Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's not easy being green... and conservative (repost)

I originally posted this last year but in honor of Earth Day, I thought I'd post it again.  It's a passion of mine that Christians can care about the environment and still be... conservative. :)
Don't ya just love Kermie? In our home there was a word that was, well... not to be muttered. It's a joke especially between Stephanie and me. We call it the "M" word. She tried to tell me Kermit wasn't real. She said Kermit was a... pardon the expression... Muppet. Wash your mouth out with soap, girl! Next thing she'll be telling me is that King Friday and Queen Sarah Saturday are the "P" word. Anyway, I do digress...

If you've been reading my ponderings for any length of time, you may have heard the expression I've shared quite often, "The best friend of the far left is the far right, they just don't know it". I first realized this when being part of a health food co-op (the president for a couple of years so I dealt a lot with the people in Iowa City... the far left) and later as a homeschooler.

I was thinking of this yesterday as I watched a favorite show on the Fox Network. The host was making fun of Earth Day. While I admit there are some outrageous people and statements among environmentalists, it does Conservatives (and Christians) no good to act as if there is nothing wrong with this world's ecosystem. We can disagree on what may be causing our environmental challenges but we show a lack of wisdom when we argue there is no problem.

There are great voices out there, representing the Christian viewpoint without fearing science. I remember reading Crunchy Con by Rod Dreher and nodding my head most of the way through the book. I looked like a conservative bobblehead as I found a like minded soul (we truly do read to know we're not alone). Not that I agreed with everything in Crunchy Con but a lot of it.

As I've mentioned before, the people who had the greatest influence on my life... through their books, tapes, film, etc... were Francis and Edith Schaeffer. I want to have tea with Edith in Eternity (although she is still alive!). I would have tears of joy as I shared tea and brought her a bouquet of flowers whose colors I have yet to see in this world. Without Edith's influence, I would be a far worse wife and mother.

If you've read the collection of books by the Schaeffer's, you will know they cared deeply about environmental issues. It comes through Edith's books about homemaking in a very practical fashion. Francis wrote an entire book about the subject titled Pollution and the Death of Man, which is still in print twenty-five years later.

I can't save the planet but I can do my own part to respect God's creation. I compost (for entirely selfish reason, it creates beautiful dirt and it helps save my septic system), I recycle newspapers, cans, and plastic, I save plastic bags and drop them off once in awhile to the Mission thrift store where they reuse them, I've only recently started carrying cloth bags with me to take to the grocery store, I reuse plastic containers at least once whenever possible, I buy used a lot which helps my budget and the environment, I use Charlie's Soap as well as other natural methods of cleaning, and... well, you get the idea.

We should never have a fear of Science or learning what is Truth. God can handle it. If we have the attitude of "it's all going to burn someday, anyway" we are doing a disservice to our children and grandchildren should the return of our Lord be later than we think. This comes from a former Jesus People type person who thought the return of Christ had to be in the 1980s. :)

I'll do my part in beautifying the earth today since it is finally nice outside again. I'll take the container from underneath the sink out to the compost pile. I'll help my husband remove the top layer of black gold from our former compost pile before planting our rhubarb (it has been too wet to plant it earlier). I've already turned off lights and unplugged recharging cords... little actions of environmentalism.

I have leftovers in the frig to turn into a meal. Nothing huge... no action taken that will immediately affect pollution or feed a child in Africa... but showing respect to the planet our Father made. And... yes, I am a conservative, evangelical, Christian who is green.

*The above originally published last year.


Kimberly said...

My sister a few weeks ago called me a Granola. That's a first. But since we radically changed how we live two years ago, I have discovered that a lot of the new way I wanted to live was really green and truly just the way people USED to live.
I think the Christians call it frugal, the environmentalists call it green. I call it smart.
Why did we ever trade in His call to be stewards of His creation merely for conveniences sake?

Barbara H. said...

I clicked over from Ravenhill Cottage because both the title of your blog and this blog post intrigued me, and I can say a hearty Amen. Too often conservative Christians think they have to swing the pendulum to the completely opposite direction of the "left" in everything, and that makes us hard to take seriously. Wonderful balance in this post!

Heather L. said...

I was contemplating writing something along these lines but don't feel up to it today. I'm glad you posted!!! I think we feel the same way. Sometimes I feel like people think it's weird that I'm a Christian, conservative, and I recycle!!! ha ha ha!!! There is so much that could be said. Anyway, just glad you posted and glad God has given us such a gorgeous creation to enjoy!!!

Anonymous said...

I wanted to post on your About Me, but no comment thingie there.

I too really enjoy my coffee. Can't say I enjoy tea, though. I order my beans from a family owned place in Omaha. I haven't found a decent place in Iowa yet, even after almost 3 years here.

So? You live around Iowa City somewhere. We are an hour outside of Des Moines.

I also enjoy reading. Lots and lots.

And another thing we have in common. I became a Christian in my early 20's and came from a non-Christian home. It is amazing where the Lord took me from and where I am now.

Having lived in Nebraska my entire life, it has been an adjustment moving to its liberal neighbour.

