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I <3 U

It hit me like a truck. I’m walking down the hall at my local community college, talking to my dad who, for some reason, just called me a few minutes ago in the middle of a Biology exam. I’m looking out the window at the beautiful day outside, and thinking about how wonderful it is that this is the last day of class when all of the sudden, “BAM!!!” something slams into me like a semi-truck:

Me: “What did you just say?!”

Dad: “Papa just had a stroke. He’s paralyzed on his left side, he can’t talk, and he’s in ICU. The doctors said we should see him now if we want to.  I’ll be by in about 10 minutes to pick you up so we can head up there.”

Me: “Umm…Uh…Umm…Uh…”

Dad: “You OK?”

Let me give some background: Papa (pronounced: PAH-PAH) is my grandfather. He’s a car kind of man, and he is VERY cool. He has his own sense of swag, and he could honestly put Elvis Presley to shame. No joke, Papa is just downright stylish. He’s the kind of guy who likes to go to the K&W, (where all his friends hang out) buy the most expensive item on the menu, and pay for it with a $100 bill (or “Ben Franklin” as he calls it) just ’cause he feels like it. Papa’s the kind of guy who takes his A-Model to carshows almost every other week, and always has the cleanest, shiniest car there. (not to mention that his are also the oldest) Also, to maintain his figure, he lifts weights and walks 3 miles every morning even though he’s 68 years old. Papa is truly something else. He’s cool and he’s stylish. What he’s not supposed to be is lying in a hospital bed with his chances of recovery at a lower percentage than I care to name.

But he is.

Believe it or not, this whole experience is really hard for me. But, one thing bothers me more than anything else:

You see, I never told my grandfather I loved him. I guess he’s just not one of those fuzzy people who enjoys stuff like that. I never heard him tell anyone he loved them, and so I guess I just never said it either. That bothers me, but fortunately, Papa has improved a little since he had his stroke. He’s regained a little bit of his ability to speak, and developed a small vocabulary of about 10 words. 3 of those are:

“I love you.”

Which he says a lot.

A whole lot.

Which I think is kind of nice because now he’s got me saying too.

Papa and I have exchanged that little phrase a lot since his stroke, but it’s a shame that it took something terrible to make us start using it. This whole experience has shown me that “I love you” is one of the most powerful sentences in the world, and as humans we ought not to be so shy about using it. (men especially seem to have this problem) We really ought to just tell people we love them. Many of us want to show people we love them by giving them gifts, doing things for them, etc. All those things are great and are important ingredients to a healthy relationship, but sometimes we just need to say it out loud. Those 3 words are what everyone needs, whether they want to admit it or not. Jesus showed us the importance of love when said:

“Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love.”

-1 Corinthians 13:13

That makes love pretty significant, doesn’t it? I thank God that our Lord Jesus Christ paid the ultimate tribute to love while hanging on a tree. Is it too much to ask that we show our love with 3 little words when Jesus demonstrated his with 3 nails?

I wanna make this post kinda short, and close with a challenge:

Tell 2 loved ones you love them before the day ends.

It really isn’t that hard. I promise you can do it. Just give it a try, and you’ll be surprised what those 3 little words can do.

BTW: For those that like to put a face with a name, here’s my Papa:

Papa and Memaw- my grandparents

-Coleman Parrish

Summer Vacation!!!

Well, things are winding to a close. This Wednesday will finish up my classes at the community college, and the middle and high-schools aren’t too far behind. The high-school seniors are looking forward to graduation, and the weather outside is beginning to get warmer. What time is it? SUMMER!!! (Homeschoolers, you guys will probably still be reading history books and filling out vocabulary worksheets until mid-August, and may not have ever had the experience of summer. Therefore, I have provided a cultural definition: SUMMER noun. A designated time during which most educational facilities take a break in order to enjoy the generally favorable outdoor weather. For those that aren’t sure what taking a break is, ask your mom.)

