Note to Self:

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A sort of churchy sort of environmental post (but not really, but maybe)


Okay. So if you've been to this blog before then you know a few things about me. One, of course, is that I like to ride bikes, a lot. Another is that I like to bake bread. And likely another thing you know about me--though it may not come across quite as overtly--is that my spiritual life is very important to me. I am a deacon in my church and am in fact attending a part-time inter-faith seminary and, if all things go as planned (fingers crossed), I will be an ordained interfaith minister this coming June. The reason I mention this is that I recently came across this suggested carbon fast for Lent, which begins next week. But I'm jumping ahead as I sometimes do. I really believe that if you are on a spiritual path (or not) it is nearly almost impossible not to care for the planet. For me spirituality and environmentalism are inseparable, as is the care for our fellow humans...no matter what background, skin color, gender, or sexuality preference. We are, in my eyes, all one people. It's for this reason I am proud to be a member of the denomination, The United Church of Christ (UCC), which is in fact one of the most liberal and progressive denominations, if not the most. Anyhow, as Lent approaches I have been thinking of what discipline I would take up (I am not in the mindset of just "giving something up" for the sake of giving it up, I'd rather add something in return, such as an activity or spiritual discipline that can enhance my inner life). Anyhow, I came across this carbon fast and thought it was a pretty good idea (though I do some of these things already). Here's an excerpt from the post...

"During this year's Lenten season, members of Honolulu's Church of the Crossroads United Church of Christ will leave their cars at home and instead walk, bike or use public transportation one day per week. They will pledge to start a garden or shop at local farmer's markets more often this spring. They will wash the majority of their laundry in cold water, and advocate on behalf of energy conservation and renewable energy policies."

Anyone, of course, can take this personal pledge. If you sign up you will get an email every day offering small suggestions to lower your carbon footprint on this planet that we all call home. Anyhow, in the event you missed the link, here it is again

Urban Simplicity.

4 comments:

lagatta à Montréal said...

I always thought your commitment to the spiritual was crystal-clear. Perhaps it is because, outside the commitment of Black and Latino church people to social justice, Christian spirituality is more associated with the right wing in the US.

As you know, the United Church is a major denomination here in Canada, and the UCC seems very similar from what I read about it.

I have UCC minister friends (a married couple) who spent many years working in Guatemala with poor Indigenous peasants there, and they actually learned the Mayan tongue, as not everyone is fluent in Spanish (unlike Mexico, where rates of schooling are much higher).

Many of these people were astonished to meet progressive Protestants, as the latter are associated with bible-thumpers from the US who hold Indigenous culture in deep contempt.

Interesting to see how people like me, who have never owned or driven a car (I live in Montréal, where this is relatively easy) can further reduce our carbon imprint. One that comes to mind is attempting to reduce the amount of produce from afar we consume, which is difficult here as winter drags on, and we need greenery. Perhaps I should do more sprouting?

Joe George said...

Laggatta,

Thanks for visiting and for your kind comments. I am aware of the United Church of Canada and have actually worshiped in one in Toronto a few years ago. The two denominations are actually in talks right now to see how they can become more affiliated (exciting). I also have to mention that I am a bit of a Canadaphile. Living in a "border city" I have been visiting your beautiful country for many years. I have been to Montreal on several occasions (though not in a few years), and Toronto--which of course is very close to Buffalo--is one of my favorite cities to visit for a brief respite from my daily grind. Anyhow, thanks again.

lagatta à montréal said...

Even closer to Buffalo, the Niagara region (on the Ontario side) has some great cycling (and wineries). That area is a warm microclimate, in particular having much less snow than Buffalo and points south on Lake Erie, due to the Niagara Escarpment. There is a fellow in St. Catharines with a practical cycling blog, http://bicyclestc.blogspot.ca/

I don't know how border guards react to cyclists crossing the Peace Bridge or the other bridges farther north, downriver.

There is a famous United Church building on Bloor near the University of Toronto, but of course many others. Yes, it would be nice to organise a "communion" of sorts.

That denomination used to be largely English-speaking in Québec, except for a few French and Swiss Protestants, but now a growing number of francophone Québécois who left the Catholic Church over gender and similar issues but were seeking a spiritual home have joined the UC, and of course there are people from the world over in it now.

Here is a good bicycle transportation blog, based in Toronto: http://www.theurbancountry.com/

Joe George said...

Lagatta,

I don't necessarily have touring bikes, per se, more bikes to get me and my stuff from point A to point B. But I have crossed the border numerous times on bikes. There is a beautiful trail that goes from Buffalo to Niagara falls (on the Canadian side of the river), which I've ridden with my son. And my favorite is the Freedom Trail which hugs Lake Erie and a lot of beaches. http://www.ontariotrails.on.ca/trails-a-z/friendship-trail

And I have seen the UC church on Bloor, maybe the next time I'm in TO I'll check it out. And James from Urban Country is a Facebook friend of mine. Small world.

Thanks again for visiting and commenting.

Peace,
Joe