Consider how Christians might respond to a call for a blanket divestment from Christianity, inspired by a variety of things that have taken place in the past, or are taking place right now ... things that had (or have) nothing whatsoever to do with Jesus Christ and the kingdom He proclaimed, yet were done (or are being done) in His name, and in pursuit of a very worldly and wrongful pursuit of His kingdom.
How might Christians respond to such a call?
Me? My response is that a blanket divestment from Christianity is NOT
the answer ... and would suggest, rather, a reinvestment. That process
would begin with a thoughtful and considered look at Christ’s message,
and how that message – and Christ’s love – is being lived and shared by
others. Based upon that search, and upon what that search revealed
about other Christian gatherings, I would reinvest my heart and my mind,
my body and soul into where those others are gathered, and join them in
This is what
comes to mind when I read about those within the Presbyterian Church USA
who demand an immediate and total, blanket divestment of the
denomination’s investment funds from “fossil fuel producers.” I have to
ask ... is blanket divestment the answer? Shouldn’t we, instead,
consider reinvestment of those funds into responsible – even moral –
fossil fuel producers?
Before I go any
further, let me give you some idea of the context in which I am
composing this post. It’s important to the consideration – if any! –
that you will give to what follows ...
For the past 31
years, I have lived and worked in and around the city of Midland, in the
western region of Texas ... smack-dab in the middle of what they call
‘the oil patch.’ There is some cattle and some cotton in the foundation
of this community, but most of Midland today is built upon the energy
industry, and the production of oil and natural gas plays a major, even
predominant role in our local economy.
I do not work
directly for the energy industry ... though I have been happily married
those same 31 years to someone who is. As for me, I first worked in in
this part of Texas as a contract archaeologist ... but my vocation has
changed more than once with the ups and downs – especially the downs! –
in the energy industry over the past three decades. So I have also
worked as a television writer/producer, a newspaper reporter/editor, a
website/social media manager, and for the past seven years in the public
information and media office of a community college.
This has given me
a tremendous opportunity to observe the industry ‘up-close and
personal,’ as we used to say in the news business. I suggest that I
might have more insight than some others into the industry, its people,
its technology and practices, and the changes in said technology and
practices. I have seen, reported-on and learned from – to borrow a
phrase from a movie title – the good, the bad and the ugly of fossil
fuel production ... and the beautiful, as well.
Let me qualify
that last paragraph, though ... my experience observing fossil fuel
producers has been exclusively with oil and natural gas. I have no such
experience with the coal industry, and I am not qualified to comment
upon changes that may have taken place in their technology and
practices. When it comes to coal, all I have to go on are the
50-year-old memories I have of that industry – actually, the remnants of
that industry – in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area of northeastern
Pennsylvania ... which helped set my course down the environmentalism
path as a teenager way-back-when.
Anyway, that is
where I come from. Where I am going, in the weeks ahead, is to develop
my pro-fossil fuel thesis, and to suggest options for a position within
the Presbyterian Church USA that still promotes protection and
restoration of God’s creation, yet encourages responsible – even moral –
energy production that includes fossil fuels. Beyond that, I am hoping
that those options might make their way into a ‘fossil fuels
reinvestment’ overture that would be submitted to the next PCUSA General
Assembly for their consideration/approval.
Thank you for
your time in reading the above. I welcome any comments you wish to make
in the space below ... regardless of your stance on fossil fuel
production. It is my hope that this will be the start of a discussion
among those who ultimately share a common goal, a common destination ...
though for now, we may be reaching it by different paths.