This article was originally posted on The Orbiter Magazine
According to the Pew Research Center, 75 percent of Americans are “particularly concerned” about the environment, but only 20 percent of Americans say they actually live in such a way as to improve the environment on a daily basis.
While some might be confused by these numbers, they make perfect sense to this pastor. My favorite response to the critique that “the church is full of hypocrites” is this: “It’s not full of hypocrites. There’s always room for more!”
In this way, I consider myself the chief of all sinners. I find no shame in admitting that I am a theological hypocrite, regularly failing to live up to the moral ideals I have for myself, but I continue pressing onward towards the goal anyway.
Likewise, I am also an environmental hypocrite. I have seen the facts and figures. I have wept at the thought of the world that I will leave for my children and grandchildren. I have marched with the protestors and shouted at legislators, demanding that “they” change “their” ways. I have ridden my high horse into battle, but I also drove my car less than a mile to church on Sunday instead of walking because I didn’t want the rain and wind to mess up my hair before church.
It is so much easier to be outraged at wasteful plastic packaging than it is to stop buying it altogether. We in the church are seasoned veterans at this kind of mundane hypocrisy, and we have invented a beautiful tool to help us to become the people we want to be. This tool, which is shared by all religious traditions, can also help us to bridge the gap between who we are and who the planet needs us to be.
This tool is ritual…
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