Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Everyday Synergy

There is nothing we can do without God. Yet, one glance at our daily newspaper demonstrates how often we try to live without God guiding our lives. We are inundated with stories of war, poverty, cruelty, and injustice. Some stories become a source of common entertainment and casual conversation. Television news shows consistently highlight violent crimes as the major stories of the day.

Many students are welcomed to school in the morning by metal detectors or police officers. Children and adults in distant countries suffer the cruel working conditions of sweatshops to provide us with fashionable garments and decorations. Billions of animals endure suffering and ultimately death in factory farms and slaughterhouses to provide people with foods that are pleasing to our palates. Environmental destruction and resource depletion are escalating.

The "American way" has become a model of conspicuous consumption and a seemingly insatiable desire for more, more, more. Corporations have such a vested interest in ensuring that children become a new generation of consumers that they have infiltrated classrooms with marketing materials thinly disguised as educational supplements.

These are some of the themes common to the world today. The enormity of the issues we face can seem overwhelming. But there is hope for a way out of this darkness. We do not have to sit by idly, resigning ourselves that the way things are is simply the way things will continue to be. We can challenge the cultural assumptions and live our lives in a more Christlike manner. By working with God, instead of against God, we have the potential to help usher in a more beautiful world.

Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope John Paul II, in their Declaration on the Environment, noted that "The problem is not simply economic and technological; it is moral and spirutual." The world has been corrupted by the sins of humankind. But as Christians, we should be standing against injustice, and making conscious choices that take into account the suffering of people and the rest of God's creation. It is incompatible with a love of God to turn a blind eye to the suffering we are inflicting upon God's creation. Joanne Stefanatos, in her book Animals and Man: A State of Blessedness, stated this beautifully when she wrote that "We are called by God to reflect divinity, to become icons of Jesus Christ.... By our lives we must demonstrate the Gospels and the presence of Jesus Christ."

But where do we start... what can we do... how do we do it? In a world plagued by so many problems, it can be overwhelming to know what to do. And in our fast-paced society, most of us have so many responsibilties with our jobs, our families, and other obligations, that we don't feel we have much time to do anything about the world's problems. In this blog, I hope to bring some of these issues to light. I also hope to show some simple choices we can make in our everyday lives to help manifest a more compassionate world. If we open our hearts and our minds, we will see that God has given us the wisdom and the gifts to discover creative solutions to the violence and injustice in this world.


Anonymous said...


Your blog is gourgous and extremely well designed. YOur thoughts, your desire to share your passion and your dedication to what you believe in is truly an inspiration. I wish you great joy in sharing this with the world.

We miss you and your family.


Valerie said...


I remember your kind, thoughtful and compassionate words at onsite time in Maine 4 years ago, and I am so pleased to see you put your heart and soul out there to share with others. I know this website will help enlighten those who perhaps do not understand the true consequences of their choices.

Thank you for speaking out!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your inspirational blog. God bless you for your kind heart and actions.

Gradually people are beginning to realize the terrible suffering our food animals have to endure and some people are even beginning to care.

Perhaps not in our lifetime but one day surely all this factory farming and torment will be end and people like you will have made it happen.

Thank you Pamela

Beverly Flanagan said...

Thank you. As a Christian, woman, and mother/grandmother who shares your deep concerns for the environment and all the creatures of our God who inhabit this place with us--- I thank you. I just came across your blog today having read the newsletter of the Institute of Humane Education.

Love it. will try to figure out how to subscribe to it, and link it to my newest blog, still starting out, BACK TO THE GARDEN, check out backtothegardenoflife.blogspot.com.

I'm a student enrolled in the Whole Health Education Certificate program through the National Institute of Whole Health, based in Wellesley MA, and a long-time Christian. Frustrated by the lack of shared concern among fellow Christians for the environment, I have sometimes aligned myself with caring non-Christians on issues.

Again, thank you, and keep writing!

Stephanie said...

Hi, Bevery,

Thanks so much for visiting and commenting here! Sorry I have not responded... something happened which caused your comment not to be published, so I did not even know you had written. Thanks for your encouragement to continue this blog. I look forward to visiting your site as well.