“You’ve got to assume of men and women initially,” he stated in defense of however an additional blatant assault on the atmosphere in the name of creature comforts.
I was stunned to hear this cynical, reductive, and (self) destructive philosophy from an old buddy who identified himself as a Christian and who was proud of his documented Native ancestry.
To him, the collapse of ecosystems, climate-connected crop failures, catastrophes, and unprecedented species extinctions have been justified, if not needed, sacrifices for even additional human use, profit, and exploitation.
Considering of “people first” strikes me as the ultimate primal state of humanity. Who amongst us does not take into account their personal status, security, or situation prior to everyone — or something — else? What else has been the precursor to each and every war, each and every empire’s collapse, each and every partnership implosion?
The initially, and most likely most complicated, transition for each and every infant (and lots of adults) is to acknowledge the innate worth and necessity of these outdoors of and beyond ourselves. This conversation reminded me of a single of the lots of forgotten Christian acronyms – JOY: Jesus, Other people, Oneself. This abbreviation is way to preserve in thoughts not only the priorities a believer should really embrace, but which draws the particular person of faith ever deeper and stronger into an ever-renewing faith. And JOY is what tends to make that faith ever additional strong and attractive, if not irresistible.
This is the Excellent News the globe desires. Not additional comforts, conveniences, and distractions, but additional integrity, humility, sacrifice, and compassion.
“People first” becomes all also simply “my men and women initially,” and sooner or later “me initially.” This philosophy, a single could argue, led Adam and Eve to choose that forbidden fruit.
When each and every species — from salmon to bees, to elephants and butterflies — only acts as maw for the fury and appetites of men and women, and each and every landscape from the Everglades, to the Amazon, to glaciers suffers at our hands, we have clearly lost our way when it comes to the Genesis mandate to care for creation.
In Genesis, men and women are clearly NOT the initially point God “thinks” of. Individuals are produced on the sixth day, and they are commanded to “think” about — and care for — the rest of creation. It was their failure to place the desires of creation ahead of their personal that led them to rationalize the decision that led to the Fall.
Our divine calling is nothing at all much less than the restoration of our original location in God’s creation. Absolutely nothing is additional revolutionary or healing or critical or accessible to every single a single of us.
But if your intention is to justify each and every act of predation, violence, exploitation, dehumanization, slavery, abuse, and destruction, I can assume of no greater philosophy than “think of men and women first” to prioritize one’s men and women, one’s desires, one’s impulses, one’s fantasies and one’s appetites.
Having said that, our main biblical mandate is to care for creation and by performing so, honoring our Creator. Our core identity, according to Genesis, is to care for and participate in creation. The produced globe should really be enhanced by our hand upon it.
We violate God’s command, our personal location in creation, and our partnership with each and every living point when we abandon the divine order and place our personal will above God’s.
But I do have an understanding of the appeal of “think of men and women initially.” It has that irresistible hiss of Eden’s slithery tempter as he tends to make the argument that will win each and every time: “Do it for oneself. You deserve it. You can be like God. You are greater than these men and women.”
What could be additional eye-catching, even like heaven, to some than conquest without the need of consequences, ravaging and defiling without the need of judgment, murdering and assaulting with eternal impunity? It is heaven for some and hell for lots of.
However, no philosophy will make us additional miserable, make additional toxic relationships, and leave us ever additional dissatisfied — no matter how lots of toys or conquests we obtain.
Producing ourselves the center and objective of God’s creation is humanity’s favored and most compelling heresy. Absolutely nothing else tends to make us smaller sized, emptier, additional destructive, and additional worthy of our personal destruction — and additional eager to perform for it.
Human arrogance and self-destruction defines our history. But honoring God’s calling on our lives and placing God and all of creation ahead of our personal fantasies of energy and manage, defines our fullest destiny.
Like the most foolish of kids, we have exchanged our enduring glory for vanity and empty promises. You’d assume we would have discovered by now. But no, that initially temptation nonetheless sings for us.
“My will be done” is the slogan of the rapist, the bully, the molester, the despot, and the trafficker. Its plural kind, “Our will be carried out,” is the rallying cry of the imperial invader, state-sanctioned murderer, and colonizer.
But “Thy will be done” is the theme of these who restore, shield, and lift up other people. The ones who seek out the broken — not to exploit, but to heal. And in that healing and restoration, discover their personal.