Now that the holidays are past, I’m continuing my series over at the Oregonian.
A quick update for new readers. Here at this blog, I write about spiritual growth from the perspective of a follower of Jesus. The audience here is primarily people who already follow Jesus, and are already committed to personal growth. The Oregonian is a newspaper in here Portland, and OregonLive is their online outlet. I was invited to write as a community faith leader, and there I am writing to a bit of a different audience. I’m writing there to people in the wider community, addressing how my faith perspective intersects questions and issues that are very much in the current consciousness.
I’m presently 3 posts into a series about ways I believe the church has stepped away from the path of Jesus. Some of this is a bit more political than what I write here, and perhaps about stuff that might come across as not very “churchy.”
Here’s a teaser of this post.
“This world is not my home. I’m just a-passin’ through…” my friends and I all sang at the top of our lungs. “My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue!” At summer camp and revivals, songs like these told us what was most important. Certainly not this old, battered world. Our focus was on that place we’d fly off to by-and-by, how to get there, and how to get our friends there. Even better, a day was coming when heaven was coming to us.
Like many Christians today, I grew up in a church that taught that Jesus was going to come back. Literally. In a stunning show of power, Jesus would appear in the clouds in the eastern sky, surrounded by angels. He would put an end to this evil age, forever wiping out sin and death.
These songs and teachings offered us such hope. Injustice won’t last forever! We won’t live under the shadow of death and loss forever! God sees and knows. There will be a reckoning. That felt like good news. It still does.
But there was a dark side to those formative beliefs of mine. If this “world is not my home,” and “I’m just a-passin’ through,” then I don’t have much responsibility for the state of things. Pipelines and water, forests and owls–none of that matters much to me. The result was an unintended disregard for the natural world.