Apr. 22, 2008
Evang-E-Trash: The Messy Aftermath of Evangelical Outreach
Howdy. My name is Agent B and I report to you from the fair mother city (Abilene, TX). I am an undercover agent for the CEO of the Universe. My assignment has me disguised and embedded within the local poverty culture.
Or at least that's my schtick. The truth is, I am a "Christian" (however you define that) who has not attended any particular church in over five years. I use to be employed as a minister to poor people. George Carlin would describe me as someone who loves a great big invisible guy I call God. But I don't know if god sits up in the clouds all day manipulating me out of my money.
I have chosen to follow the teachings of Jesus, as I believe he was a fleshly version of god. For me, Jesus' teachings seem to be the real deal compared to everything else this world has to offer. But honestly, most days I wonder if I'm just nuts. And I'm supposed to convince others to quit their ways and be like me: Nuts. That's just great. But seriously, there has been numerous events in my life that I can only figure were divine miracles. Thus, I keep following Jesus. So it goes.
I am also a Texan, having lived in the friendship state all but 11 months of my 37 year existence. I was born and raised in Houston, but embraced the simpler, slower-paced life for a small city in West Texas after college graduation. I like it all right, I guess. Enduring Bible-Belt attitudes and overly made up women soaked in bad perfume is a small price to pay for cheap property and no state income tax. But realistically, I have no geographical love for any place. My wife's a Canadian (which has influenced my green-ness). I'd prefer we live in Saskatchewan or West Texas over some place ridiculously expensive like the coasts where we'd have to run a rat race to survive.
To my knowledge, Christians are not usually known for environmental activism. Neither are southerners, especially those living in a more rural, less cosmopolitan landscape. I think Christians are typically non-environmental because they generally believe Christ could return tomorrow, thus this earth will be destroyed anyhow. So why bother with inconveniencing ourselves with trying to keep it clean?
Unfortunately, nobody ever thinks that maybe Jesus' return could be in another, I don't know, ten thousand years or so. I hope he has a place to return to and we haven't destroyed it by then.
So there you have it. I am a Christian AND a West Texan. I should be voted the least likely person join in pro-environmental activities. But I stumbled into the green camp recently.
I slowly arrived to this quasi-green stance through a somewhat back-door entrance. Unlike my green Christian counterparts who simply obeyed their Bible (God instructs people to protect the creation in his name throughout the early Genesis creation story, for example), I found being wasteful was a terrible testimony for Jesus.
Honestly, how are the masses going to see anything worth desiring with this God thing if his followers have no care for the earth they claimed he created? Jesus seemed to respect the ways of others who were different from him.
And my particular operation in evangelical environmentalism: cleaning up bar parking lots of littered christian tracts.
Yes. I am not a fan of my evangelical counterparts' guilt-inducing literature. But that's a different topic. Unfortunately, the aftermath of evangelical outreach is pretty trashy. The Christians themselves don't throw their literature on the ground. Instead, the tracts get handed to unsuspecting bar patrons upon their exit. The drunken bar patrons in turn throw them to the ground. So I figured it would be a good idea to clean them up the day after. I find between 30 and 60 a week.
And before you know it, I'm picking up bags of beer bottles and taking them to the recycle bins too.
There's something going on in the Christian world in regards to being green. They're slowly moving in that direction. Better late than never, I guess.
Read more from Agent B at his blog, The Agent B Files.