Friday, June 26, 2020

This is not normal

No One Must Be Left Behind
Dennis Testerman, PEC Moderator

“Affluenza, n. a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.” 1

“We cannot go back to normal!” So reads a poster held by a youth member of XR Youth Charlotte in a photo of a virtual protest posted on social media. Back to normal? No way! Because “normal” has not been working. Not for people of color. Not for the millions living in poverty. Not for endangered species facing (the 6th) extinction. Not for a warming planet dangerously close to the point of no return due to a changing climate. Who can argue that materialism, militarism and racism--and now COVID-19--are not infectious diseases of our time that must be addressed if there is any hope of healing for the land?

Like many churches and organizations, Presbyterians for Earth Care continues to engage with the intersectional issues of this moment in time through an ongoing, intentional process of action and reflection. We strive to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Faced with unprecedented choices between life and death, we choose life. Earth care at its best is health care.

Twenty-five years since our founding, Presbyterians for Earth Care’s commitment to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion remains rooted in the core belief that all Creation is good. Our strength as humans is in our diversity. Each and every one of us is fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14). And the best measure of wealth on the planet is the rich biodiversity all around us. This one, precious earth is beautiful and bountiful.

As people of faith, we can return to our creation narratives for reminders of why we are here. According to the biblical creation narratives, we are here to serve and preserve Creation (Gen. 2:15). We are all created to be essential workers. Not unemployed. Not underemployed. We need all hands on deck. No one must be left behind. No one.

Earth care at its best is also self care. And so we spend our days these days birding. And gardening. We enjoy feasts for our eyes and for our mouths. We plant trees. And native plants. And heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables. We transform lawns into wildlife habitats and foodscapes. In the process, we build topsoil and increase organic matter by composting and mulching. And we do this work alongside children and youth, ever mindful of future generations that are also our neighbors.

And finally, in this election year, we advocate. We vote. Most of all, we hope.

1 John DeGraaf, David, Wann and Thomas H. Naylor. Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2001, 2002.

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