By Tomi McCutchen
That is where I fell on the ACT World of Work map back in the dark ages of my high school career, an outlier on an official piece of paper. Given that each person’s map is linked to that person’s stated interests, I should not have been surprised. My interests always have varied widely, often surprising others in this rural, conservative area who have an “image” of who I should be because I teach college journalism and am now married to a minister.
Also, because I am the faculty adviser to my university’s student newspaper, I have spent the past 23 years being extremely private about my opinions on various hot-button issues. I felt the need to self-censor because I did not want to be perceived as exerting undue influence on my student staff.
We all know that perception is tougher to fight than reality. And I know who I am – a 59-year-old woman who loves the land and wants to make a difference in some small way.
So, on the issue of climate change, I can no longer remain silent. I am absolutely terrified of the havoc we are wreaking upon our planet, this beautiful Earth that God gave us for our home. And I am absolutely appalled that our treatment of our home has become just another political issue or salacious headline on any given day.
No more. Collectively, we must act now, but we must arm ourselves with knowledge and patience, and be willing to be vilified for our efforts, in order to try to save our world from self-destruction.
This, then, is why I am so looking forward to our time in Puerto Rico with Fossil Free PCUSA. I am deeply grateful for this time to learn – about permaculture, about restoration projects, about different environments, about an island that refused to bow to a major hurricane or clueless politicians – and thus to be the perpetual student that ACT correctly predicted lo those many years ago.
The July 14 lectionary included this verse from Colossians (1:10), “… so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God …”
When my husband and I return to Northwest Tennessee from Puerto Rico, my hope is that we can fulfill the directive of this verse by sharing what we’ve learned with others and possibly finding ways to effect change, either in others’ views of climate change or through projects that help our local environment.
My prayer is that the fruit we bear will reflect well what we learn, and that we both will continue to be perpetual students.
Our home is worth the effort.
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