Monday, March 21, 2011


Perhaps the one pagan virtue"admired today by Christian & non-Christian alike is a love for the environment. It is the new trophy. Organic clothing, whole foods, vegetarian diets all point to a resurgence of interest in the earth as mother. Interestingly, the environment is not necessarily equated with nature, per se. I did not say that more people are in touch with nature, because they are not. They are afraid of it. Global Warming and related environmental concerns are the New Apocalypse of the post-modern. 

The flip-side emphasizes a hatred for mankind and his institutions. The Reformed Church itself has wrestled with its own version of the dilemma in its heated discourse between organic and institutional governments. Which is preferable? Which is more Biblical? I believe that the problem can be answered this simply: is cultural advancement necessary? If so, then man-made institutions are indispensable vehicles for cultural advancement. 

There is so much talk about the organic church or the church in Acts, when in reality Acts is chronologically the infant church. In Acts they had problems with witchcraft. In Acts they had problems with segregation. In Acts they had problems with elitism. In Acts they had problems with incest. And all of these problems were within the Church. Rewinding the clock back 2000 years would be like making a meal of seeds. Seeds are meant to grow, to produce flesh, to produce flavor, to thrive in different environments. Fruit is more enjoyable and more filling than seeds. 

Outside and inside the Church the environmental problem is a red badge of courage for people, who like Atlas, carry the burden of the earth upon their shoulders. For those of us who do not believe in the 20th century version of Apocalypse, the burden is upon us to plan for the long-term. Taking into consideration that God moves people all over the earth, I think that our immigrant friends should be taken as seriously as our concern for the environment. 

It is as if we stand upon the mountain of civilizations that preceded us, shooting at the entire edifice upon which we are built. It is easy to talk about Protestant Reformational ideas, because all of that is in the past. Hindsight is 20/20. You must understand that what comes after polytheism is authoritarianism as sure as I am standing here, because there has to be institutional development for even the semblance of culture. One of these days we will look back on the laxity of the post-modern world and consider it to be a time of upheaval, yes, but also one that experienced immense freedoms. You are living in an era where so much is in flux, you can give definition to the institutional forms of the next forty years! There has to be organization! Proponents who suggest no institutional form are either advocates for the new dictators or they will become the new dictators. Civilization with no institutional form surely is death. 

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