Sunday, July 26, 2020

Tony and Ahsley

This has been a long time coming. I’m a little late with it. It’s time to promote Tony Jones from “other theologians I’ve written about” to the “few who actually get it right”. He sealed his status in a recent podcast with Ashley Peters. Even if Tony had not made some upgrades to his theology over the years, just the way he conducts this conversation put him in the “doing it right” crowd.

My index of Progressive Christians

Okay, I kid a little about being “right”. Tony’s fine, he’s always been fine. There are probably parts of him I did not recognize back when I first started following him. If I had started recently, I’d probably be searching back, trying to figure where this guy is coming from. It can be hard to tell what he believes or if he believes at times. No question though, a love of nature and the values that are needed for humans to express that love come through loud and clear.

The Reverend Hunter Podcast. I couldn't index to the specific episode, so look for about the 10th one, "Ashley Peters: Conservation is my religion"

Ashley Peters is no stiff either. It’s interesting to hear her philosophy that is rooted in the many ways people relate to nature, hunting as well as just watching. From her responses to Tony, apparently she didn’t go through some of the years of doubt or difficult nights of sorting out beliefs that some of us have. This provides a fresh perspective. She uses Alaska as a jumping off point for seeing the “bigger” picture. I paraphrase here, removing the feedback and extra words of a conversation;

“When you live in Alaska, you see the large everything, “you understand the scale of things and feel so insignificant. You recognize your place in the universe

You get that sense on the prairie and the woods, if you’ve been there, you understand the scale of things. You feel so insignificant. You very quickly recognize your place as a human being on Earth and you suddenly recognize that this stuff is huge. You don’t have control over any of it. You have to focus on what you do have control over and hope for the best for the rest of it.

When I go into work each day, the thing I had control over, what the outdoors has taught me is that you focus on what you do have control over. You focus on the things in front of you.  I plan for what can go wrong, but it’s still the question of what I have control over and doing as much as I can to prepare and to be in that moment, but to recognize what I don’t have control over. I can worry all day long, and I still do, but you can only do so much as a human.

To relate that to a spiritual aspect, as a Christian growing up, it was “give it up to God”. That was the common narrative. That’s not dissimilar to what I do with the outdoors, but not giving it up to one deity. I’m going outdoors and laying it down, however you want to put it, it’s that same offloading of my worries and recognizing I don’t have control over ‘these’ things but I have control over these few things and that’s what I’m going to choose to focus on.”