The E-mail Commentary from Eco-Justice Ministries
A Whole New World
I hear people speak of being in a "whole new world" since September 11.
It is not just a matter of the astounding number of people who were killed on that morning. We entered a new world that day because key elements of how we have understood ourselves were dramatically shaken.
+ + + + +
In some ways, the grief and the confusion of this new world seem very familiar to me.
14 months ago, I founded Eco-Justice Ministries because I believed that "the world had changed" in profound ways, and that the church was not well equipped to minister to -- or even recognize -- the new issues and needs of our day.
The new world that I have seen taking shape was not born in a few moments of terror. It has taken shape over decades. And because the transformation has been gradual, we have seen the signs of change without understanding or coming to grips with their implications.
The new world that many of us have seen taking shape over these years is defined by trends that we know about, including a globalized economy and spreading environmental disasters. The questions and uncertainties raised by this new world are exactly the same as those raised by Terrorist Tuesday.
+ + + + +
As our world changes -- whether by terrorism or by the growing crises that are evident with an eco-justice perspective -- there are some core questions that we all must ponder. For if we are entering a new world, then we should try hard to enter it with our best values and purposes in mind. The questions that Eco-Justice Ministries has been raising for the past year still are pertinent for this new time of turmoil.
If the world is changing, then it is especially important that we in the church bring our moral and philosophical expertise to raising and wrestling with these questions. As new institutions, power structures and cultural standards take shape, we have an opportunity and an obligation to guide our society toward the most just and sustainable options that we can find.
+ + + + +
In the absence of honest, thoughtful and probing reflection, the new world that takes shape from the War on Terrorism will be born out of the largely unexamined values and expectations that are already driving the crises of social justice and the environment.
The current mood in the United States leans strongly toward patriotism and "standing united." Raising questions about our values and power structures at this time will be difficult. But it is precisely at this time of shifting programs and priorities that such core questions need to be discussed. The decisions that are made in the next few months will shape national and global options for many years to come.
I pray that the Christian church around the world, but especially in the US, will see beyond national loyalties and the comfort of familiar lifestyles. I pray that we can use our trusted and respected position in society to shape the debate about what this new world will look like. And I pray that the church will always hold up the faithful vision of justice, peace and the integrity of creation.
Eco-Justice Ministries * 400 S Williams St, Denver, CO 80209 * Home Page: www.eco-justice.org
Eco-Justice Ministries ended all programming on July 31, 2020. This site is an archive of writings and resources.
To contact a representative of the agency by e-mail, please use the contact form