Summer is great, isn’t it? It’s a time filled with bike rides, playing video games for weeks on end, hanging out with friends, and our favorite activity of all… DOING NOTHING!!!

BUT, (I know this must be hard to believe) there are a few odd people who choose to do other things with their summer vacation. It’s kind of weird, so brace yourself:

Grayson and Ken helping to build a church (this is on a mid-summer mission trip to Mexico/Texas)

Some of you guys might know this girl (this is also on the trip to Mexico/Texas)

My sister, Lakyn, volunteering at a local nursing home

Ok. You can probably guess what my point is. These guys use their summers for something useful. They’re proactive, whether that be by volunteering their service and time, (which is what they’re doing in these particular pictures) pursuing their passions, (sports, music, etc.) or working a job to put a little money in the bank. They’re doers, and because of that, their summers consist of more than trying to accumulate imaginary property on FarmVille, and fooling around on Youtube (which, honestly, is all most people ever do).

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with video games, and hanging out with your friends, but PEOPLE, come on. We’ve got like 3 months of freedom, and we choose to do nothing but “chillax.” It’s pitiful.

The natural response, then, is: “Ok. I can go with that- we should use our summer vacations to accomplish something. What could I possibly do, though?”

Well, anything other than nothing. I’m not asking you to roam through the deserts of Mexico, sharing the gospel with everyone you meet. I’m just asking that you actually use your summer to accomplish something. Volunteer at a hospice center. Help the people around you. (Maybe there’s an elderly couple that live on your street who need some yardwork done, but can’t do it themselves?) Learn to play an instrument. Learn to play a sport. Get a job. Learn a skill like woodworking or metalworking. Read books (now there’s an idea for you). Just accomplish something with this time that you’ve been handed. PLEASE!!! I BESEECH THEE!!!

Now, believe it or not, I have just one more thing to say: Your summer is an excellent opportunity. Plenty of musicians have learned to rock over summer vacation, a lot of tradesmen wouldn’t be where they are if they hadn’t spent their summers in the workshop, and a surprising amount of work can be done by kids volunteering their service over the summertime. Your summer vacation can be a time of significance, or it can be 3 months of nothing. Your choice. I leave you with a simple question:

When you go back to school, and people start asking you, “So, what did you do this summer?” do you wanna tell them you did this:

https://i2.wp.com/cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2009/08/504x_halo3maps.jpg

Playing HALO 3

Or this:

Marc doing something meaningful

-Coleman Parrish

Like Little Children (in faith, that is)

Hello world! Well, if you thought you logged in to read the Coleman Parrish blog and were expecting to read something by Coleman Parrish, well, you’re in the right place at the wrong time. I think he’s going to post a short bio/introduction about myself in a bit (if I finish this post before it gets ridiculously late, anyways), but until then, I suppose you’ll have to stick with my own introduction.

Reader, meet myself. Myself, meet reader.

With that out of the way, I’ll do a quick background run-through on myself. My name is Keith Anderson, and I am a friend Coleman’s. That being said, we hang out a bunch. With the advent of this blog, it has recently come to my attention that Coleman is a very proficient writer. I think it has something to do with the very large number of books he has read and continues to digest. If I may be so bold, parents, make your kids read! Kids, read! Personally, I was once homeschooled, just like Coleman, and I had to read quite a bit as well. At the time, I didn’t really take to it. The book (or shall I say workout weight) David Copperfield comes to mind. If you’ve ever had to read that book (or even seen it on some book shelf somewhere), you know that it is one massive blob of paper thicker than some Bibles. In eighth grade, reading about Uriah Heep and his sinister stigmas was not the ideal way to spend a warm spring morning. But in retrospect, every time I think about good homeschool memories, David Copperfield comes to mind. By reading that book, I learned to love reading. Not that I learned to be raptly enthralled with Dickens’ novel every time I sat down with it, but by being made to read something of that caliber and magnitude, I learned to make the best of reading and to force myself to enjoy the occasions. The many, many occasions.

