Today I’m welcoming my friend Tracey Bianchi, author and pastor and awesome mom of three, as my guest blogger. I’m thrilled to be included in the blog tour for her new book, Green Mama: The Guilt Free Guide to Helping You and Your Kids Save the Planet. Going green doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated. In many ways, as Tracey points out, green living is simple living. And simplicity is a practice of spiritual formation. Please leave some comments for Tracey here or on Facebook, and visit her blog at www.traceybianchi.com
Living a Sustainable Faith
by Tracey Bianchi
My four-year old has endless questions about traffic these days. Why do cars stop or go? What about caution signs? Why do we either slam on the brakes or go crazy fast at yellow? What is rush hour? The one signal he has no query about is green.
“Green means go, go, go!”
He often hollers this as if our trip to Target was tantamount to the Indy 500.
Green means go. Whether traffic signals or that childhood game, Red Light/Green Light. Green is associated with movement, activity, permission to get on with it. Even our money is green and with the right amount of that hue you can sprint off to just about anywhere.
But can green ever signal slowing down our lives?
With the burgeoning green trend in our culture, the one connected to eco-friendly, save the planet chatter, living into this new shade of green might offer us more than new products and ideas. At the heart of this movement is an opportunity for spiritual transformation and a deeper connection to God.
Perhaps you simply think about recycling when you hear the words green living. You may also associate the trend with a new “to do” list that now includes organic gardening and composting. Many families I know find eco-ideas incredibly guilt-provoking and stressful. The pressure feels like anything but a spiritually refreshing opportunity.
However, an honest, greener faith is actually about embracing simplicity. Overhauling our lifestyles so that we can pursue healthy families, build deeper communities, and enjoy God’s planet. It is about slowing down to see what is truly most important by tapping into God’s Creation and his rhythms.
To “go green” is to reflect wisely on what we buy, how we shop, where we drive, and how we move through life. Which is to say, going green is also slowing down and taking in all that God has presented us each day. From sunrise to sunset.
For people of faith, caring for God’s Creation is an opportunity to stop chasing after the chaos, the narcissistic ideals, the over-commercialized culture that glistens all around us. “Going green” provides long overdue opportunities pull off this grid, to soak in the sunshine, rest in the grass, watch those clouds take dinosaur shapes like we did as children.
So, what does a slower, greener life look like?
A greener afternoon might be one where you or your family walk to your destinations rather than drive. Take your time, talk as you saunter along and save on your CO2 emissions in the process. Green might mean staying out of the malls and playing at home. Curbing our consumption is one of the most planet friendly maneuvers we can make. Buy less, shop less, stick together at home more.
Plant a tree, spend the day at a park or take a hike. All less anxiety producing than jockeying for position on three traveling teams in one afternoon.
Get your hands muddy or let your children get dirty. Help them to fall in love with God’s Creation, with the mud and the muck, the dirt of the earth. Live into the Genesis narrative by enjoying all that God says is good. Muddy faces and skinned knees indicate time well spent. Enjoy moments in the trees rather than in classes, traffic, or the over-achieving lane.
So take another look at “going green” and in it you might find a deeper invitation to slow down a bit and breathe deeply of God’s green life. A creative invitation to rest, renewal and transformation in God’s Creation.
Tracey Bianchi is the author of “Green Mama: The Guilt Free Guide to Helping You and Your Kids Save the Planet.” She is the mother of three and an author, speaker, and women’s ministry director. You can find more of her musings on life, faith and sustainability at http://traceybianchi.com. You can find her new book here: http://tinyurl.com/3xzvpnx