What the heck?

My search for a life that makes sense basically began in the fall of 2006 when I read “Serve God Save The Planet” by J. Matthew Sleeth.  Okay, okay, so the title of the book is a bit presumptuous, as if the planet really needed saving anyway.  The planet can handle itself, but the planet as we know it is in a pretty desperate situation right now.  Thousands of species are becoming extinct each year, the diseases of civilization are becoming more rampant, the air in our cities is harmful to breathe, the water in our lakes and rivers isn’t safe to drink, our population is increasing, our capacity to produce food to feed the growing population is in question, fossil fuel supplies are running thin, and apathy is taking over the up and coming generation.

So… back to the book and what it has to do with anything.  Basically the book is a guy calling out Christians and saying that they are doing a terrible job at living up to the first command that God gave to man in the Bible: to care for creation.  Hmmm, okay, so if I’m going to be a Christian, I have to care for creation?  Yes, I do.  So, what the heck does that mean?  Well, I could go on for a long time on the details of what I think that means, but basically I think it means that I need to love.  If I love, then I will care for creation, I will care for my friends, I will care for my enemies, I will care for my neighbors, I will care for….everything.  So, how the heck do I care for…..everything?  Well, I first needed to realize that everything that I do effects everything else.  If I wake up in the morning, that has an effect on everything else.  If I spit on the sidewalk, that too has an effect on everything else.  If I build a huge bomb and blow up a million people, that effects everything else.  The first two examples have a small impact, the third has a really big impact, the point remains the same: everything that I do effects everything.

My big question starts there, how does my life effect everything else?  If I am going to live a life of love, a life of compassion, a life of meaning, a life with lasting impacts, then I need to really think about how my life effects the people and things around me.

When I first asked myself that question I was working at my first job after graduation from Purdue University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.  My job was Mechanical Engineer at Valdes Engineering Company, a mid-sized engineering company based in the suburbs of chicago serving the oil industry and other process industries in the Chicago area.  I was making a lot of money, I had a nice apartment, a nice car, a lot of friends, I was involved in my church, my family was nearby, I had everything.  Or did I?  I had everything but peace.  Everything that I had made sense from the perspective of capitalism and of western society, but it didn’t make sense to me.  My job helped to provide people with fossil fuel energy and things.  The money that I earned provided me with things.  But did I really need these things?  Did these things make my life any more enjoyable or better?  Did these things leave a positive impact on the world?  No, no, no.  If I didn’t need these things, then why did I have them?  If they didn’t make my life more enjoyable or better then why did I use them?  If these things didn’t leave a positive impact on the world, then why were they even made in the first place?

So many questions… would I ever find any answers?  Yes, I would.


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