Deliver Us, Lord, from Cracks in Our Story

I’m inclined, when I hear the words “save the Earth,” to (roll my eyes and) replace “the Earth” with “our asses.” Why? Because, as the saying goes, “Mother Nature bats last.”

Yes, we’ve done plenty of harm to our source, and could do plenty more – but she will wipe us out, with fire and flood, drought and famine, long before we reach the point of threatening her existence. We need her to survive; without us, she’d do fine. Go ahead and recycle, eat local, ride a bike – but admit that what’s at stake is not the planet itself, but our precarious perch thereon.

However: I am wondering now (thanks to something Gregg said last night), if the question of our perch is even in play; the actions we dump in the bin labeled “Earth-savers” won’t do much for us humans, so long as the matrix they’re part of – debt-driven disconnection and extraction – remains intact.

A couple months ago, at Firestorm Books in Asheville, Gregg and I encountered some photocopied pages from As the World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial (a graphic novel by Derrick Jensen and Stephanie McMillan). I’ve yet to read the book (I just requested it from the library); the title may reveal what we really seek to save, that is, our tale of our culture as a viable, even benevolent, frame for organizing life.

Let us gather in prayer at the redemption center: May the story we live in be true; may the less enlightened get a clue and help us fix its flaws.

I’m not against eating local or bike-riding (I do resent the shadow work and corporate welfare involved in recycling). Also I find healing power in laughing at our unwitting quest for indulgences – and relaxing into the beauty and communion our story claims we’ll only gain by working ever harder.

If you liked this post, you’ll love my memoir, Mating in Captivity, in which my twenty-two-year old self enters a cult with a radical take on sex and relationships. Learn more here.

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