Thursday, February 11, 2010

Infrastructure and Cultivating and Caring For Creation

In her book In The Heart of the Temple ( Copyright 2004, Joan D. Chittister, published by BlueBridge) Joan Chittister claims St. "Benedict's theology of life is clearly based...on the passage in Genesis that teaches that humanity was put in the Garden 'to cultivate it and care for it.'" This catches my attention as I consider "Infrastructure". By infrastructure I refer to the many technological elements most of us take for granted: clean drinking water, electricity, roads (and cars to drive on them), internet access, radio, television, snow plows, etc., etc., etc.

Catches my attention? I live for this. God put me (and all of us, I believe) here on earth to be His hands, to do His work. We humans use many different methods in this work, and clearly infrastructure is a part of all this. We harness the power of the sun and direct it to our homes, for example. We call that the "power grid", and (with perhaps the exception of geothermal energy) the sun is the ultimate source of ALL our power - oil and coal is simply solar energy converted by green plants to carbon based molecules we then "burn". Wind energy is from the heating (by the sun) and cooling of different parts of the earth. OK tidal energy may use energy from the moon rather than the sun, but I think you get what I am saying.

Our drinking water and sanitary sewer systems, our communications systems, the roads and railroads we travel on - all are built by us, they are "Infrastructure". Cultivating and Caring? We use each part of the infrastructure to carry out God's work. Do we always use these elements wisely? No, of course not, we are only human, our nature is to sin.
It turns out "Infrastructure" is an interest of mine. I don't see infrastructure as good or bad, any more than I see "forest", "cities", "church", politics, or many other things as good or bad. I certainly see us using them more or less wisely, more or less as God may have intended us to use them.
And another thing: I must remember (and this can be really hard) that my view of how God intends us to use infrastructure may not be your view, and neither view may be how God would really like us to use or care for our world.