Today’s find: Two sticks

I came thisclose to ripping a page out of my daily devotional this morning.

It certainly would have been out of character for me to do so, because the publication is actually a great boon to my spirituality — often helping me to break open scripture fruitfully, and introducing me to a wide variety of spiritual writers through its essays and reflections.

So what touched off that nearly-destructive impulse on my part today? One of the three daily intercessions, composed by an unnamed editor:

Unite lawmakers in steps to reverse global warming.

Considering the source, the petition grated on me like fingernails on slate. You see, I count myself among those who recognize a phrase like “settled science” as an oxymoron. Anyone who stakes such a claim is in fact invoking an article of faith, not engaging in scientific method. And in recent years, I’ve detected more political opportunism than scientific certainty in the whole global warming movement.

But that’s just the half of it with respect to the petition. Praying that the solution be turned over to lawmakers? Color me skeptical that actual progress will be made if we look to D.C. or the UN for effective countermeasures. Costly and onerous programs, yes. But solutions? The track record isn’t exactly stellar.

So yeah, you could say those eight little prayerful words stirred up a LOT of stuff in me this morning. (None of which is to say, by the way, that I don’t see a place for stewardship in the way we live our lives. Indeed, the earth on which we live is a gift — and I believe we should consider ourselves guests here…leaving a light footprint for the sake of future generations.)

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Two sticks, set in opposition, can keep good things out, can they not?

But in the end, I was glad that I DIDN’T follow my impulse and set to rippin’ out pages… because had I done so, I would have missed the passage from Ezekiel (37: 16-19) that appeared nearby.

It’s an odd story — one in which the son of man is instructed to grasp two sticks, each representing an opposing tribe, and join them together “so they become one stick in your hand.”

Which tribe is “right”? Which tribe has “truth” on its side?

According to the prophet, the answer doesn’t seem to matter much to God.

Rather, God’s action is all about unifying the opposing forces — grasping them tight, holding them close. Something to consider, perhaps, the next time I am tempted to dismiss or tune out another person with whom I disagree.

Let us pause now…to remember that we are in the presence of the Holy One.

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4 thoughts on “Today’s find: Two sticks

  1. Pingback: Sunday Snippets | With Us Still

  2. lisamarie63703

    Nice, John!

  3. I like your insight. I must admit that I have a visceral reaction that is 180 from the one you had; I get very upset when people dismiss environmental concerns out of hand. To me it’s really not that important whether global warming is human in cause or natural, or whether you consider it “settled” or not. We *are* called to take care of the Earth, and we collectively in the west are so, so wasteful. I do think there is a role governments have to take, but your insight–that we have to listen to each other–is the part that’s so sadly lacking in discourse of all kinds today.

    • Agreed, Kathleen: There’s a lot more heat than light in most discussions of a political nature these days. Or religion, for that matter. Finding common ground is hard work…but I believe it IS the work to which we are called as Christians.

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