View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Franciscan diapers

Sometimes things converge in mysterious ways.

Yesterday morning, the local daily had an article about a new diaper service that will provide - and clean - cloth diapers. It will be the first such company operating locally in more than a decade.

My three daughters were patrons of the previous company. They outgrew diapers, and though there's likely not any connection, the company went out of business in 1998.

I always considered cloth diapers - even with the cleaning needed - more environmental than the landfill-clogging disposables. But for many families, washing cloth diapers themselves was not a practical option. I am happy to see this new service.

As a Franciscan, I always try to be conscious of the environment. After all, St. Francis is the Patron Saint of the environment.

The environment was one of the issues that occurred to me as I read about this new diaper company.

Last night, I attended my Secular Franciscan meeting. We were discussing several of his writings including the Canticle of Brother Sun - his great song in praise of creation. I noted that I had been listening to a discussion of the Gospel of Mark in which Jesus' commission to the Disciples was "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation."

Preach to all creation - not just men and women. Think of Francis preaching to the birds, or St. Anthony preaching to the fish.

Part of Franciscan spirituality is awareness of, appreciation for, and care for all of creation. That's what environmentalism is.

That means being conscious of how we pollute as a society and individually, and seeking ways to reduce our negative impact on the environment. That means being aware of global warming - not the "straw man" extremist position that's often used to help dismiss the idea, but the actual verifiable changes that are taking place - and looking for ways we can help reduce the speed with which it is happening. That means trying to preserve nature where we can - planting trees, not using poisons on our lawns, driving less, setting aside lands for parks and nature preserves, and more - though keeping in mind human needs as well.

You have to be reasonable about environmentalism - but you have to be conscious of it.

For some families, cloth diapers might be a good way to start.

Using such diapers certainly seems to me to be a more Franciscan way.

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