Staying aboard the RMS Queen Mary is proving to be quite an adventure. Since there was no business until afternoon on Friday I decided to spend that morning exploring the area around the ship on foot in order to feed my bird watching addiction. Heading toward the bridge across the harbor, the first thing I encountered was a dog show. As I strolled along the harbor side walkway carrying my binoculars and spotting scope, I had to step to one side allowing an obviously local biker to pass. He had to weave and slow to navigate the dogs and their humans, muttering “[expletive] dogs!” Then, as I nearly stepped in a smelly brown “present” left by one of them, I shared his sentiment. I observed the obsessive behavior of the gathered humans watching and judging the genetically engineered creatures. It is not that I don't understand an obsessive attraction toward animals since I was thrilled to then get great looks at Clark's Grebes, Elegant Terns and Black Oystercatchers. But the creatures I was admiring were free and unfettered and, for the most part, left alone by humans. That is not to say that they were free from human impact. Indeed, I was on my way to see an exceedingly tiny sliver of wetlands habitat that had to be recreated by humans since all the original wetlands had been dredged or filled to create Long Beach harbor and port for human use. This pathetic postage stamp of territory was filled with detritus and neglect was evident in the graffiti and disrepair of the signage trumpeting the restoration effort. The contrast between the excessive care shown to domesticated animals and the near-thoughtless table scrap neglect shown to their wild counterparts could hardly have been more stark.
Multiple resolutions here at General Synod 29 are addressing environmental concerns. From the grand scope of divestment from fossil fuels to the more specific issue of mountaintop removal mining, we are being asked to look at the impact of our actions and the connections between all people and all of creations. We are likely to make a statement against mountaintop removal and I hope we are brave enough to make the bolder statement about divestment, but in all these issues we MUST consider our personal action and our individual perspective as we consider our relationship to creation. When you think of creation, in your imagining is it something dangerous to be tamed or is it something wild that calls to you as a brother or sister?
If we need creation and creatures to be domesticated like the dogs at the show, we are not as likely to take the bold initiatives required of us to save the creation. If we are not willing to sacrifice for the Snowy Egrets the same way we have shown that we are willing to sacrifice for a Whippet or a Beagle, then we are at serious risk of not stopping the rushing vehicle of our own creation before it hurtles off the cliff of climate change and environmental destruction. I know how I will vote on the resolutions. I don't know if we collectively have the resolve to take the actions they will demand of us. I pray that we do.
The Rev. Ian Lynch is the Pastor of the First Congregational Church UCC in Brimfield.