Christianity and the Anthropocene – Part 1

anthropocene

The Priest and Prophet in the Anthropocene

Introduction

           While scientists and geologists struggle to process the data and keep up with the implications of our rapidly changing planet, publishing bleaker, updated timetables, the minister, functioning in the roles of priest and prophet, must struggle to discern his or her faithful response. This minister must be able to cut through the unspoken cultural blind spots, and name inconvenient truths. These truths are not merely liberal or conservative political talking points, but truth for the minister is tied to the Truth and Reality of the Living God. The minister therefore, doesn’t give voice to partisan human talking points, but seeks to give voice to The voice; to speak humbly and courageously and carefully on behalf of God as best they can. If discerning the reality and will of God was not difficult enough, using limited words and symbols to help others to catch a glimpse and vision of the divine is doubly hard, and prophets and priests of the Hebrew Bible frequently employed song and symbol, poetry and performance, in order to try and communicate to their community; to try and shake them from their slumber and awaken them to Reality according of God.

            What follows is a poetic attempt to do just that around the subject of the Anthropocene, laid out following Brueggemann’s three part structure of reality, grief, and hope, including a psalm, a song, and finally, a prayer:

Part 1: Reality

The Death of Unreality Begins with the Reality of Death.  

How can our culture ever hope to be honest about its relationship with the planet and with others when it can not be honest with itself about this most fundamental of truths?

 

All that is born,

will also die.

 

We have done our best to sterilize, anesthetize, and compartmentalize death.

We have euphemized it and dressed it up, only willing to faintly glimpse the reality of death in the passing of a famous celebrity that we have never met, or on the silver screen with the help of a poignant soundtrack and a stubbled Hollywood hero to help the medicine go down.

 

We have almost convinced ourselves:

if we can sacrifice enough on the altar of Technological Advancement,

if we can pay a large enough tribute to the gods of Science and Bio-Medical Research,

if we just accumulate enough wealth to afford the latest treatments,

if we can torture one more of our animal sisters,

if we can strip the earth of just the right resources,

then,

we will be the generation that can finally cheat death

and become what we have always secretly hoped to be:

 

No longer dependent on God,

but Fully Gods in our own right.

This denial of the very reality of death has created an ideology where anything and everything will readily become sacrificial lamb so long as it prolongs the life of those with the means to pay for it. But even more than that, if we can not process the reality of death and make peace with it, then we can not make peace with the boundaries and limitations inherent within creation itself; we become unable to look past the Self as our subconscious screams out in horror, expressing itself in a billion distorted ways, as it struggles to make sense of that which it can not even dare to speak of.

All the while, the planet groans under the weight of humanities desperate drive to avoid the unavoidable.

 

For the death of unreality,

the prophet must proclaim the reality of death.

 

A Psalm of Trust in Death

 

Oh Death,

Who shall separate us from Your touch?

You wait patiently

For your children,

For You are Trustworthy,

Faithful,

And True.

 

Oh Death,

Who among us will be denied your embrace?

Sure as the rising sun,

Steady as the mountains,

You will never leave,

Abandon,

Or over-look.

 

 

Oh Death,

How long must we run from your embrace?

For You held

Even the Messiah

In your loving arms.

 

CLICK HERE FOR PART TWO: GRIEF

Trackbacks

  1. […]             What follows is a poetic exploration around the subject of the Anthropocene, laid out following Brueggemann’s three part structure of reality, grief, and hope, including a psalm, a song, and finally, a prayer. Part 1 is available here […]

  2. […] of reality, grief, and hope, including a psalm, a song, and finally, a prayer. Part 1 is available here, part 2 is available […]

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