I just opened a really creepy piece of mail.
My utility company sent it to me, and the front cover says, “When’s the last time you showed your mother you love her?”. Then you open it up and all these weird pictures of women holding the earth are in there.
And it’s all about how we need to tell Mother Nature thank you, and treat her well.
Now, I’m all for protecting the environment (though I can’t get overly excited about global warming; you can read here for that).
But earth being our mother?
My husband is reading G.K. Chesterton’s book Orthodoxy right now, which is just an amazingly written book. He reads me excerpts every now and then, and they’re brilliant.
One from a few days ago was about how too often we view nature as a mother. Pantheistic religions do this when they say we are all gods. Environmentalists do this. Secular evolutionists do this. We are all here by accident, so nature created us.
The problem with this is that nature then takes on a very serious tone. If nature is our mother, she must be obeyed. We must submit to her. We must do her will.
Christians, on the other hand, see nature more like a sister, according to Chesterton. We both have the same Parent, so we can enjoy nature, we can play with nature, we can appreciate nature. In fact, nature is more like a kid sister that we love watching explore something new.
Nature is something we can laugh over, and even protect. But it isn’t something that requires such severity of thought.
It’s interesting because C.S. Lewis said something similar when it comes to sex. In The Four Loves, he wrote that those who make sex their god tend to give it a seriousness that robs it of its true beauty. Sex, the way God intended it, is darn funny. It’s almost ridiculous. And it does operate by the law that anything that can go wrong, likely will eventually. If we treat it so seriously, as the object of our life, then these little failings and foibles will seem disastrous. If, on the other hand, we realize that it was created for us, then it’s okay to laugh over it.
C.S. Lewis said, “Banish play and laughter from the marriage bed, and you let in a false god,” or something to that effect. Sex without laughter is all too severe.
I think nature is the same thing. Take away the laughter and make nature into a stern mother, a warning mother, the way society so often does today, and you remove one of the greatest joys of life. You make it so you can’t even see the humour anymore.
And that is sad.
Yes, I have told my mother I love her recently. And I will tell her again on Tuesday, on her birthday. But nature is not my mother. Perhaps I should return that letter to the utility company and tell them that?
It’s hard to believe bureaucrats get paid for this stuff.