I do agree with you about a Christian's role in taking care of the earth. I get quite fanatical about recycling. It's more difficult now that we have to haul it to town, but we are recycling as much as we did when we had curbside pick up in Omaha.

I compost, as well, but I think our ducks eat much of it. Ugh. I am getting better about those cloth bags. When we do the big grocery trips I remember to use them, but it is the smaller ones I forget. I use the plastic for trash.

We are now working toward getting a rain collection system going. That will be great for the garden and trees. I heard it is better than treated water, as more of the good stuff for plants is left in.

I have enjoyed what I have seen in your blog. I will come back. :)

Ronnica said...

Good post. I am always saddened when people on "our side" act as if they don't need to care for creation just because Al Gore, etc. are wrong about a lot. Have you heard of the new book Green Like God? It might be something you're interested in. I just ordered it myself and am curious to see what it has to say.

Lisa Z said...

Wise words. I'm glad you reposted this as it was wonderful to read. I'm definitely a left-leaning bleeding heart, but I too loved Dreher's book, Crunchy Cons. I do think we have way more in common, than not. And certainly God calls us to care for His creation.

Catherine said...

Thanks for posting this again :) .
Much truth there.

Have a lovely Earth Day, and enjoy this beautiful earth that the Lord created!
Catherine :)

Connie said...

Well said; so true. Why won't we try to take care of the gifts from our Lord. He picked us to live here. Praise God!!

Debbie in CA : ) said...

My dear Brenda,

I, too, have a bouquet of thanks in my heart for Edith Schaeffer. She's the "mom" I never had. What a blessing that she took the time to pen it all down to be discovered by the likes of me (and others) down the road.

I am also a green-on-the-right kinda gal. My husband's "Strict" Christian family has made fun of me (and worse) for years. Nevertheless, I happily grow my produce on my own compost, nourish my children with whole foods, grind my grain, recycle my waste, and carry on to please God not man.

Thanks for saying this again for all of us celebrating the gift of the earth from a loving father on a daily basis.

Kermit isn't real? Whaaaaaaat?
; D

Vee said...

I remember reading this last year...wonder if I commented. Better check before I repeat myself and that would not necessarily be a good thing. :D

Vee said...

Well, yes, as I was need to repeat myself. Too funny as I just found myself saying similar words at another Earth Day post this morning.

Debra said...

Excellent post! I have often been saddened to hear so many Christians joke about Al Gore and global warming as though our planet is just fine the way it is and it doesn't matter what we do. I believe it does matter that we care for this amazing, beautiful planet which God created for us! Thanks for a great post....Debra

Lanier said...

A resounding 'Amen', Brenda. Thank you...

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

You put it beautifully Brenda, as always. I agree, there is not one thing wrong with respecting and caring for this blessed planet that was created for us by the Creator.

In my mind the issue has nothing to do with politics...I view it as a fact I give thanks and pray for it's health and protection almost daily.

Suze said...

My husband and I have often thought that we don't fit a typical demographic. We are conservative, yet we are very conscious of nature and the environment. I know Christians who get a kick out of joking about "tree huggers", etc. I'm pretty sure I'm a tree hugger, but I'm also a Christian and conservative politically.

Christy said...

This post is spot-on! I've found it sometimes difficult to explain to folks that I'm a conservative who carries re-usable bags.... I got a chuckle too, when I saw your reference to Iowa City. My husband when to school at U of I and we now live in West Des Moines. I had to chuckle at the thought of a conservative leading such a group there. Brave gal you are! :)

JaneDoeThreads said...

Just stumbled on this today from a garden blog, and well, I am very 'left', feminist, green-indie, advocate for fair trade, anti-slavery, anti-materialism, and Christian [believer in Jesus, not religious, but Jesus and Jesus Crucified]...

I just wanted to say, is it better to give life or to destroy it? That includes the planet, animals [within reason] and people. The OT has numerous scriptures regarding the caring for the land, animals, etc., references in NT [not abusing the world] and the land was to have her Sabbath rest, just like us...and it's interesting to see how God dealt with Israel when they preferred their works of their hands over caring for the planet/earth, etc. Jesus takes this even further,

to the Pharisees, you'll care for an ox/ass on the Sabbath but no concern for a Woman [the woman with the infirmity], kind of like the misogynists in our churches today--and, ironically, leaven of Herod, those who care ONLY for animals while humans are trafficked, slaves for Cotton [for our 100 garments for our nakedness while stripping earth of water that Could grow food and feed Thousands], so forth...

the problem is not conservative [Pharisee] or liberal [Herod] but Few know the Word of God [outside of 'doctrine of men' Lens],

I rejoice, in Christ that there are more people waking up, that yes, regardless of the end, WE have a duty, to give life--no matter humanity, animals and to the planet.


Mrs. Staggs said...

Thank you for this post Brenda. You know me pretty well, by now, so you know that I'm one of the left winged bleeding heart liberals that Fox doesn't take kindly to. I'm sure glad that you do, though. How I wish, that we'd all stop labeling one another, look past our differences, and work for the common good. If we'd all start by working towards the good that we agree upon, then maybe, we'd begin to see the best in each other.

I appreciate all your efforts to make a difference, in all the ways that you do.

Take care,