Saturday, June 03, 2006

Community And Compassion Combined With Sustainability

For far too long now, Western culture has been obsessed with valuing persons by the jobs they hold and the so-called "wealth" they create. This form of "wealth" is nothing of the sort if it uses a finite supply of materials that are never replenished to the point where it will become unsustainable in some future time.

If one hundred years from now our civilization falls and people are dying off like all the creatures we have killed and driven to extinction, and all the plant life we have utterly destroyed, what "wealth" is there left for our descendants? For that matter, will we even have descendants if we continue on our present course, or will we have "consumed" our way into extinction or close to it?

One can argue that rapture is imminent, that the return of Christ will happen any day now, so that none of our actions matter. Still, who does the proponent of such a position think that they are, to know the mind and timing of God so closely that they are willing to destroy all that He created and charged us with caring for without any concern at all? Worse yet the utter arrogance of trying to hasten the hand of God through attempting to create what one believes the signs of Revelations to be.

God will walk this Earth in judgement in His own time, and not a single human being living on it shall he consult.

It is our responsibility to "keep the house clean" in anticipation of his arrival, not to act like terrible teenagers having a party while the parents are away!

It is necessary, correct, and utterly appropriate that people of all faiths rebuild community. It is beyond overdue that we re-examine the beliefs of our "tribe" and find ways to make our local communities as sustainable as possible.

Mankind has built upon traditional methods, improving upon them for millennia. It is time we recognized the need for a new paradigm in how our communities are structured.

Part of the Christian faith is the call to charity and kindness to others. Part of sustainable community is reaching out to all in the community to bring them to a position of self-sufficiency. It is time to re-define charity, from a simple act of giving just enough to those in need to the true charity of raising them up through education and mentorship to the point where they can not only sustain themselves, but to where they can assist in sustaining and improving the communities they live in.

Critical to such an accomplishment is understanding that we must value everyone as a human being before we value their skills of production. This can not be stressed enough. No one can easily succeed in an environment where they are looked down upon and despised like so much garbage in the street.

Even those who have committed grievous misdeeds and can find no self-worth in their history need to be encouraged to look forward, to see that there is an open path to contribution to society and community that can make their future more valuable than their past. One can be changed and the other can not. Rather than being a burden on society, they should always be faced with a path to redemption of their future through education, skill, and effort, even f they must be confined for lack of ability to control mis-behavior.

Additionally, the good works they do manage to accomplish should be recognized and they should be taught that they can contribute things of worth even if their failings must be prevented.

There are all levels and kinds of people, all are capable of bringing something to the table in some way, even if they are not necessarily the ones to find that path. It is up to us to show true charity, and seek to enable the finding of their path to community contribution and worth as an individual through latent innate talents they may not know they possess.

Perhaps, if we value everyone as a person before we value their skills, eschew looking down our noses at them and help lift them up while providing them with the most basic needs of survival, we can prevent many of the mis-deeds that arise from a belief of negative self-worth even if we can't prevent those that arise from a true sickness of the mind.

To me, modern society has forgotten to much too great an extent the knowledge that healing a wounded heart is as important as healing an injured body, and utterly disregarded that wounds of the heart should be prevented by a societal norm of kindness and respect rather than the all-too-typical smart-aleck "I got a cut-down in on you and that makes me better than you" attitude.

Community is NOT a collection of buildings, factories, schools, hospitals, and parks. It is a collection of souls acting in the mutual interest of all while respecting the needs both body and heart of each member.

The society that does not retain this critical part of its collective soul is un-sustainable before its material actions are even considered.

The society that is based on love and respect for both its members AND its environment is the society that will last the longest, perhaps even until God decides it is time to visit us in person.

Entire civilizations have fallen through simply forgetting this critical piece of understanding, and our own is teetering on the verge. Which course shall we choose?

No comments:

Post a Comment