I suppose I could end the post with that and call it a wrap, but that isn’t where I’m hoping to end. Like I said, Coleman is a very good writer. But sometimes very good writers find that time for very good writing is scarce. Given his busy schedule, he has asked me to assist him in writing for his blog. This is still Coleman’s blog and will continue to be so until I make him change the name of his site (I’m just kidding! I have no desire or plans to stage a coup of his blog). I am simply here to help him write and keep posts coming. Yes, we both are busy individuals, and life may prevent us from delivering a steady flow of posts. But as Proverbs says, a chord of three strands is not easily broken. Right now, I think this “chord” has only two strands, but you get my point. My style of writing is different from Coleman’s, so each post will naturally be different. I simply pray that you enjoy and maybe even learn something from my online scrawling. So without further ado, my first “scrawling:”

 

A while back, I began my own blog. Given the fact that I have no known followers or readers (and the slightly more crucial fact that I have only made 2 or 3 posts), you can see how that is turning out. In the few posts that I did publish (and the one or two that remained an unpublished draft), I wrote about events in my life that taught me various lessons. From praise team practice to school, life is full of lessons to be gleaned and, more importantly, shared, if only we take the time to realize that we are learning them. While the focus of Coleman’s blog is on his perception of world events and how he sees the Bible address these different topics, for this first blog I want to focus more on a lesson life has taught me. Or more correctly, that God has taught me, and is still in the process of pounding it into my thick head. And this lesson has come to me in the boisterous and vibrant form of Michaella, my little sister. She is such a wonderful little package of joy who is almost always smiling and happy. Almost always. And when she’s not, well, you know about it. But I love her to death, and wouldn’t trade her for anything.

Michaella has some odd ways of behaving around me, and this is where the lesson comes into play. Whenever I’m leaving for work or school, she always yells out “Hug kiss, hug kiss!” and comes charging down the hallways for just that: a hug and kiss. A second mannerism I’ve noticed with her is her trust she puts in me. The other day, I was helping her climb a tree, and she wanted to climb by herself. She made me let go of her and be content with just watching as she fiercely clung to the branches. Finally, she decided it was time to get down, and she announced as much. So I held out my arms, but instead of gingerly lowering herself into them, she just kind of plummeted, surrendering herself to gravity and just falling into my arms. When I carry her down the stairs, too, I’ll hold out my arms for her. And again, she just plops into my arms, trustfalling face-first right at me from the top of a large flight of stairs! I keep thinking “Girl, it’s a good thing I pay attention to you when you’re near the top of the stairs because otherwise…” Yeah, I usually stop there and just pay attention.

But as I’m constantly catching her and dolling out dozens of “hugs” and “kisses,” a lesson has been worming its way into my mind. In Mark 10:15, Jesus tells his disciples that “anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” What does it mean to “receive it like a child?” Well, I think Michaella has answered that very well. She has absolutely 100% trust in me, knowing in her mind that I will catch her if she flings herself off the top of the steps. She has not once backed away from that jump. A child doesn’t know any better. A child often does not realize the consequences of a failure in the arms of the catcher. And even if they do understand, they are still willing to risk possible serious injury and discomfort in order to get closer to the one who is holding out his arms. See the connection?

Jesus asks us to trust in him time and again throughout the Bible, telling us to “Cast all our cares upon [me}, for [I] care for you.” Are you willing to jump out in 100% faith and trust that his arms will not fail you, just like a child? What is he asking you to do that you need to just fall on him for? Maybe you don’t understand why he’s asking you to come, just like Michaella may not understand why I want her to get down from the tree or why she needs to go downstairs. But I know, and I have a reason for her benefit. Does God know, and have a reason for your benefit? The answer begins with a “y” and ends with “es.” So what’s holding you back? Coleman’s last post was about this same topic I think. Dedication. Who’s number one to you? Once you let go, God will take you to heights you never dreamed of. I promise. And better than that, HE promises!

