Kindling Neighborly Connections between People and Nature.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Standards of Living and of Life

Due to my limited perspective on the world this is a reflection on United States standards of living. That being said, I'm aware of and thankful for viewers who represent a great diversity of other countries and cultural contexts around the world. I wonder if there may be themes here that resonate on a global scale or whether most of it may be seen as applying to some national and cultural contexts and not others. Either way, welcome!




                Life in all kinds of places. Life in oceans, rivers, lakes and streams! Life in gardens, parks, fields and forests! But look at a place of human habitation and you will also see steel buildings, concrete roads and other structures and creations of human culture that are built to resist change, last forever, or offer instant gratification.  

               There is a significant dichotomy that stands between what we call the natural world and much of what we call human culture. What does this mean for us? What does this mean for our future? What is illustrated here most profoundly is the difference between what life depends on and what the current U.S.  standard of living depends on.

                Life depends on diversity, change, growth, transformation, and death. In death new life is born into a dynamic ever changing world that is subject to perpetual transformation.  Thank God for life!

                The current U.S. standard of living depends on trying to make things last forever, resisting change, striving for instant gratification, and chemically or genetically modifying living things. Life has never depended upon these things that our standard of living depends on.  Our standard of living depends on infinite amounts of fossil fuels being brought up from the depths of the earth. Our standard of living depends on roads and buildings that are made to last forever. Our standard of living depends on products that keep us looking and feeling young as long as possible. Our standard of living depends on isolating ourselves from the natural world because we do not want to be subject to change, we refuse to acknowledge the reality of death, and we only want to allow as much biodiversity into our lives as we feel comfortable with.  

But life depends on diversity. Life depends on change. Life depends on growth and transformation and death. Life depends on love that expresses itself in care and appreciation for all living things, land and resources. Life depends on all responsible human beings stepping outside of ourselves to take in the bigger picture of life that encompasses all the earth, of which we are an integral part, within which we have an important role to play. 

               When our standard of living is at odds with the diversity, change and transformation that life depends on we cut ourselves off from the beauty and goodness of the life that surrounds us in a cold embrace of a stagnant way of living that can only end in the death of our true humanity, the death of the life-giving people God desires us to be.

                Can you see what a life-giving standard of living looks like that acknowledges the value of all life, human and otherwise? Can you see what a life-giving standard of living looks like that expresses care and appreciation of all living things, land, and resources? Can you catch the vision? Can you feel the hope? What does it mean for your community? What does it mean for you?

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