“You might say we are blinded by our measurements. As a result, when the economy experiences a recession or a crash, next to nobody questions whether the system itself is sound and sustainable. The only question is how to get it growing again at its pace of extraction, consumption, and destruction. About this consumptive way of life, the economist Herman Daly has said, ‘There is something fundamentally wrong with treating the earth as if it were a business in liquidation.’
Sadly, many religious communities, especially within Christianity, have by and large been chaplaincies to this destructive, suicidal economy. With a few rare exceptions, we have baptized it as “Christian,” and we have been rewarded handsomely for doing so”
“belief-system Christianity keeps us arguing about our beliefs and singing songs about evacuating to heaven while the earth burns. Greedy and exploitive politicians and their corporate allies could not ask for a better partner in crime.”
—McLaren, Brian D. The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion Is Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian (Kindle Locations 2355-2361, 2410-2411). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
These two Brian D. McLaren quotes help me put my finger on seeing this in a larger context of “The Church being the Church” and getting serious and practical about SAVING the world. Only , as Brian points out, our concept of “saving” has become so dominated by an “up and away” theology (a concept for which he credits Diana Butler Bass).
So many “Millenials”, the group to which I hear a lot of attention being paid by people who wish to help improve the Church’s image, are a group who overwhelmingly identify Ecological Concerns as their number one concern, by a rather large margin. This wold seem to suggest strongly that it behooves the Church to seriously explore how it can be a force for real salvation; a salvation that actually saves us from something very real, and very much tied up with WHY we are where we are in this unprecedented epoch called the Anthropocene.
Humans have made a mess of things, in short, and salvation does indeed require repentance from the false story our civilization has been telling us. It is going to require a similarly epochal shift in our theology, of a deeper magnitude than even the “original” theological Reformation (or at least the one most people think of when they hear the word “Reformaiton” in a Church context: that being the Protestant Reformation, historically pointing to the posting of Luther’s 95 theses to the door of the Wittenburg Church Nov.1, 1517). Most Church historians point to this event as instigating the beginning of the Reformation. We now have a new Reformation to insitigate (or , perhaps, to join, since much has already begun to move across the world, aided in no small way by Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato Si.
It’s maybe significant that this comes on the heels of 500 years of “Protestant Reforming” that the Pope helps instigate an important, even more so, a REQUIRED Reformation (or a “recovery”) of Christian theology around our existence as a whole creation, which shifts us AWAY from the individualism that pervaded much of the particulars of the Protestant Reformation. Many of those were important shifts toward an independence from some increasingly corrupt practices by those in ecclesiastical power. But now we have a crucial need to recover our sense of INTERdependence. The time is now.