Sunday, March 4, 2012

Salt in the Mountains

God made the earth. We live in it. We fill it up. We use it. It is a gift. Sometimes we think about being stewards of it, taking good care of it; sometimes we don't. There are all kinds of groups that talk about the use of land, but we don't often see the church involved in the discussion -- at least not the church as such. And I think that's too bad. Individuals in the church may participate or have opinions, but often we think of ourselves as people with opinions instead of as God's people who are given a distinct role as the salt of the earth in the places where we live. Given that we believe earth itself was the first of all the good gifts God gave us, we deserve a place to encourage, pray about, and give thanks for the land we call home.

Anyone I know who was born in Appalachia, no matter how long ago or how far they've been removed from the area, considers that place home. If Mary and Joseph traveled back to Bethlehem for their census, we'd travel there. It is the place we answer to. It is also a place we will answer for.

Because Christians have personal relationships with the creator of the universe, it makes sense that we would have a uniquely valuable voice in conversations about the blessings He has given us. And, though we often praise God as creator, the image conjured up (at least in my mind) is often of the entire cosmos. Just as it would be strange for me to praise God for his overall goodness without praising Him for his specific goodness in my life, so it is strange to praise God for his overall creation without praising Him for the very land we call home. This is a relatively new idea to me, though it is a very old idea -- from as far back as our relationship goes. Maybe it's an idea forgotten to many, since I have yet to run across a forum on the subject. And so I begin the discussion. Well, not I...we.

I have started a new blog: God's Mountain People. I have a couple other contributors already and we are excited to work together on this project. We hope you'll join us. Together, we will be celebrating our heritage and God's gifts that are unique to Appalachia. We welcome all God's Mountain People to join in the discussion. I will be happy to edit and post your stories, thoughts, and words of praise as their own entries to the blog. We welcome all interested in learning more about what it means to be a Christian from a particular local place and time to listen in and comment away! Please share the link and tell your friends. We want as many readers and participants as we can get!

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