Friday, October 06, 2006

McKibben, "The Gospel of Green"

Via The Revealer, here is an interesting article by Bill McKibben about the growing alliance, or convergence, between U.S. evangelicals and environmentalists. This convergence could eventually upset liberal/conservatives polarities, in a positive way. Stewardship is a resonant theme in Judaism and Christianity, and may have a special resonance for younger generations.

Disturbing factoid from this story: In a recent poll, three-quarters of American Christians answered that the saying "God helps those who help themselves" is from the Bible. (It's from Aesop and later Ben Franklin--two great pagans.) As McKibben says, the American church has become way too comfortable with the "hyperindividualism" (his word) of American culture.

Occasionally I attend brown-bag lunch discussions sponsored by Duke's Theology and Medicine program; I've mentioned them before on this blog. They can be studies in well-meaning dysfunction: academically sound research projects that fundamentally miss the point; clergy and physicians talking past each other. Yesterday an MD reported on her research about trauma among missionaries, and the effects of religious orientation on post-traumatic stress as well as post-traumatic growth (a novel concept, to me). It seems to me that if you dedicate yourself to a life of religious mission or service to others, and open yourself up to experience, without overlaying expectations on it, embracing the universality of suffering, then the very potential for "trauma" shrinks, if not disappearing entirely. Anyway, several former missionaries attended the discussion, and one of them reported that one of her "traumas" was leaving Africa and returning to the hyperindividualism and isolation of American life.

No comments: