Matter matters as much as spirit, contrary to some thought in early Christianity. Matter was considered by some to be evil, while spirit was good. Contemporary Christian theology urges us to recognize and celebrate the reality that everything that exists is interrelated. What I do in my relationship with creation affects your ability to be nourished by and enjoy your environment. My friend Polly grew up in Eastern Washington in the farming town of Colton. She has lived most of her life somewhere east of the Cascades mountain range. Today the magnitude and urgency of fires that rage there came home to her. I share her letter as an invitation to all of us to take creation-centered spirituality seriously.
This morning I heard that Tonasket was evacuated because of fire danger–the whole town of Tonasket–a town where I spent a week while I taught vacation summer school in Oroville, living in the convent of the Dominican hospital in Tonasket. This town is evacuated because of the wildfires in the Okanogan. These places are not just names on a map, They are places I know. A Colville tribes person asked for prayers saying their reservation is burning. Also, the whole Spokane Indian Reservation is under a warning to be ready to move because of fire danger. This is getting closer to home and to the homes of people I know.
Meanwhile our air is smokey, our sun gives an eerie orangish glow, I go to my car and find particles of ash on my windshield. And since I’ve started writing this even the valley below my ridge has filled in with smoke.
But the coal trains keep on rumbling by with their multiple cars shipping coal to the west and likely into Canada on its way to China. And the black tanker cars carry their highly volatile oil to the west coast to refineries where it will become gasoline and other dangerous global warming producing products.
The drought and fires wouldn’t have to be. We in our state wouldn’t have to have had the hottest July on record since 1890 when records first started being kept, and our whole planet wouldn’t have to have had the hottest July on record. But we keep on drilling for oil and natural gas and keep on burning coal. I sob with heart-break for all this destruction that wouldn’t have to be.
Photo Credit: http://q13fox.com/2014/07/17/heart-wrenching-photos-fires-burn-houses-memories-in-twisp/