I think there is one other reason (at least) why Jesus asks us to become like children. Children desire their parents. They run and yell for them as they leave for work, begging for one last “hug kiss!” They love their parents, and they don’t care who they wake up as they scream for their mommy and daddy. Are you that attached to God, that no matter where you are, you will run and scream for God, and you don’t care who hears it? Am I? Last point I’ll make. God not only wants us to decide whether or not we want him badly enough to run to him, but once we figure that out in our mind, he expects us to start moving and run to him. He is standing there, holding his arms open to us. He calls us to decide if we’re dedicated enough to run to him, and then, if we are, to act upon that dedication and run.

 

Revelation 3:20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”

-Keith Michael Anderson Jr.

Who’s that new guy?

Well, we’re growing in a big way. Today, I unveil to you a new COLEMANPARRISH blog site. A site which now includes intelligent discussion as well my mindless dribble. Today, my friends, we welcome a second blogger:

Keith Michael Anderson Jr. (wild applause)

Mr. Keith is an 18 year-old high-school senior who is… well, I’ll just come out and say it, the eldest of SIX CHILDREN! (that’s a lot of kids) Honestly, whenever I want to have a party, I have to seriously consider, “Do I have enough food for this?”

Being natural-born Brazillians, his family could probably apply to be recognized by our government as “an indigenous tribe” and get some kind of reservation blocked off for them, where they can “live in peace with the land, and follow the lifestyle of their ancestors.”

But, I’ll stop picking on Keith about his ridiculously large family, and tell you a little bit about our new writer: (I convey the following information with complete seriousness. So, If anything looks unbelievable or weird about this guy, I swear it’s not a joke. It’s the gospel truth.)

Keith has been a close friend of mine for several years, and as I’ve gotten to know him, I’ve seen the well of truth and wisdom that this guy possesses. Truly, he’s an inspiration to me as he continues to draw closer to the Lord, and impact those around him. You should begin to see this as he starts posting, but he’s just one of those guys. You know- the 1 guy in a 1000. The kind of person who walks through the thunderstorm of life with a little patch of sunlight shining around him everywhere goes, using it to brighten the lives of everyone fortunate enough to come within 10 ft. of him. And talk about a passion for Jesus Christ… this guy’s got it. Trust me, if you’re looking to burn a couple of hours, ask him a question about Jesus! He’ll get rid of them for you, guaranteed!

Anyway, he’s not dead yet, so I’m gonna get off all the gushyness. Keith is an aspiring youth minister, (He’s not  completely sure yet, but that’s one of the main things he’s considering.) he plays the drums like mad, and he has quite a way with words. In fact, he has such a good way with words, that I may not let him stay here long. But, for the time he is here, I promise that he will bring you some laughs, some thoughts, and some truly remarkable wisdom.

-Coleman Parrish

What’s Missing?

Well, I got dunked last Sunday. (Non-rednecks: that means baptized) After researching and digging for the past couple of weeks about what it really means to be a Christian, I decided that something was missing from my walk with Christ. So, two Wednesdays ago, I talked with Pastor Kevin, “nailed things down,” and decided to be baptized. (Don’t know who Pastor Kevin is? tall, bald, and pinstripe suit. That ought to jog your memory.) You’re thinking, “Great! But really? You weren’t saved? Knowing you, that’s kind of hard for me to believe.” Well, thank you- I appreciate the compliment! The problem, you see, wasn’t that I’m not a nice guy or that I didn’t know about Jesus. The issue was something that’s missing in a lot of today’s “Christians.” What was it? Well, here’s a good way to look at it:

Me: “Random girl, I am now officially married to you. I mean…I don’t have documentation, a ring, or your permission. Honestly, I don’t really even know you, and we’re definitely not going to live together. But, I love you. So, anyway we’re married now. Aren’t you just bursting with joy!?”

Random girl: “Oooooh! This is the best thing that has ever happened in my ENTIRE LIFE!!!”

