I've been energized in the last few days over a number of small conversations I've had about eco-stewardship. Last Thursday at an ELCA clergy gathering, I talked with one pastor about energy audits, another about helping PoP launch our community garden (it's coming!), and a third about how to reduce the number of disposable plates our churches throw out.
Today was the latest. At a lunch of inter-faith clergy on Route 28, a rabbi invited us to be part of their new Community Supported Agriculture group. An episcopal priest mentioned that they're exploring environmentally-friendly land use.
And last night, the Greater Washington Inter Faith Power and Light (GWIPL) was the most powerful. You'll likely read more than one blog entry about it.
GWIPL held its annual fundraiser at Adat Shalom, a synagogue in Bethesda that was built with green principles. All the wood is renewable; all the carpeting is from recycled materials; the thermostats are programmable; the whole parking lot is peppered with trees.
They even incorporated the structure of the house they otherwise would have razed to put up their building. So they have a fireplace in a hallway. It works. It more than works. It is gorgeous.
Touring that space, I though about how these little encounters point out a path that I've been on for some time. As a toddler I ate dirt. That's true. As a 9th grader I wrote an essay about deforestation in Brazil. In my early 20s I stopped in the middle of rollerblading around a lake, so strong was my daydream about a pan-Lutheran environmental group. And it's come around again, this call to environmentalism.
I pinch myself that I was called to a congregation who wanted to mobilize around Creation Care. It is a tremendous blessing.
The best part of all of this has been the solidarity I feel with the Eco-faithful. Often we hold common values beyond our care for creation. We share a sense of global solidarity; a desire for community; a love of simplicity; a longing for inter-religious partnership (at one point last night an Imam and a Rabbi hugged - that doesn't happen everywhere); a scientific curiosity about the world; an openness to the spiritual life. In these groups I feel at home.
At the end of last night, I chatted with a woman I'd never met before. The conversation started with environmentalism but went to bicycling and exploring Shenandoah nat'l park and the books we've both been influenced by and the retreat center we both love.
The world shrank a little bit in that moment. I felt good. I felt alive. I felt connected to a God who is full of possibility.