In some places the Christian doctrine of creation is a matter of serious controversy. Some people maintain that the opening chapter of the Bible has to be treated as a literal (almost “eye-witness”) account of how things began. But the ancient writers would not understood such questions. The evidence of their eyes showed them this marvellous world, and one (or perhaps several) of them wrote a great poem to celebrate God's wonderful work. Their concern was to establish that everything that exists came from God - the "how" of it was of no interest to them - and then to teach us our human responsibility to care in God's name for what He has entrusted to us. I find it curious that many of those who are adamant that we must accept the Bible-story as literal truth seem often to deny global warming and show little concern for the limited nature of earth’s resources.
But that is a concern for all of us. We might argue about the exact nature of "global warming", but almost all scientists agree that there are observable changes in our climate which raise serious questions about the future of our planet and our way of life. Our use of fossil fuels and our greed for energy play a part in what is happening, and while the pundits argue, serious damage is being done to our environment - unless we take positive action to change our habits.
Energy use is an issue which involves us all. What can we do to limit the damage we are doing to our world? It is a huge problem, but solving most huge problems usually involves lots of individuals doing little things, and then pressurizing people in power to take what might seem unpopular decisions. How could we use less electricity or gas? New light bulbs, turning off lights we don't need, turning the heating down a couple of degrees, not leaving appliances on stand-by - there are many, many little ways in which we can become more sparing in our contribution to pollution. Then there is our oil/petrol use - smaller and more efficient cars, more economical driving, car-sharing, getting the bike out for short journeys, and thinking carefully about air travel ("was your journey really necessary"”). We can all start to make a difference. Then we can call on our politicians to face up to the real issues.
The same is true of recycling. Ours is the most wasteful society in Europe - just look at all the things we throw away, which could be recycled or composted, or which we simply never needed in the first place. All this waste uses up valuable resources, which should be there for our grandchildren to use. Do you make full use of the recycling service of the Council - and why don't we urge the Council to do more to recycle things that can be re-used? In the long run it does make economic sense.
There is an old story of old Joe leaning on his garden fence as the Vicar went by. "What a splendid garden you have, Joe", the Vicar said. "What a wonderful job you and the good Lord have done to make it so beautiful." "That's as may be, parson," said Joe, sucking on his pipe - "but you should have seen it when 'E 'ad it on 'Is own".
Christians believe that God has entrusted this wonderful world to us to care for it - we have a God-given responsibility to use our planet and its richness wisely. That is the most important reason why we should take these issues to heart, and change the way we abuse God’s creation, before it is too late. MALCOLM
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About the Vicar's Letter
The Vicar's Letter has been appearing in the villages Focus magazine since August 2002.
The Rev. Peter Graham also used to publish The Vicar's Letter in the parish magazine of 1964. Please see the Vicar's Letter area for these.