I’m not sure why I even have my own website. I never post to it. I hardly ever update it. No one really ever visits it. But I have one. I keep it updated so that I will have a place for my email. Because I own my own domain, I also own my own email. Yes, it needs to be hosted somewhere, but it is mine and can’t be taken away.
One of the other things that I have realized is that it also can’t outlive me by much.
Because my website and my email are owned (and controlled) by me, they can only survive if I pay the annual bills associated with it. That means that – at some point after I die – someone will either need to assume the billing or let the service simply be deleted.
There is something oddly comforting about that.
I am a pastor and a person that has been preaching sustainability in both my personal and professional lives for quite some time now. I believe that the idea of true sustainability goes against our human nature as we simply cannot think on such grand terms as sustaining something forever. Even when we think about time and space, we talk about the “beginning of the universe” or the “end of time”. True sustainability is outside of our comprehension. (And, to be honest, I also believe that the place where we should be concentrating our efforts at sustainability is in the present moment – not in some future that has yet to be created.)
So, when I consider sustainability in terms that we can understand, it comes down to leaving as little a footprint as possible. Sustainability has something to do with burdening others. The less we burden others with the choices that we make, the more sustainable that choice, activity, or structure will be.
Think about it —
Right now as a church, we are using countless dollars and human resources to sustain buildings and structures that do not fit the needs of today. But anything that we attempt to build in any permanent way will only lead to future generations looking back at us and asking the same questions that we are asking of the generations that preceded us. Building structures and systems that are flexible and possibly even temporary will allow future users the options necessary to meet the needs of their time.
If I purchase a house, car, plot of land, or anything else that outpaces my true needs now or in the immediate future, then I will spend a lot of my time and resources (physical, emotional, and spiritual) attempting to keep that thing going. For instance, if my car payment and cost of upkeep costs me 20% of what I make in a month, then I am spending one out of every five hours working to simply sustain my ability to get to and from work. We build entire buildings simply to house the things that we use to travel from place to place. That’s not a sustainable model.
We have made the world so complex that we have decided that it requires at least 12 years of formal schooling to simply exist in our manmade culture. Formal schooling doesn’t teach us anything (or very few things) that would help us if we were to be left alone in the wilderness. Most everything that we are taught simply helps us to navigate the institutions that we have created.
There is so much more to say, and I may even start to use this space to say it.
And if I do, I know that eventually my words will eventually be erased… because they simply don’t matter that much… and because eventually, no one will pay the bill.