Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How Green is God? Pub Theology Discussion

Tonight was a bit o' Pub Theology lite, but that doesn't mean that discussion points weren't thoughtful, and observant.

Some points from the evening:

Elizabeth made note that texts from the Old Testament such as the sabbath rest for the land, and God's call to man as caretaker over the earth seemed to mark a distinct call from God for humanity to care about this planet, and therefore it was evident that God cares. Yet, she noted that it is not as easy to find a Green theology in the New Testament. Jesus, and the apostles who write the epistles appear to aim the primary concern at our behavior toward one another almost at the exclusion of the previous OT commands which might have been somewhat more focused on caring over the earth.

Carlos had just returned from lengthy walking trip through Spain. In his discussions with Spanish farmers (mostly Catholic) he found that they considered earth safe farming techniques (organic farming, and the avoidance of over poisoning the land) to be part of what it means to live a life of Christian faith.

Adam noted that he had grown up with some particular biases which now followed into a consideration of the current trends toward a Green lifestyle. he does not own a car now, and uses public transportation. He is careful about using energy at home, and consequently has a low carbon footprint. Nonetheless, as a good evangelical he does have the opinion that there is a chronic and irredeemable problem with the world. If it is gonna burn, he wonders how much effort saving it is worth.

Now this led to a short description of different eschatalogical views by me. I quickly and simply outlined pre-millennial, post-millennial, and a-millennial views of millennium and how these worked either toward, or in opposition to developing a green theology. Without going into the discussion here, and assuming many of you readers will understand the distinctions it was observed that a pre-millennial position naturally leans away from a green theology, and since most evangelicals are of a pre-millennial disposition it is problematic for the evangelical church to develop a concerted effort toward limiting our carbon footprint.

Mary noted some of the scarier elements of the science behind global warming. We discussed the idea of "saving the earth," and playing devil's advocate, I posed the question "who or what are we saving it for?" - especially if we have a pre-millennial theological position. If its all gonna burn how can we really do anything anyway?

Carlos suggested that we are saving it for our children. Adam mentioned that if the rapture was to occur they would miss that future anyway. I ended by noting that at the very least our society believes that true spirituality cares about saving the earth for our children and grandchildren, and a church that does not care does not appear to be serving humanity. Mary had noted earlier in the evening that some of the things evangelicals believe make a green theology nearly impossible to develop.

Although the evening highlighted this fact, we were a greener thinking group than might have been discussing theological issues when I first joined this Christian tribe 30 years ago.

Friday, September 18, 2009

October Coming! Get ready to Perform!

Taking a Page from Welsh traditions, The Gathering is arranging for a series of talent competitions this October. Although talent competitions are fairly universal, they are also strangely Welsh in feel. Following the Eisteddfod model we will be organizing (or organising for you British isle types) three competitions during the October Haunted Happenings season.

1. Salem Children's Day Talent Show - Saturday, Oct. 10th 2pm to 5pm on the Salem Common. This coincides with the Salem Halloween Children's Day. Typically 2-3,000 people are in attendance. Registration fee is $5, but sponsorships are available for those who can not afford the registration fee. Children up to age 12 are eligible for this competition.

2. Beat Down Salem! Salem Beat Box Championship - Thanks to Brian Serfes for his inspiration and work in pulling this great show together. Saturday, October 17th from 1pm to 5pm. This is an all age competition for the Salem Beat Box Champ. Free Registration.

3. Ysbrydnos: 2009 Salem Bardic Competition - calling all poets, storytellers, musicians, and any combination thereof. This is the event to win the bardic staff and the title 2009 Bard of Salem. Special consideration is given to creativity, originality, and a certain spiritual je ne sais quoi. Registration is $10. The event will take place over October 30th, and 31st with the winning of the Bardic Staff taking place on the Fountain Stage at the Museum Place Mall on Essex Street on Halloween evening.

For more information on any of these competitions call The Gathering at 978-744-8444, or e-mail pastorphil at salemgathering.com. You could be the next Bard.