kindom musings

Thoughts and musings from a pastor in the peace tradition. Perspectives come from a progressive, justice-minded, feminist position. Responses are welcome.

Name:
Location: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States

I am a Church of the Brethren pastor in my thirties. While I love what I do, I started out with plans to be a veterinarian. God has a great sense of humor, and I wound up in ministry instead. However, my sojourn into veterinary science did make me a vegetarian with a love of animals. (We have two cats and a dog at home -- only a small petting zoo!) My husband is also ordained, and we have a son (LB) and a daughter (KB). My husband keeps me up to date on baseball trivia, and my children keep me giggling. All in all, it makes for a well-rounded life. I was born in Pennsylvania, moved several times for school and work, and have recently returned to my home state. On the Myers-Briggs scale, I'm an INFP.

Friday, September 15, 2006

How much room do we need?

The local newspaper has printed several letters to the editor that talk about population growth. They began with someone alarmed by a lack of population growth and people becoming an endangered species. When someone challenged his assertions, he responded that Americans are not doing enough to contribute to world population. What began as, what seemed to me, an "out-there" but relatively benign opinion, suddenly felt similar to Aryan nation rantings. "Illegal immigrants" were described as if they were lesser humans, some sub-species that didn't really count in the total count of people.

It bothers me to think of the arrogance required to believe that born and bred Americans are some kind of superior version of human life and that growth in other parts of the world, particularly among those who may have vastly different cultural norms, would be a threat. If anything, Americans are among the worst energy consumers in the world. We already live comfortably on the backs of many less-developed nations.

To drive this message home, I recently took a test on my ecological footprint ( www.earthday.net/footprint/info.asp ) I try to be mindful of what resources I use and make choices that lessen the stress I put on the earth. According to the website, there is enough usable land for each person to have 4.5 acres. The average American footprint is 24 acres. When I got my results, there would have to be over four earths to sustain the current population if everyone lived as I did. It's humbling to think about. For all my efforts, I still make choices that decrease the well-being of others on the earth. If not for concern for the planet, a theological leaning pushes me to do something about it. A line from a song by Joseph Helfrich goes, "I will make a difference in my world... She has given me her hungry, her tired, and her poor, and I will stand upon their backs no more." It makes me think intentionally about the choices I make and the elbow room I demand as I move through life. No answers right now... only thoughts to consider.

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