So, let’s stick with the stewardship theme for a while. Joe and I lived for many years among the coal patch towns of Appalachia, in southwestern Pennsylvania. Most of the coal mines there were played out by the mid-20th century, but the people still living there have been dealing with the consequences ever since. The abandoned mines leach acid runoff into the rivers. Sink holes appear without warning to swallow houses and automobiles. Families have been split apart as people migrated south to escape the poverty of single-industry towns. Until we moved there, I had no idea that people had created such a mess probing in the earth.
While most of us are unaware of the connection, here in the mid-west (and elsewhere, too) we get a fair amount of the energy we use everyday from Appalachian coal, even though we live hundreds of miles away and never see the consequences. I know there are economic questions involved, some of them quite complex – those coal patch towns are struggling with the problems that generations of poverty leave in their wake. But I also think there are spiritual questions involved as well, requiring wisdom from us.
For people of faith, perhaps it is to be found in our God-given role as stewards of the earth. We can be thrifty in our personal use of energy, advocate for less damaging extraction operations, diversify our energy sources, and I’m sure there are others. What do you think? Where shall wisdom be found?
“Miners put their hand to the flinty rock, and overturn mountains by the roots. They cut out channels in the rocks, and their eyes see every precious thing. The sources of the rivers they probe; hidden things they bring to light. But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?” Job 28:9-12