Just because it’s available, doesn’t mean you have to take it

It’s incredible how often, at least for me, the profound manifests itself in the mundane. Yesterday I was faced with one of those life-altering challenges; the type that changes everything. Having already eaten two of the danishes, one apple and one raspberry, nearly a half-dozen lay on the table before me. A quick surveillance of the room led me to conclude that no one had their eyes set on the treats. As someone who unashamedly will admit to a love of eating, the biggest question initially on my mind was whether #3 would be of the apple or raspberry variety.

Quick venue background: I was at the University of Michigan Friendship Collaborative workshop (which, by the way, I’ll write more about soon). Some great scientific minds were there, including, but in no way limited to, Carl Safina of the Blue Ocean Institute and Ricky Rood from the Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences (AOSS) department at the U of M. Also present were a number of local and regional evangelical leaders, including my own pastor, Ken Wilson. Why such a gathering? In a nutshell, to try to form friendships that will act as bridges of communication between two groups of people that are so often unfortunately polarized. Because there are people in both camps with great zeal for the cause of environmental stewardship, I think we can find common ground.

Part of the presentation that struck me was concerning prudence. Prudence is a word that often comes across as old-fashioned or novel at best, and regulatory or curtailing at worst, and this coming from an evangelical! Webster’s dictionary gives four definitions for the word. I’ll focus on two:

1. Skill and good judgment in the use of resources

2. Caution or circumspection as to danger or risk

Concerning the first definition given, does this mind you or anything? Perhaps Genesis 2:15? “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it (NIV).” As to the second definition, what if there’s even just a chance that global ecosystems are in peril, as most scientists tell us they are? It seems we would be exercising prudence to account for that possibility. What do we have to lose by being open about caring for God’s creation? Putting the two together, perhaps it would be prudent to make good use of our resources, at the risk that they may run out. I’m talking about coal, oil, natural gas…

As for the danishes, it wasn’t easy, but I decided two was enough for me. If only the big decisions never got harder than that…


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