Friday, July 13, 2007

And They Blessed God In The Furnace...

O, let the earth bless the Lord: let it praise and exalt him above all for ever. O, ye mountains and hills, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O, all ye things that spring up in the earth, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O, ye fountains, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O, ye seas and rivers, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O, ye whales, and all that move in the waters, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O, all ye fowls of the air, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O, all ye beasts and cattle, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O, ye sons of men, bless the Lord, praise and exalt him above all for ever.
Daniel 3:74-82
I don't know a whole lot about global warming.

I can't say that I've put a very concerted effort into understanding the issue, so I'm unable to make any really educated judgment as to how much scientific evidence there is for either the phenomenon or its most popularly proposed causes (among which natural causes never seem to be entertained). I can say this much, though: that, while I'm as "plugged in" to the main-stream media as any, and the efforts of concerned individuals are substantial; yet, I haven't been frightened from my complacency. Indeed, from my perspective (which I hope is reasonably openminded), all of their work has seemed like so much frenzied fearmongering, spattered with agenda-driven vituperations. I'm given the impression that the "Inconvenient Truth" of which I'm unable to be convinced is glaringly obvious, such that even a cursory consideration will indubitably confirm one in belief.

Oh, well, I guess I'm slow.

And as I watch their efforts - and many a kindly heart laboring amongst them - my conscience is stirred by the eco-friendly crowd. Sometimes, even, it bitters the sweetness of my joy as I watch the smoke waft from my cigar's end, knowing that it may smother a happy butterfly. If I am to be so troubled by this inconvenient truth, I wish at least that I might be convinced! But, as yet, the evidence has not gained me a supporter to their ranks, and I'll continue to puff my puros in defiance of unreasonable doubt.

I think part of my reluctance is because of the word environment. I hate the word. It is a sign of our contraceptive culture that people can say, "We have a wonderful environment," and such things, and others actually will be moved by the phrase. There's a sterility and a lack of romance in the way that environmentalists talk about the thing they're trying to protect, and that makes me wonder about motives. Is it utilitarianism? How are we to feel about these "biomes" and "ecosystems" which are so neatly cataloged without a single adjective worthy of a good poem? It cannot be true love. Infatuation, maybe. Cupidity at best. But it is not the true love of Creation that so many poets and prophets have spoken about, is it? These latter might not always have seen the Creator behind creation; but even then, they exalted creation itself as sublime: the worshipped nature in earnest. The modern naturalist isn't even a nature worshipper: he thinks nature is a mathematical chimera, a soul-less oddity born in chaos and falling back into the void with only an ostensible appearance of intelligent ordering. And somehow that is supposed to command our affection and allegiance!

Anyway, all of these thoughts came to mind yesterday morning when I came across this story over at American Papist. The news story struck me, although it's not really a surprise: the Vatican is dedicated to safeguarding the Environment. If, like me, you choose to replace that loaded yet lifeless word with "Creation," then the headline no longer seems odd or even noteworthy, but rather an obvious statement. And I'm O.K. with that. Because then we understand that our "environment" is truly ours; that it is part of creation and that it has been ordered for our proper use. We are its stewards. Thus we must make good use of it and use it reasonably. Reasonable, too, must be the means we take in order to care for Creation: they must not be disordered in their own right, or transplant human rights with lesser dignities.

Be it merely apropos or truly providential, tomorrow is the feast of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. And she is the patroness of ecology (although, I'm sure, in her native language she had much warmer ways of expressing the same idea). Let us pray to her for wisdom in our stewardship guided by knowledge of the truth, inconvenient or irksome or otherwise.

Yeah, perhaps the earth is getting warmer. It certainly feels like it, lately. Who's to blame? I blame aerosol cheese. Before the fall of the Soviet Union, we might have blamed the Russians. Before the Fall of mankind, we might have blamed nobody. We are forever looking for new alibis and placing blame for phenomena over which we might have no control, if only to distract ourselves from real problems which are our doom to counteract. Maybe God's good earth is simply heating up a bit like a self-cleaning oven to wash itself of some filth naturally accumulated from years of not necessarily improper use. The three young men in the furnace were not thwarted by warmth in their celebration of creation, however; so, neither let us despair, but lead all things on earth to praise the Lord.
Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, pray for us.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, pray for us.

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