring it's primary use could be as an electronic card catalog for library items.
Of course, there is a down side to this. The items in the library need to be actually entered into the new program. This can and will occur little by little over time, but it would happen a whole lot sooner if there are any of you willing to help out with this. Let me know.
The old system also still has both Word and WordPerfect word processing programs loaded. It has a Bible, zip code, herbal, and photo program as well. Plus, there is a scanner and printer hooked up to it. If you would like to be able to use this equipment when you visit the Center, please see me for some basic instruction.
The Center has enough money in the bank to get through the end of 2003, barring any unforeseen catastrophes. However, it is not any where close to being self-sufficient from regular contributions, and the income from product sales is extremely minimal. If you think the Center is a positive presence in the community, and would like to see it continue, you might want to put this issue onto your prayer list now. Not that God can't do something "in an instant," but why wait until the last minute when we know the need is approaching.
Over the last eight years, I have tried and explored quite a few possibilities with funding in mind. But, God has not seen fit to open any of those doors. And, indeed, at times the negative feedback from some of those, had a reprimanding feel. So much so, that I no longer specifically focus on the money. I do what I feel lead to do, and let go of any results. So, I'm pretty much in a place where I'm simply waiting for Him. Your prayers, as always, are much appreciated.
DO YOU HAVE E-MAIL?
I already mentioned this earlier in the middle of the website announcement. But, on the chance some of you just skip through, and don't read the longer stuff (my oh my can this really be true?), I'll ask again.
If you have E-mail, and would be willing to switch from paper mailings to electronic ones, please send me an E-mail stating so. This will save on paper costs and postage, as well as save time in handling newsletters. My addresses are:
You may remain on the paper list even if you have E-mail, if you wish, of course. However, it would be nice if you would send me a note anyway, so I have your E-mail address on file for basic communication purposes. If you are reading this on paper, I likely don't have your E-mail address in my system.
If you are already a member of "the poet's circle" reading this electronically because I switched you over, but would prefer going back to paper, let me know that too.
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A VISION OF "A SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY"
. . . a message emerging from three Earth Summits (Stockholm, 1972; Rio de Janeiro, 1992; Johannesburg, 2002) that has not yet sufficiently penetrated serious strategic thinking about security. That message rests in a vision sometimes named "sustainable community." Sustainable community asks how the economy and environment together are wrapped around local communities and bioregions and their local assets. In contrast to the ways of globalization through current corporate capitalism, sustainable community tries to preserve or create the following:
--- A world weaned on a regional basis from fossil fuels and powered by renewable ones.
--- Greater economic self-sufficiency locally and regionally, with agriculture appropriate to regions and in the hands of local owners and workers using local knowledge and crop varieties.
--- Preservation of local and regional traditions, language and cultures. Resistance to global homogenization of culture and values.
--- Revival of a sense of the sacred, in contrast to a present way of life that leeches the sacred from the every day and has no sense of mystery because it reduces life to the utilitarian.
--- Repair of the moral fiber of society on terms other than freedom of consumer choice.
--- Resistance to the commodifying and patenting of all things, including knowledge and life forms.
--- Protection of Earth's vitality, diversity and beauty as a sacred trust.
All this is global democratic community. It doesn't ask whether to globalize, as citizens of King's world house, but how.
And its answer --- democratic communities democratically arrived at --- is global community. The emphasis is on the self-organizing, self-provisioning and self-governing capacities of people in their communities.
(The above is from "The Lutheran" January 2003, page 21)
FAIR USE NOTICE
This newsletter contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research or educational purposes.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this newsletter for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
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Well, where does all this leave us? The answer quite simply is − wherever we want to be. Truth be known, beyond all the rhetoric, things are pretty much OK with us as they are, or we'd be making a greater effort to change them. I know one of my worst environmental (and health) areas is in meat consumption. It takes far more resources to raise and process meat than the nutritional equivalent in grains, vegetables, or fruits. I continue to try to improve in this, and other areas, but sometimes progress is slow. As always, balance is the goal.
Perhaps the goal for each of us, as Americans, should be to get our lifestyles, and consumption levels in particular, down below the productive acres (14.9) per person we have in this country. It would be a place to start. Then we can deal with the moral issues of a global perspective.
I saw someone on TV defend having a gas guzzling SUV on the basis of how it made him "feel." Feelings do have validity. But, we must balance them with whether or not by indulging our ego's "good feelings," we're sacrificing the health and well being of our children and grandchildren. Indeed, a wise Cherokee leader would advise looking seven generations down the road when making such decisions.
I am told that in the old ways of Cherokee society, a Cherokee would have considered it a matter of great shame to himself, to discover that his neighbor's family had been going hungry, while he and his had plenty to eat. Of course, this was before they were "civilized."
Even so, you might yet ask "just who is my neighbor?" But, ask it to a Christian. Jesus responded quite clearly to that very question in Luke 10:29-37. And after all, we "Christians" are supposed to know what the Master taught.
The following poem is not one of mine. I received it with some information from the church we attend, when it was going through some struggles. But I think it's very relevant to all that's been discussed here.
THE BRIDGE BUILDER
AN OLD MAN, going a lone highway,
"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim near,
Will Allen Dromgoole