Me: “Of course it is. Anyway, I’ve got to go… I’m taking my girlfriend out for dinner in about 30 mins. By the way, thanks for marrying me! I’ll seeya later!”

Here, I’m missing much the same thing that my relationship with Christ was lacking. In a word, it’s “dedication.” You know what “dedication” means: Being committed to something. Earmarking yourself for a cause. Or, if you’re someone who likes being redundant, (like the dictionary) it means, “The state of being dedicated.” (duh)

What does this word bring to mind? Well, athletes are dedicated to their sport, the Marine Corps to protecting America, professional musicians to being the best they can be, businessmen to their jobs, and Justin Beiber to wearing awesome shoes all the time.

A lot of people are dedicated to a lot of things, right?

However, what we don’t realize is that EVERYBODY is RADICALLY dedicated to something. Not just a little bit- radically. We all have a passion.

My question to you then, is, “What is your passion?”

Do you dance?

Do you paint or sculpt?

Do you play sports?

What do you do?

What should you do?

Look at what the Apostle Paul says:

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.”

-Philippians 1:20

That’s passion on a whole new level. Paul ain’t messin’ around. He’s put his full trust in God, and we can see that he backed up this statement with the rest of his life. In Paul’s life, Jesus is #1. That’s what Paul does.

Now, I want to make it clear that there’s nothing wrong with hobbies and passions. Your job and your hobbies are actually one of God’s gifts to you. So, you SHOULD spend time on your hobbies and vocation. My point reaches beyond that. I’m trying to get you to look at your life as a whole: your time, you resources, your thoughts, your emotions, and everything that makes up who you are. People won’t die for their hobbies. People won’t even die for their beliefs.  They, like the Apostle Paul, will die for something they’ve put ALL of themselves into; something that’s truly consumed them.

Life is like a buffet bar. There’s a lot of things we can choose to put on our plate: ham, fried chicken, green beans. So, most of us amble up to the bar and pick some of everything. A little of this, a little of that. It’s just a smorgasbord, right?

That’s what we think.

God doesn’t work like that. He won’t come in second. We think we can stick a spoonful of God beside our job, our hobbies, or our dreams and goals, but God isn’t fooled by our facade. God doesn’t want to be a side-dish on your plate. He wants to be the gravy in which EVERYTHING else is thoroughly soaked.

This is where most of us trip up. We’ve heard about God. We’ve heard about Jesus. We know in our heads that he rose from the dead. We believe all that stuff. The problem is that we haven’t really taken the next step, and dedicated ourselves to him. The simple truth is that God doesn’t just want you to be saved. God doesn’t want you to know stories about his Son, and go to Sunday-school every week. What God wants is a profound, deep, intimate relationship with you. A relationship that means everything to you. A relationship that is best described as love.

So, the question begs to be asked: Do you LOVE God? Really?

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

-John 14:15

This is one mark of a Christian- that you follow God’s commands. Yeah, you’re gonna mess up. BUT, you get back up again, and you try harder. The stinger for me is this simple question: “Is my absolute highest desire to follow God with my whole life, and keeping nothing for myself, put EVERYTHING I am in his hands?”

If you can truly answer yes to that, (and not just because you know it’s the right answer) then good. Keep it up.

If not, then I encourage you to do some research. Dig deep within yourself, and ask God to help you find out what you truly believe, and who you’re truly living for…now. Yeah, now. Like do that right now. Why? because nothing else in your entire life matters more than this. Nothing. You better get this one right, or you’ve got hell to pay. Literally. (And, as a side-note, your whole life will be totally meaningless and wasted)

That’s kind of depressing, isn’t it?

The  positive flip side is this: The God of the universe wants to be your friend. If you want to be more than just an average, religious person, and you’re willing to lay down EVERYTHING at his feet, he’ll take it. He’ll stick with you in the thick and thin, and even when the going gets tough, he’ll fill your life with purpose, focus, and intention.

