Monday, February 28, 2011

How "Green" is too "Green?"

Today contained many first time experiences for me. I helped with a funeral luncheon - and it was eye-opening. I so enjoy showing hospitality to people. I enjoy providing a meal for them and making feel that, for the moment, they are the most important people in the world. Most people are gracious recipients of hospitality as well. They understand that you're going out of your way for them and that you're doing something nice for them. They understand that you're not obligated to provide them with anything. They are simply grateful for anything that you provide and when you go above and beyond, their hearts are full.

Something happened today, though, that disturbed me. A younger couple, whom I did not know, came up to where my sister-in-law and I were serving drinks and asked if we had cups other than the styrofoam ones that we were serving drinks in. They didn't say it politely and it was awkward. They said, "We don't drink out of styrofoam." And when I went to get china cups for them, they said, "Oh, I see that you have a whole cabinet full of cups," in a way that implied, "You're filling so many landfills with this biohazard." I found out that they don't drink out of styrofoam because of the environmental implications. I was gracious to this couple because of my desire to represent Christ and His church in a positive light.

But I thought to myself, "Green living/eating has become an idol for them." I believe that anytime we snub someone's attempt at hospitality, our selfish desire to serve our preferences has become a form of idolatry. In this instance, "green living" became all-consuming for this couple. They put "green living" on a pedestal above the Lord and above other people. I prefer to buy organic foods for my family, but I pray that the Lord never allows me to put my organic food preference above the need to honor other PEOPLE.

I'm not condemning these people. I have no idea who they even were. I don't know their stories. However, I do believe that God's principles and His kingdom trump everyone's preferences. I believe that in God's economy, He blesses acts of hospitality, whether or not they are organic or "green." When I choose to deny someone's act of hospitality because it doesn't meet my standard, I am not meeting God's standard with my actions. If I really felt that strongly about the environmental implications of styrofoam cups, I would probably carry my own cup everywhere.

In our generation, many have become obsessed with being "earth-friendly." But my goal is to be "people-friendly." I'm sure you can make the argument that styrofoam cups are not people friendly in the long run, but that's not that point that I'm trying to make. I want people to be overwhelmed by my hospitality as well as my gracious response when they show hospitality to me. Let's not stereotype ourselves as the generation who cares more about principles than we do about people.

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a good evening!


  1. Mary Anne-

    I just found out you had a blog~ I love this post!! Keep up the good work!

  2. "I believe that anytime we snub someone's attempt at hospitality, our selfish desire to serve our preferences has become a form of idolatry." <-EXCELLENT May I quote you? :D