St. Matthew's Episcopal

Divine Economy

Posted on: January 23rd, 2012 by Robin Jarrell

Speech given to a Press Conference at Representative Maribito’s office, with the Williamsport Sun-Gazette and the Associated Press.  Friday, January 27, 2012.

I’m not an expert in creation theology – but I take my theological position from the idea of “divine economy” – that we are stewards in the management of God’s creation and that the current pitiful state of the environment (of which fracking will continue to exacerbate) is really a spiritual crisis which we (as religious leaders) need to speak to.  Whether you call it ‘tikkun ‘olam’, ‘Sabbath year’ or any other religious term for being in harmony with the divine, we must speak to the vision of our being co-creators with and within God’s creation.   The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has said, “Nature’s economy is profoundly violated by our wasteful economy, which in turn constitutes a direct offense to the divine economy.”*  So if you say to me that we must make a compromise for  the “economic necessity” that brings a potentially damaging process to our environment here in Pennsylvania – I say no amount of income from these practices is worth the loss of the earth.  We are being short-sighted if we think that our children’s children will not reap much woe from fracking – because we have failed to see the connection between our spiritual well-being, our physical well-being, and the state of creation.  I can’t stop fracking from happening.  I apologize to those here and now for not speaking out as a religious leader sooner to at least attempt to stop this madness.  The reason I am here today is to try and mitigate the carnage.  And imposing ridiculously paltry fines on an after-the-fact event to me is outrageous.  Because, as Pastor Ricky has said, once fracking fluid is dumped into a stream, the damage is already done, and no fine will erase the destruction.  I can only plead with our elected officials to work tirelessly to create manageable, practical, and accountable methods for preserving what earth there is here left to save.  I appeal not to your sense of politics, or fundraising, or votes, but to your higher calling.

The Rev’d Robin Jarrell, Rector St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church

*Quoted in Creation:  A Biblical Vision for the Environment.  Margaret Barker.  T & T Clark, 2010.

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