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A Green Evangelical

Story ID:2208
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Lakewood Ohio USA
Year:2007
Person:various
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I am so glad that with Spring here that at last I have started my rosary walks again.
These 76 year-old legs need to be used or losed. My rosary this Memorial Saturday
week-end was interrupted by a delightful encounter with Lily - a 3 month old
Jack Russell Terrier who lives down our street. I was glad her owner released
the leash which allowed Lily to happily romp around my legs. What an unexpected
delight and treat. I know that Sorin my Romanian/French friend would have just been
as enchanted by her as I was. I made it a point to tell him about her when I saw him.

Then I turned the corner and continued walking and praying until I saw Lydia
in her garden. She was up early digging, planting, and feeding her beautiful
plants. I admire anyone with so much initiative and especially one who is working
with God's beautiful green earth. I saw no pesticides in this garden! Sadly, my
neighbor uses them on her weeds. Well, all summer long I don't particularly enjoy
weeding out my thistle weeds and Queen Anne's Lace (though beautiful it takes over
everything), but then I have no alternative. I am a believer in Rachel Carson!

CBS Sunday Morning some weeks ago had a feature on Rachel Carson who wrote
"Silent Spring." As we all know she made it a point to tell us that she could
not see how the wide scale use of pesticides and DDT in particular could not but have
detrimental effects on the whole earth. Of course, she was right. I was so pleased
to actually here her speak and this is what she said at the end of this feature:

"I truly believe that we in this generation (she wrote in the 60's) must come to terms
with nature and I think we are challenged as mankind has never been challenged
before to prove our maturity and mastery NOT OF NATURE but of ourselves."

I find these words so prophetical and I often wonder about all the many new childhood
illnesses and diseases which have been aflicting our children and even adults since. Could
these be the result of our continued use of pesticides (DDT was banned) and injecting
our food animals with hormones?

As for Lydia, I found out that she is originally from S. America. Before the rain
came done in buckets, she handed me some lilies-of-the-valley which she had pulled
along with a fistful of mint she didn't want. I was grateful because I love these
delicate flower "bells" which give off such a beautiful scent. I would find a place for them
among my mom's rose buses. Lilacs, gardenias, and roses are also among the most
fragrant of all flowers.

Then on Tuesday evening after Memorial Day I was glad that I caught Bill Moyer's
new time slot and even more glad to ''meet" his guest. I found Rev. Richard
Cizik to be a breath of fresh air. As hard as it may be to believe, but the
Evangelicals by and large have never adopted the notion that Creation is for us
to nurture and preserve. Now this minister who had never held a pulpit but who holds
a prestigious position as vice president for governmental affairs of the National
Association of Evangelicals (NAE), an unmbrella organization representing some
30 million evangelical Christians, is now a leading proponent to "creation care."
He has become a "warrior" in a new kind of holy war-- the battle to get Christians
to see the earth as God's gift and recognize their duty to care for it.

I was jubilant. I had become so tired and disillusioned with Evangelicals and even
fellow Christians who feel that the earth is ours to subdue and to use as we
see fit. In my opinion, this kind of thinking is wholly without merit and is a perversion
of what I believe Creation is all about.

Rev. Cizik's mission is to get evangelicals to think green. As a Washington lobbyist,
he has said "I have told people, 'Look, you have got to care about this because when
you die, God is not going to ask you about how He created the earth. He's going to ask
you, 'What did you do with what I created?'"

In his book "Believers: A Journey into Evangelical America, Jeffery L. Sheler has a chapter
on Cizik where he notes that Cizik's dedication to his cause is unusual in Washington.
And despite Dr. James Dobson, Charles Colson, and Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist
Convention -leaders who urged NAE to stay on the sidelines, he has continued to forge
ahead despite as he says of 'who may try to take my head off.'

Cizik has spent a quarter century in Wshington lobbying on behalf of evangelical
Christians. While a pro-Bush conservative, he is less than thrilled with the Bush
Administration's record on environmental issues. But it is evident from his talk with
Moyers- he is basically a man of peace and good will and hopes to work with the
administration, not against it.

He admits that he has not always been so environmentally-minded. But in 2002, he
had a conversion experience. "I was at a conference in Oxford where Sir John Houghton,
an evangelical scientist, was presenting evidence of shrinking ice caps, temperatures
tracked for millenia through ice-core data, increasing hurricane intensity, drought patterns,
and so on," he has said. "I realized all at once, with sudden awe, that climate change is
a phenomenonon of truly biblical proportions."

All I can say is God bless Rev. Richard Cizik. We need more people like him and I
pray that he is able to get his message through. I have been perplexed by people who
have made fun of environmentalists calling them "tree-huggers" and have
generally looked down upon them with
disdain. Prominent among these were the evangelicals as well as other Christians.
I often wondered if they and I
worshipped the same Creator. Now with evangelicals like Cizik, I see hope that
we will be united
in the one same holy cause - The greening of America and hopefully the world. Where
we should have been leading, sadly we were not.

And the last thought is my seeing on TV the mountains of W.Virginia being blown
away with million of explosives each year as the state allows strip mining companies
to extract coal in this detrimental way. Not only are the beautiful mountain tops being
leveled but mine waste water called "slurry" is filling up the hollows. Were this
eye sore not bad enough, these slurries can leach into the ground water. They
showed a family living near by sometimes getting light black water from their spigot.

My heart cries for these families and for the beautiful mountains of W.Virginia.
Why isn't somebody doing something about it? Where are W.Virginia's legislators?
Is the Bush Administration responsible for giving the go ahead to Coal Mining
Corporations? I would like to know the answers to these questions. Who is
responsible for this terrible use of God's resources? I would not expect this
to be happening in America. What about you?