Posted by: jblevins | August 1, 2008

Our Call – A Different World

We are called to live in a different world, a world where the good fo the individual and the good of the community are intrinsically and intimately related. But how do we get there? How do we even begin to live differently when our world is increasingly ordered around the greed of the individual and the decay of nature […] We return to verse 24 of Isaiah 65: ‘Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking i will hear.’ That is the only reason we dare to imagine a different world – because God is before us, God is there already. The world imagined by our biblical texts is not fantasy […] this is not a dream, but the way things should be, and will be, with God’s help. To the degree we live in God, from God, and for God, this world will emerge. (205)

Above is a quote from Sally McFague, from an essay titled Human Dignity and the Integrity of Creation in the book “Theology that Matters: Ecology, Economy, and God”. That quote, along with a variety of others I know and love, sums up what is the goal of the Christian life. That with God, we are called to introduce into this world another way of living – a way that reflects not the values of this world, but the values of the Kingdom of God. And for sure, it is a call that is hard to live into in the current circumstances, as calls go up for more drilling to sustain an unsustainable energy policy, public land protection bills stall in Congress, and a United Church of Christ report on race and toxic waste shows little change over the last 20 years – besides another minority being discriminated against.

But it is precisely into these times that we are called as people of faith to respond. And last week we sent out an email asking just what you are doing to respond to the energy situation we find ourselves in. The responses have lifted my heart more than any legislation passing Congress possibly could. They have been reflective of living out our call to build a different world, and of living in the presence of God. From biking or mass transit, no longer using plastic and paper bags, changing your light bulbs, to making a Prius into not a hybrid but a full blown electrical car, the steps people are taking out of their faith to create another reality are beautiful.

It reminds me of the tag line, if you will, of my own denomination, the Church of the Brethren. “Continuing the Way of Jesus: Peacefully, Simply, Together. Another Way of Living”. I see this in the communities of faith we have the joy of working with every day. And Sally McFague’s quote reminds us that we can do this because we are not alone – we live and walk because God has lived and walked and is still living and walking with us today and into the future. This is a huge thing to remember as the political conversations continue about the future of our energy policy, and our ability to weigh in and make it a just and sustainable one. As McFague reminds us:

The dream we have for a new world, a new earth, is not just our dream; it is the dream of God, and God has placed this dream within each one of us. The dream of paradise and the dream of the kingdom of God is, finally, why we keep going and how we keep going. We are paradise-haunted creatures who yearn for the kingdom of God. We hang in there because God hangs in there. Hallelujah! (212)


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