Posted by secondchurch on February - 1 - 2017

Thoughts from Pastor Mark

“Each and every one of us has one obligation, during the bewildering days of our pilgrimage here: the saving of his own soul, and secondarily and incidentally thereby affecting for good such other souls as come under our influence.”                                                 ~ Kathleen Norris

Salvation: noun

  1. the act of saving or protecting from harm, risk, loss, destruction, etc.
  2. the state of being saved or protected from harm, risk, etc.
  3. a source, cause, or means of being saved or protected from harm, risk, etc.
  4. Theology. deliverance from the power and penalty of sin; redemption.

The biggest threat to my salvation is me. Most of the trouble lies in the things I think about. And the things I think about often lead me to regretful action, behaviors, and more troubling thoughts.

It was silly of me to think that, when I accepted Christ into my life as Lord and Master, things would get better or become easier. The fact is that things got more difficult. I don’t operate as much from impulse. I think and pray long and hard before I make most important decisions, hoping that what I am doing would reflect the love and grace of Christ. I fail so often because so many of the things I say and do fall short of that goal.

I often think more about how I will be affected than how others will fare. This is especially true when it comes to buying stuff. Every dollar I spend has a ripple effect. And the greatest effect is the carbon footprint that my expenditures make upon the planet and atmosphere. Because we are a consumer society, I am like the average US citizen who produces about 20 tons of carbon a year. Yes, 20 tons of carbon! That I spew 20 tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year causes me fear and trembling.

My Christian faith and the call to love my neighbor as myself compels me to think about how I spend my money and how much I spend because every dollar has a social cost and an environmental cost, in addition to a financial cost.

I am tired of hearing evangelical Christians say that Jesus forgives their sins and then they go on doing the very thing for which they repented. They’re theology of cheap grace dissociates them from responsibility for their actions and the costs of their actions.

How can we be forgiven for heating up the planet as we have? How can we be forgiven for using more than half of all oil deposits that took billions of years to make in just 100 years? How can we be forgiven for melting polar ice that is killing not just wildlife, but entire ecosystems around the world, even human ecosystems?

I do believe that, with God, all things are possible. I’m just not sure that I should be forgiven and let off the hook so easily. I’m responsible for my salvation, especially when my actions affect so many others.

If it seems like I am stewing about this, I am. If it seems I am confused, I am. We should stew and should be confused when our global sisters’ and brothers’ salvation is at stake.

Please pray with me and for me: Lord, help me live a lifestyle that is fitting of a Christian disciple. Help me learn to simplify, to drive less, to spend less, and to love my neighbor as myself, including my global neighbor and those not yet born. Those are the ones who will bear the brunt of my lifestyle. Amen.

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