Saturday, June 5, 2010

Who shall save whom? World Environment day

Are you saved? This is the sales pitch (no offence meant) of Christian groups and even certain sections of mainline churches. Obviously the pressure is such that it makes one think as to whether one is indeed saved! We examine our life, the acts we commit and eagerly take our tokens waiting for judgement day. But have we really done enough to sit back, relax and wait for the D- Day? Is what we are experiencing in the form of increased temperatures and melting glaciers a part of the signs of the end of times or is it that the reign of God is here and now and therefore what we sow, thus shall we reap?

What has, being saved and the world environment day got to do with each other? Everything, one must say. Can we be saved in isolation, leaving others to rot in hell? Or do we strive for a more communitarian way of being saved, not just me, not just everyone, but also everything? (For those who would find it difficult to term a tree a she/he but would rather call it a thing) This puts into context the question, ‘Are you saved?’

How can agents of destruction basically ask the question of whether one is saved or not? One has to accept that every religion, sect and group (Barring primal communities like tribal and adivasi’s who don’t have an institutionalised religion) have committed destruction for the purpose of the advancement of their own religion. This is also why it is true to say that, ‘there cannot be any development without destruction’. But to what extend? And if this is so, who are we to talk about saving, when all we do is actually destruction?

This can be questioned by pointing out the steps taken by various religions and churches to plant saplings in every corner of the earth. But unless we rethink our development strategy there can be no turning back of the clock. What has been done has been done and it is only going to get worse because no one is going to slow down but will rather look to up the ante.

Does it then make sense to have a token world environment day when all that we do is actually a farce because when given a chance we will opt to save ourselves and not the environment. It is yet another thing that we time and again forget that by saving the environment we save ourselves in the process too! As usual we will also talk about going back to our roots and to what people did earlier and how they lived in sync with the environment. But we have gone too far in our development process to pedal back so much.

I should not sound too pessimistic. But I can’t sound optimistic at this juncture too. We are in a real soup. Faced with global warming and erratic climate changes, we have pushed the panic button. But we fail to understand the concept of sacrificing oneself to really save someone else. Just like any grand tree would do. It would do good for all of us knowing fully well that we would axe it down at the first opportunity. This is the attitude we need to have, ‘Save someone (thing) and we will be saved too.’ Happy World Environment day!


AEapen said...

The erratic climate and the global warming fears show how powerless we are compared to the mighty Creator. A few major volcanic eruptions and a few earthquakes can undo 100s of years of Green efforts! We are missing the point that our downfall is due to our "nature" to compete with God - from the Garden to Babel to the attempts to play with the embryo - in the name of progress.
The idea that saving the nature is one of the main missions of the church is nothing less than a big distraction by the great deceiver. If the church can focus all its energy to its primary mission - saving His best creation, the fallen human race - saving the fellow creatures and the environment created by Him for the creatures will follow. The idea that the "saved" sits back for the rewards seems to be a distortion.
Planting a million saplings is a good idea if the planters commit to save another soul for Him, else the church is no difft from any other socail organization.
Orthodox church was one of the few churches that stayed away from the "progressive" ideas that ultimately corrupted the fundamental/true teachings in the evangelical world. The "saving" message from the pulpit would progressively be replaced by "saving" the nature to start with and then "liberating the oppressed" when the church plays into the hands of the deceiver, ultimately diluting the Word(and winning the competition with the Creator!) and not knowing about (blinded by) it.
Hope and pray that the focus on the created does not overtake our focus on the Creator.
-Abu, Saint Paul

Fr Jerry said...

Thanks for the comment Abu. The thought that saving human beings is primary and everything else will follow can be accepted to an extent. The church will obviously agree on that front. But at the same time, God wishes human beings to be co-inhabitors of the world along with those God has created. This eventually teaches us moderation and living for our needs rather than our wants.

The point is, if God has created, who are we to destroy? Should we destruct to save ourselves or should we sacrifice to save others and thereby ourselves? The message of the cross for me is of God sacrificing for the world. Should we go against this great call for sacrifice?

Fr Jerry said...

Jerry John Kurien from facebook (5-6-2010)-I really enjoy reading your blogs and the way u get to connect things is amazing! Happy Environment day !

Fr Jerry said...

Thanks so much from one Jerry to another. :) Your comments are valued a lot.

Fr Jerry said...

Mary George writing in facebook 4 hours ago- I share the same opinion as Jerry John. I wish older generation also get a chance to read ur articles. Keep it up

Fr Jerry said...

Thanks very much. I also wish more people read and disagree or agree!

andy said...

Thanks Jerry for pointing out the real issue! Well for me, the problem starts the moment we separate ourselves(the human beings) from the creation and the 'creator'('God') from the creation. By doing so we make "God' our private property, thus he/she does what ever we want. I think, it is important to recognise the inter-wovenness of every living organism, for its existence. 'God' becomes real in that realisation of interdependency,... that could be a way of being 'saved'!!

Fr Jerry said...

@Andy- I agree completely. Who on earth said that God is ours exclusively? This very narrow outlook that we possess is indeed alarming and just shows how selfish we human beings are. God therefore is definitely not our private property. Thanks Andy. Your comment explores the issue further.

AEapen said...

I beg to differ. To be saved there is no other name under the sun or above - nor do humans need to "depend" on anything that is "created". Nevertheless God explicitly asked his special creation (man) to take care of the garden and enjoy everything in it. But when our race fell (from the garden), greed and self centerdness got the best of us and our sinful actions compromised the balance of the nature. But in our efforts to regain that balance, we (the church) should be very careful how we mix our primary commission (reaching the gospel to the fallen man) with other tasks which could take our zeal away from it. Some of the green enthusiasts are wolves in goats skin trying to show "God" in every creation (which is pantheistic idea - kallilum mullilum poovilum thurumpilum dhaivam irikkunnu...) and equating saving the environment is 'saving" God; which in itself is an absurd. We need to be good stewards, no doubt about it; but we should not partner with people who trying to sow seeds that are not from our master !
Also, the relation between God and man is EXCLUSIVE. God sent his only begotten son to save His crown creation (man - who is above all creations even angels). He did not hang on the tree to save trees or any other creation. I believe that he died for me, a sinner, and that he is my personal (exclusive) savior. My saving a piece of the environment or my church planting a million trees is not part of His redemption plan for humans. When an individual is saved he will be duty bound to "save" his fellow beings (evangelize/gospel) and to be a good steward of other creations and that's should be the way the church (indirectly) save the world.
-Abu, Saint Paul

Fr Jerry said...

@Abu- Thanks for the comment. To reply to what you have said, I have to open up the topic of evangelization. The way you put it is the path followed by denominations in their initial period of existence. But those denominatios that have time to think and reflect differ with this view.

The Jacobite/Orthodox churches do not subscribe to evangelization of people with the notion of saving them temporarily. Rather 'Orthodoxy' is a way of life which though complicated is a life long commitment to a life of deep spirituality and moderation, using all that has been created but trying not to misuse it. This mystery of life is reflected in the mystery of the Qurbono/a itself. Therefore we live this life in society and involve other people in this deep spirituality, which is not just giving answers to hundred questions but trying to point out how to live in this world and be faithful to God at the same time.

There may be people who use environmental protection as a means to their own selfish ends. But that does not relieve us of our responsibility towards our co-creation.

Saving the world is not saving God. God does not need to be saved. Least of all by us! Saving the world means recommiting ourselves to God's plan and God's reign. Slomo.