I blame California.
Well, not the entire state, mind you, just the state of mind. The groovy, granola, tree-hugging, protesting state of mind that outsiders often see as over the top. I don’t dislike the Golden State. Not at all. California is a beautiful country filled with lots of great people. It’s been a leader in the nation on environmental matters for a long time. So long, in fact, that a stereotype has formed around the state; a green, neo-hippie stereotype. That stererotype is what I’m talking about.
You see, often when I mention that I’m writing a book about the environment, I get met with skeptical expressions. I can almost see the walls going up. The listener starts to worry that I’m going to try and convince them to buy a composting toilet or that I’m going to make them feel guilty for the size of their carbon foot print. I understand. Lots of people have been turned off by environmentalists for reasons like those. People of faith often dismiss all that “green talk” in large part due to the decided difference in their perspectives. From a faith perspective, the environmentalists seem extreme, Godless, and combative; never satisfied with the efforts that are put forth. From the environmentalist perspective, people of faith seem cavalier or indifferent about environmental issues. They are viewed as being egocentric; seeing the earth as their possession intended purely for their consumption and not caring about the consequences of their actions. As a result, both groups have reasons to be cautious when listening to my message. But neither of those descriptions are accurate or descriptive of me.
The reality is that those attitudes are obstacles I have to overcome in my ministry. In order to get my message across, I have to reach out to those who have been burned by activists and to others who have embraced creation but have forgotten the Creator.
The good news is, nearly every audience I have spoken to has come away educated, entertained and inspired to be better stewards. There is no guilt involved and everyone is appreciated for where they are on their journey.
So, I guess my point is, don’t be scared or intimidated by little ole me. Think of me as a friend who is sharing her latest find. In this case, the “find” is a new perspective and, hopefully, some inspiration. Oh, and don’t blame California. All those other states are just jealous. 😉