By Pastor Carlton K. Laursen, Strasbourg and Bulyea - Courtesy of Last Mountain Times

I am supposed to be a good example. It is part of my job as a pastor. But it is often not as simple as it may appear. Nevertheless, I like to try, so I sold my boat. It was a beautiful metal-flake-red fiberglass 14 footer with a Mercury outboard. The time had come to make some space on the driveway for a 1974 vintage sailboat. Time to slow down and burn less fuel. Time to get environmentally responsible and carbon neutral. Time to feel virtuous and maybe even a bit superior.

But did it work? Sure I got rid of the fuel burner and replaced it with a windcatcher. But what changed? I immediately went online and bought pulleys. I went to Canadian Tire and got ropes. I had things shipped by truck from Ontario. Had I cut my carbon footprint? All that diesel fuel. All those plastic bits made from oil. Besides, when I go out sailing, I still have to hook up my trailer and tow the boat to the lake, then burn more fuel bringing it back But when I am on the water, I can feel virtuous about being wind-powered. I am no longer burning gas and two-stroke oil to move around on the water. I can fool myself.

Life is full of choices. Some choices are obviously foolish or destructive. Some are wise and responsible. Most are a mixture, and some are misleading. All of us make choices all the time, and it is important to take time to think about those choices. Are we being the best version of ourselves we can be? Are we being responsible and thoughtful? Are we treating creation (human and otherwise) around us like precious and holy gifts from the Creator? Or are we just propping up an inflated ego by trying to look good? It's not easy; it's not even always clear.

But we do well to think about it. Is there more we can do to waste less? Is there more we can do to be good citizens of this world, and kind people? Is there something more we can do to express our values as thankful recipients of extravagant generosity? As believers, we proclaim that this is our reality. As believers, we are called to respond with gratitude and with care. If God has given us so much, should we not also be generous and reflect this image of God we carry? And in like manner, we should be at the forefront of caring for this beautiful world and preserving the precious gift of creation.

So I'm trying to get better at this. I try to burn less, waste less, care more, and preserve more. And I'm trying to be more realistic about the process and self-righteous. But it's a challenge.

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