The “developed” nations had given to the “free market” the status of a god, and were sacrificing their farmers, farmlands, and rural communities, their forests, wetlands, and prairies, their ecosystems and watersheds. They had accepted universal pollution and global warming as normal costs of doing business (In the Presence of Fear, The Orion Society, 2001, p. 2).
Wendell rightly puts the word “developed” in quotation marks. Like many other words, its meaning depends on its context: Olympian or Christian.
To Vulcan and his minions, countries experiencing advanced technology are winners while those missing out on it are losers. To them, humankind’s most important project ever has been the development of the one Global Technological System (GTS) which we have today.
Jesus, technological stick-in-the-mud that he is, looks at life from a completely contrary point of view. We might have expected this. He is, after all, the truth that sets us free to love (nurture and protect) and leads us into fullness of life. For him, this fullness of life includes the vitality of all God’s good creation: all the creatures, species, and habitats that make up Heaven and Earth.
Jesus does not define progress in terms of technological advancement. Instead, he understands it in terms of ecological vitality. Is our local ecosystem teeming with vitality? Great! Has it been damaged but is now improving? Better! Are we aiding the GTS in its systematic parasitical destruction of local ecosystems worldwide? Bad form.
Wendell points out that Americans, like people in other technologically advanced nations, had given to the “free market” the status of a god.
Wendell is right to note that we have devotion to a god involved here. He does, however, misperceive the identity of that god. This matters. The god involved is not the “free market.” As mentioned above, it is Vulcan, the god of technology.
As a reminder, Vulcan is one of the six false but conventional gods of Olympianity. The other five are Jupiter, god of politics; Mars, god of war; Venus, goddess of sex; Pluto, god of money; and Bacchus, god of consumption. Between the six of them, they account for all the falsehood, power, indifference, and death we human beings do to one another and creation in our clueless devotion to them. This includes all destruction done in the name of the “free market.”
Wendell tells us what the most devoted Olympian nations were doing in their worship of Vulcan and construction of his sacred GTS. They were sacrificing their farmers, farmlands, and rural communities, their forests, wetlands, and prairies, their ecosystems and watersheds. They had accepted universal pollution and global warming as normal costs of doing business. That's correct.
By doing so, Wendell rightly indicates the direction we want to move as Christians. As prophetic witnesses to Jesus Christ, the one odd god of truth, freedom, love, and vitality, we don’t want or need to make such sacrifices to Vulcan and his GTS. Instead, we want to witness to our one true leader by preserving and enhancing local rural communities. At this point, Jesus is inviting us to abandon large cities for small rural communities, to pursue vocations there like being a farmer, and to nurture and protect the local ecosystems—forests, prairies, and wetlands—which form the vital basis of all good farms and their communities.