I have made a promise to myself and my loved ones that I will not try to compete with Nate’s sense of humor. He has always been the funny one in the family. And everytime I try to top his jokes, I come off looking more like a charlatan than a Charlie Chaplin. However, while reading his first entry, I did find myself humming the all familiar Michael Jackson tune, “Man in the Mirror.” Sing along: “I’m starting with the man in the mirror (oh yeah)” / I’m asking him to change his ways (his ways) / And no message could have been any clearer. / If you wanna make the world a better place / Take a look at yourself at make a cha-y-ange.”

Nate’s right. It does sound a bit cheesy or maybe cliche to say “be the change,” but nothing will change in our world if we are not convicted to make personal changes. It is incredibly easy to fall into a cynically apathetic mindframe. During a break from college, I remember telling pop with a confident smile that I was turning into a cynic. All he said was, “Jake. Cynics have no hope.” I keep that with me.

So, I’ll start placing the blame on me right now. And although Nate will label the following ideas a bit quixotic, tomorrow is Earth Day (and you don’t need Facebook to know that). I’ll be the first to say that I don’t recycle enough, I use too much water, I use too much gasoline, I waste too much paper on campus, I do not thank God daily for rivers, blue skies, white clouds, green grass, rolling hills, dramatic bluffs, and everything else I know God created and called good.

The environment is not a political issue with me. It’s a faith issue. God created the earth and called it good. That’s enough for me to start paying attention to how I use what I’ve been given. And don’t give me the line that humans have “dominion” over what God created. I prefer to interpret that word as “stewardship” and not total control and selfish consumerism. With the freedom we’ve been given, we have amazing choices to make. I have been called by God to care for God’s creation. It’s a choice; I am not stuck in some cheap sardoodledom.

I am a hypocrite. Scratch that. I’m Pecksniffian. I want to cherish and conserve God’s creation, but I find a thousand ways to justify my selfish wants and wasteful lifestyle. It’s a conundrum. How do I live in this society without completely falling prey to overusing the resources we’ve been given?

We are to blame for the condition of this earth. I am to blame for the condition of this earth. My actions prove that I do not care about God’s creation. It’s that simple. For more information on how the term “Evangelical Christian Environmentalist” is not a contradiction in terms, go to the following website: www.creationcare.org.

By the way, the above entry includes the other nine words Webster chose as the top ten of the year: http://www.merriam-webster.com/info/07words.htm

Jake, the elder