So, I close with a question: “Are you content with being average, or do you want it all? Do you want to dedicate EVERYTHING to a purpose higher than your own selfish ambitions? If so, understand the consequences. There’s no stepping back. It will be hard, and warming pews isn’t in the job description. The rewards of true, total dedication, though, are more than you can even fathom. (that’s a lot)

-Coleman Parrish

“The Games” Have Begun

What games? You know what games. You know exactly what games. I’m not talking about Scrabble here. I’m talking about some serious stuff. These are “The Hunger Games.” (Silent and intense pause)

Now, if you haven’t heard about “The Hunger Games,” then call me: I know this really nice guy with a bulldozer who specializes in boulder-removal, and I’m certain he’d be happy to remove the one you’re living under as soon as he can fit it into his schedule.

But just in case, for some odd reason,  you’re drawing a blank about “The Hunger Games,” (anyone over the age of 60) the moral point of HG is to exemplify the dangers of totalitarian rule, and the blindness that accompanies being desensitized to violence. (If you want to understand this post, and not get laughed out of town the next time you go out in public, then I suggest you know a little more about HG than this)

Anyway, for those of you who like to live above ground, are boulder-free, and know something about HG, I have some stats I’d like to share:

-When”The Hunger Games” opened a few weeks ago, it earned the 3rd place title for the largest box-office opening in history. Let me say that again: In the history of the world, this movie ranks number three in its box office opening.

-It hasn’t slowed down. 10 days after its opening, it had made a total of $251 million, and it’s still going, fixing to kick some “Twilight” butt.

-The two above points are amazing

So, the question I want to ask is, “Why is everyone going to see ‘The Hunger Games?’ What’s so special about this movie that has America falling hook-line-and-sinker for it?”

I will answer this question. I promise. But, before I do, I want to address a problem: You may be wondering why I’m asking the above question at all. Why am I psycho-analyzing America’s craze for some stupid movie that happens to be out right now? Well, just open your eyes and look around. This movie is BIG, and pop culture (Movies, music, clothing- what America likes) is ultimately the manifestation of America’s heart.

“Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.” -Proverbs 4:23

Yeah, that means everything. In today’s American culture, that especially refers to the clothes we wear, the music we listen to, the places we go, and YES, the movies we support. The ideals America holds can be seen in pop-culture more than anywhere else. That’s why I think it’s important to continuously research pop-culture, and HG is no exception.

Many believe that HG has attained such a high level of popularity because of it’s touching, stirring plot. I’ll be the first to say that HG is definitely a masterpiece of storytelling. It’s deep, probing, and it makes you think. But, really, is that why all the tweens and teens are rushing to see it in theaters? Really? The same teens who despise English class, and who aren’t sure, but think “Wuthering Heights” might possibly have been the secret lair of Harry Potter’s evil nemesis, are hooked on HG because of its masterful storytelling, and the depth of its spiritual probes? If so, why not read “All Quiet on the Western Front?” Or go crazy over the movie “Tears of the Sun” instead.

We have schoolteachers loading their students on buses, and taking them to see HG as a field trip. The novel that started it all has suddenly become an overwhelmingly popular topical study book for middle and high schools all over America. Millions are reading the book, and even more people have seen the movie. What are we accomplishing, though? Nothing! Frankly, we’ve fooled ourselves into thinking that HG is so morally deep and grabbing that it will change America’s perspective and teach us a valuable lesson. Sorry, but it’s going to take more than HG to turn our country from the path of Rome. (The Bible might be a good place to start?) Unfortunately, the moral points of this movie are largely over our children’s heads, and it is they who are flocking to see it. To put it simply, American teens aren’t being effecting by HG‘s well-meaning, though understated, message. We love HG for the shocking violence it portrays- which is rather ironic since that’s exactly what its message is supposed to be against. Our feverish, cultic love for this movie is scary, especially since we can’t even see that it displays much of what lies in America’s heart.

We could justify it by saying it’s just another violent movie. It isn’t that bad, and maybe America will learn something from it. It’s just violence. What’s the difference between Star Wars or Batman, and HG?

