By Brian Nixon, Special to ASSIST News Service
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO (ANS – April 23, 2016) — What does a math professor, a physicist, a minister, two former medical doctors, a New Ager (who kept talking about “energy”), and a transvestite have in common (no this isn’t a bad joke)?
You guessed it: we were all together on Friday, April 22, 2016, to celebrate Earth Day in Albuquerque. And if there is one thing beyond this simple fact held in common, it is that we all call this floating sphere — home.
With about 20 other people, our motley crew of folks took a hike through Petroglyphs National Monument led by Dr. Lance Chilton, a volunteer Park Ranger. Joining us were roadrunners, lizards, horny toads, and a hawk flying overhead. Together, we strolled through the sagebrush, looking at rock art left by early Pueblo people and Spanish settlers from generations before.
Although I don’t know the sentiment of the other folks gathered in our group, Earth Day to me is more than a day to remember creation — as important as that is; rather, it a time to celebrate the Creator, the One who gave us the creation.
Earth Day is different things for different people, but it should be a day people of all stripes and beliefs should honor.
According to the Earth Day Network , “Each year, Earth Day — April 22 — marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.
“Although mainstream America largely remained oblivious to environmental concerns, the stage had been set for change by the publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962. The book represented a watershed moment, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries, and beginning to raise public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and links between pollution and public health.”
The article then discusses the idea behind the day.
“The idea for a national day to focus on the environment came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda.
“Senator Nelson announced the idea for a ‘national teach-in on the environment’ to the national media; persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair; and recruited Denis Hayes from Harvard as national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land. April 22, falling between Spring Break and Final Exams, was selected as the date.
“On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies.”
Concerning the environmental movement, Christian thinker, Francis Schaeffer,writes, “…the hippies of the 1960s did understand something. They were right in fighting the plastic culture, and the church should have been fighting it too… More than this, they were right in the fact that the plastic culture – modern man, the mechanistic worldview in university textbooks and in practice, the total threat of the machine, the establishment technology, the bourgeois upper middle class – is poor in its sensitivity to nature… As a utopian group, the counterculture understands something very real, both as to the culture as a culture, but also as to the poverty of modern man’s concept of nature and the way the machine is eating up nature on every side” .
Though I can’t speak for all people who partake in Earth Day celebrations, I can say that it is a time of respect—for creation and for those who inhabit the Earth—all living things.
Again, Francis Schaeffer, “The tree in the field is to be treated with respect. It is not to be romanticized as the old lady romanticizes her cat (that is, she reads human reactions into it). . . . But while we should not romanticize the tree, we must realize that God made it and it deserves respect because he made it as a tree….We believe that God made these things specifically in their own areas…The Christian is a man who has a reason for dealing with each created thing on a high level of respect .”
I like that: Christians should place a “high level of respect” for the Earth, our temporal home— until the New Heaven and Earth is ushered in (see Revelation 22). Until then, take time to thank God for His gift of creation.
For as Dr. Lance Chilton reminded us in a quote by Shakespeare (Chilton gave Earth Day quotes throughout the hike), “And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.”
God said it was “good” when He created nature in the beginning (see Genesis 1), and the sermon of nature still speaks of His glory today.
Take time today to listen.
2) Pollution and the Death of Man
3) Pollution and the Death of Man
Photo captions: 1) Pueblo Indian rock art. 2) Dr. Lance Chilton reading quotes at the Petroglyphs National Monument, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 3) Francis Schaeffer. 4) Roadrunner. 5) Brian Nixon with Dan Wooding during a previous visit to the Petroglyphs National Monument.
About the writer: Brian Nixon is a writer, musician, and minister. He’s a graduate of California State University, Stanislaus (BA) and is a Fellow at Oxford Graduate School (D.Phil.). To learn more, click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Nixon.
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