Archive for November, 2009

 An Inconvenient Purpose

A few years ago some folks started asking the question, What Would Jesus Drive? I’m not sure how seriously the question was supposed to be taken, as it was part of a campaign to demonize SUVs and the gas-guzzling ways of the people who drive them, but author Richard Gasaway has recently offered his answer to this question, and I don’t think it matters what kind of car it is, as long as it is powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

His book, An Inconvenient Purpose, approaches the environmental movement from the unique perspective of Christians seeking to act as stewards of God’s creation. He calls for the perceived conflict on this issue between left and right to be ignored in favor of doing what is right for the planet and what is right in God’s eyes, regardless of one’s political affiliation. I think this is an important point, and one that does not receive much attention. The debate is always framed in the media as left versus right, and those on the right, who have not taken the time to educate themselves, assume (wrongly) that because Al Gore advocates it, it must be wrong.

The author does a great job in this book of appealing to this demographic, and laying out a case for stewardship that transcends politics. He covers all aspects of the movement, from pursuing alternative energy sources, to lessening our dependence on foreign energy for national security reasons, to the environmental impact of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. But he keeps coming back to hydrogen as the clean solution to our dirty addiction to oil — and that cleanliness is next to godliness.

My readers know that I frequently cover alternative energies, and that I’m a fan of electric cars. So, I may not share the author’s conviction that hydrogen fuel cells are the absolute best solution, but I found this point from the book to be very good:

People talk of the inefficiency in creating hydrogen, and all the energy that must be expended to generate hydrogen molecules. However, people don’t think twice about the inefficiency of creating electricity from start to finish. The electricity arriving at the normal house outlet often contains only a third of the energy content that orginated in the coal from which it started. Factor in the incandescent bulb inefficiencies of a typical house lamp plugged into that outlet and you’re at about five percent.

That is something to consider when criticizing an alternative energy — remove the beam from thine own eye before casting out the mote from thy brother’s eye. An Inconvenient Purpose carves out a well-defined niche for Christians in the environmental movement, and acknowledges their obligation to participate, it tackles the complicated issues involved in very accessible layman’s terms, all while offering an optimistic view of the future and the path we should all be following.

 Common Sense Lives

A friend was lamenting today about having to throw away an expensive bottle of hairspray in order to pass through airport security. That would be bad enough, but then she commented that it was her own fault. That is the truly tragic part. We have all been assaulted with the TSA’s ridiculous propaganda for so long now, that we are actually starting to believe that it is wrong to travel with things like hairspary. It’s not, by the way. The TSA is wrong, and it’s not your fault!

Don’t allow yourself to be brainwashed into believing that the current theater that passes for airport security is a necessary part of life in this country! It’s a fad. It’s all part of the knee-jerk reaction that this country had to 9/11 that continues to play out even today, eight years later. But make no mistake, it is a temporary condition. Common sense is on life support, but it is not yet dead. We can resuscitate it and get our lives back.

Every once in a while, there is a story in the news that offers a glimmer of hope — what we used to call good news — and today’s Post Dispatch offered evidence that common sense may be making a comeback. The story, TSA changes procedure after Lambert incident, revealed that the fear-fueled hysteria does have limits. Steven Bierfeldt was inappropriately grilled by TSA personnel for trying to travel with a large sum of money. After facing a lawsuit from Bierfeldt and the ACLU, the TSA revised their rules to require their agents “to stick to matters related to flight security rather than policing airports for other crimes.” Gee, ya think?

So be patient, fellow travelers. As common sense recovers, and continues its physical therapy, these small victories will continue until things return to normal. And one day, as we spritz our hair before boarding our plane, we will all look back at the dark days of the TSA as quaint and unnecessary.