The problem lies here: storm troopers getting fried by space blasters, and Batman laying the watooey on a bank robber are one thing. Graphic images of teenagers murdering each other with knives, bows, and their bare hands is another. Also, unlike most action movies, the “tributes” aren’t fighting a war- they’re killing each other in a sick game. This too, we could excuse if it were used to pay respect to the moral point of the story. Candidly, though, it isn’t. Without truly emphasizing the moral points of the story, (Which, as I said, we have definitely NOT done) our society is desensitizing and corrupting the minds of children by so strongly supporting this film. (and others like it)

Now, I have just one more thing to say. (This is going to sound completely counter-intuitive to this entire post) If you want to go see HG, and don’t see anything wrong with it, then do. I’m not going to stop you. (not that I could) But, my word of caution would be to keep yourself from being sucked into the wild side of it. AND, don’t come to me saying what a deep, paradigm-shifting experience it was to watch this stirring film. Also, before you leave for the theater, I want you to take a look at this verse one more time:

“Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.” -Proverbs 4:23

Note the first line. Now, do that.

-Coleman Parrish

BTW: Just wanted to note that I have done my homework on HG. I have extensively researched the movie online, though I have (of course) not actually seen the movie or read the book.

Tree Huggin’- Recycling and Environmentalism

“SAVE THE TREES!”

“Would you want your home bulldozed? Neither does the red-eyed tree frog. Stop deforestation.”

“GO GREEN! We’re hurting mother earth!”

“RECYCLE FOR THE FUTURE!”

We’re exposed this kind of rhetoric all the time- on TV, on the radio, in magazines, even on our cereal boxes. This onslaught of information is pounded into us 24/7- it never stops. We can’t even go to the grocery store without banners and signs all over the store practically begging us to “Make a Difference. Save the World. Use Recyclable Bags.”

The idea behind this movement we’re seeing is called “environmentalism.” It began in earnest in the later twentieth century with organizations like Greenpeace. The idea behind it seems positive on the surface. It focuses on having compassion for suffering animals, and taking responsibility for our natural resources. Since its beginning, it’s grown and expanded as a wide-spread movement, and recently made great advances in American public life. It’s slowly crept into power with pushes for recycling, eco-friendly housing, and other forms of propaganda.

But ultimately, that’s all it is. It’s only the rhetoric of a left-controlled media. It’s just the lies of a bunch of crazy, long-haired hippies who can’t see a difference between your brother and an African tree monkey. Quite simply, these tree-huggers need to make it right with Jesus, and get a true view of nature and its significance. Environmentalism is really just a load of trash- and not even a kind that can be recycled at that.

Is it, though?

Really. Think about it for minute. That’s honestly what we believe. We as Christian conservatives are prone simply to write off the whole environmentalist movement as a leftist craze. Sure, we’ll let recycling go, but beyond that, we’re not exactly the environmentalist movement’s greatest supporters. We hear pleas from organizations like WWF to save endangered species, or send a donation to support a project to remove trash from the ocean, and we generally think “These guys are just confused- they don’t have a proper view of nature. If God wants to clean up the ocean, he will. It’s his earth, anyway. He’s got it all under control.”

Yes, that is exactly right. God will take care of the creation he has made. He made it originally for his glory, and has no intention of letting the world be destroyed until after his return when He builds a new heaven and earth. However, I’d like to point you to a particular verse in the Bible:

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”

– Genesis 1: 26

Did you see that? God said to subdue the earth and have dominion over it. Now, I want to clarify something here. I think we’ve run away with the word “subdue” in this verse. Yes, subdue in this case means to rule over, but not in the Julius Caesar sense of the word, if you know what I mean. Yes, we are to be the rulers and dictators of nature. We are to cultivate the ground, use animals and plants for food, build civilizations, and essentially, exercise an undisputed monopoly over the nature and its faculties. However, I think we’re only paying attention to half of God’s command. “Having dominion” and ruling over the earth also carries with it the job of caretaker. To put it simply, we’re the gardeners of God’s earth. Yet, for some reason, we seem to have had a disconnect somewhere.

