Monday, November 11, 2013

Am I called to the earth?

I was recently "googling" whether Jell-O was gluten-free, when I had a storm of thoughts pertaining to "sub-duing and taken dominion over the earth" as believers. I know, not quite your typical thought process happening here, but I can explain. It really all started when I saw someone comment about Jello-O being made from the bones and cartilage of animal matter. The person pretty much said eating Jell-O was disgusting and now that we know better we should make better decisions about what part of the animal we are eating. I found this ignorant statement somewhat embarrassing, as the person continued to talk about the savaging in Native American (better as "First Nations" people) customs, who used every part of the animal for something. "We should know better now...." she said.
I do have a point in all this. I recently have been very intrigued by Native American beliefs and customs and have been fascinated with their love for life. I have also been deeply inspired by their respect for the earth and every living thing in it. I'm NOT saying I embrace all their practices and ways of worship (all first nations tribes can be vastly different from one another). But what I am saying, is I found that they have tapped into a way of life, that is a very instinctly way of living, that we have exited out of a society as a whole - especially in the church. Native American beliefs are deeply rooted in their culture. They believe EVERYTHING is sacred, from the largest mountain to the smallest plant and animal. A lesson can be found in all experiences and everything has a purpose. To sum up Native spirituality: it is about HONOR, LOVE, and RESPECT. Not only do they love, honor, and respect our Creator and our "Mother Earth", but also every living thing. It is about being in touch with ourselves and everything around us. It is about knowing and understanding that we are part of everything, and everything is a part of us, believing we are all One. In fact, the reason why a native man would use every part of the animal was not because he was a "savage" but because he lived in harmony with creation. He wanted the living thing to only die with [full] purpose. It doesn't make sense to a native American to waste anything, because it goes against his code of honor. If it has to die, then it must be utilized in every possible way. This became their way of survival. I feel as a culture as a whole we could learn a lot from this. I have personally seen a lot of people (even in the church) mock this "organic" was of living that is starting to trend now, as if it's a new thing. But guess what? Going green, or being "crunchy" or a little "granola", or even a bit "natural" isn't AT ALL a new thing - it's a divine thing, and he's put the instinct in us from the beginning.

My question to many believers who preach and teach on subduing the earth, taking dominion, establishing His Kingdom, and bringing heaven on earth is this - what are you eating everyday? You see its really not only about getting healthy (although that's an incentive). But the bigger picture is this - how are we living in harmony with the earth? And how are we stewarding this power that we have in the earth? Are we eating and living as if we really do believe we are called to steward the earth? Isn't this how the garden scene starts in Genesis? Its amazing to me the interactions Adam has with the animals as he names each one. And, here, you have the most "humane" scene ever - everything the earth was created to produce was there, that Adam could enjoy without any striving. And the beauty of it all was beheld by him and he took dominion over this portion of earth and living beings with respect and trust. I sometimes wonder if Adam could understand what the animals were saying at this time - I wonder what they would speak to one another about. It seems to me that we were meant to be in-tune to what nature was speaking, what it was producing, and what its purpose was. "Sub-due the earth" means to "till it, to keep it" and it was one of the first things God ask of us after creating us. Seems to me that if God restored us to our original design through the second adam, Jesus, that this would hold true to us today.  “ fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion” (Gen 1:28)
Humanity has more than just our nutritive/vegetative and animalistic/reproductive elements. We stand above plants and animals as rational creatures toward which they are ordered. So, I'm not saying we should go and worship creation. But I do believe in honoring creation, we worship the Creator. In our cultural crisis, some people overreact to our separation from nature and make nature an end in itself. Nature is not a regular part of most of our lives and (some) of the environmental movement is actually another symptom of this isolation. Rather than recognizing the purpose of nature, some environmentalists hold it up as something for its own sake. Producing works of culture, on the other hand, clearly reminds us that the rest of creation is subordinate to us and is meant for us. Agriculturally speaking, planting seeds, tending plant and animal life, and harvesting give us a glimpse of God’s creation being cultivated in order to sustain and uphold us.

So what am I saying in all this? Maybe.....just maybe its not a trend, but a divine movement of us getting back to what we were created for? Is it too beyond our faith to think so? Are we called to not just love one another, but to also live in harmony with all God has put here for us?

What do you think?

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