Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sabbath in Seattle? Don't Travel on Sunday... For the Earth's Sake

Ah the false religion of environmentalism. It not only has penance/monetary indulgences (carbon credits), restrictive dietary laws (organic only thank you), a fiery apocalypse (global warming), and works-based righteousness ("look at me, I bike to work"), it now is test-driving strict Sabbath observance of sorts:

As part of his ongoing effort to get people out of their cars and green up Seattle, Mayor Greg Nickels on Wednesday announced a series of "car-free Sundays" in August and September.

Although the program is starting small, by closing a street in three different neighborhoods on consecutive Sundays, Nickels said the effort could expand next summer if it is successful.

"Neighbors will have three to six hours to experience our streets in a new way and to see how livable a city can be when people drive less," Nickels said. "This is our chance to experiment and to evaluate how these events work for people. And we'll be fighting global warming at the same time."

Bracing for expected criticism, Nickels advised drivers to take it easy.

"It's just for one day, just chill. Get out of the car and walk," he said.

Yikes. While I'd like to see more people easing up on Sundays and spending the day in worship and rest, I don't think Caesar is the guy to enforce it. What's more, shutting down streets to vehicular traffic is overly burdensome on families and individuals, including and especially those traveling to and from the house of the Lord.

That said, Christians in the Emerald City and everywhere really can consider practical ways to show care for the environment, not because we "belong to the Earth," but because "the Earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof" and God tasked us with its care.

Perhaps, for example, more of us should consider car pooling with other families from our churches on Sunday mornings.

Even so, the church must always point out that any and all things done by Christians individually or corporately to benefit the environment are ultimately done as worship to a holy God that is coming back in the person of the risen Jesus Christ to judge sinful men and women, and that no amount of environmental do-gooding or any do-gooding can earn or merit salvation from his just wrath against their sin.

As God's people let's do good to all people, and take good faith efforts to steward God's creation. But let's not forget nor forget to preach that this world's greatest need is not greenhouse gas reduction, but the forgiveness of sins which comes to sinners by grace alone through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone.

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