So, with respect to Christians abroad, environmentalism isn’t just a crazy leftist movement. In fact, it’s something we must support in order to fulfill our job as caretakers of the earth. Now, don’t misunderstand what I’m trying to say. Many environmentalist groups are, indeed, a little confused, and we can’t go along with everything they say. Also, we are certainly allowed to use creation for our benefit. We can hunt, fish, cut down trees, and use the resources of the earth we inhabit. We are intended to enjoy creation. But, in the long run, we are a gift to nature just as nature is God’s gift to us. Would a good gardener cut down all the tomato plants in his master’s garden, and throw trash all over the cucumber vines just because he was permitted to use them for his own benefit?

Now comes the question: Are we doing a very good job as gardeners? My answer to you, with respects to this essay’s topic, is no. Animals are going extinct, rainforests are disappearing, and non-recyclable trash is being dumped everywhere. We like to pretend there isn’t an issue, and that environmentalists are just making a mountain out of a mole hill. But frankly, we need to call U-Haul, and move out from beneath the rock we’ve been living under.

Our greatest issue is recycling. If we don’t reduce the amount of trash dumped on mother earth, animals will not have undisturbed habitats, our planet will become unhealthy, and our natural resources will dwindle. Jaymi Heimbuch of TLC.com states that fourteen billion pounds of trash is dumped in our oceans each year. That’s a lot of trash to interfere with wildlife, and disturb our clean saltwater. The remarkable thing about that number, though, is that it doesn’t even include the trash dumped on land each year. We as humans make a big mess not only with recycling, but with a lot of other environmental issues as well.

That’s not really our problem, though, is it? Most of us aren’t big-time supporters of environmentalism, but we don’t usually get in the way, either. Most of us may even recycle aluminum cans and plastic bottles. That’s all fine and well, but I believe that we’re called to do more. We need to support (That is, “Bear all or part of the weight of; hold up.” -Oxford Dictionary Online) the environmentalist movement in its goals. No, we cannot accept some of the beliefs and agendas of some naturalist organizations. But, on the whole, Christians should be a great supporter of the environmentalism concept, especially in recycling. We should do more than simply throw our empty Coke cans in a bin marked “Aluminum.” In a word, every Christian alive should be activist in support of promoting a healthy earth.

The next obvious question would be, “Ok. If, with the exception of a few misguided thoughts, environmentalism is good, then what should be done about those who refuse to ‘go along’?” As I said earlier, the main issue within environmentalism is recycling. Choosing not to recycle will have some very adverse effects on our environment if it continues. The government has already stepped in and made laws against littering; fining and sometimes imprisoning offenders. Being that we have no other universally recognized source of authority, this is really the most reasonable way to handle it. We must take care of the earth, and to be blunt, we can’t allow those with no vision to stop us. It is, indeed, wrong for the human race to trash mother earth, and if fining those who can’t see this truth is the best way to prevent further damage to nature, then so be it.

To put a wrap on this, we as Christians don’t support the environmentalist movement as we should (especially in recycling, though it is only one small part of the issue). We have forgotten our God-given responsibility. As the caretakers of earth, we should be promoting recycling, conservation, and other environmentalist ideals, and punishing those who insist upon littering, and other irresponsible acts. No, we can’t accept some underlying environmentalist beliefs, (especially those relating to evolution, the universal brotherhood of all nature, etc.) but we need to come along side our well-meaning friends, support their drive to take care of the earth, and perhaps we could make a change for the better. If we as Christians were to act like that in all areas, we might be able to change more than just eco-responsibility. That sounds vaguely familiar: opening the minds of the general “religious” populous, and radically impacting the world. I can’t say for sure, but I think I’ve heard about a guy named Jesus who did that once.

-Coleman Parrish