|Brussels sprouts were consumed with gusto this month, especially these ones that I roasted with grapes for Thanksgiving dinner.|
|I did a little reorganizing in the kitchen one morning and put all the leftover mason jars from our wedding to good use displaying colorful grains, pastas, and beans.|
|Digby. my quirky cat, basking in the November sunshine.|
|Started decorating for Christmas as soon as Thanksgiving passed. My little sister gave me this adorable wooden Christmas tree after traveling to Germany last winter.|
|I definitely sneaked this trio of glittery gold trees, a gift received from my mom last Christmas, out of the basement a bit sooner than the rest of our decor this year. They're subtle and festive enough decorate with before the season truly starts.|
The one thing I have been able to find the time to do recently, however, is to read. I recently picked up Bill McKibben's collection of essays entitled The Bill McKibben Reader and was particularly moved by a few of his articles in the 'Community' section which focused on religion. I don't consider myself a religious person as I don't adhere to any doctrine, nor do I attend church regularly or engage in any other traditional religious practices. Reading these essays, however, made me realize that my mentality and actions are more aligned with the wonderful principles of Christianity than are those of so many other Americans who claim to be Christian.
I'm not trying to downplay the kind hearts or good intentions of so many people in this country, nor do I think that I am a model citizen and faultless person - not at all. But McKibben seamlessly links caring for the environment, reducing our consumer-driven mentality, and generously giving to the downtrodden in our society with the religious principles that motivated Jesus and are the central tenets of his teachings. Even though some of the most liberal people who devote their lives to these causes are not necessarily religious individuals, it is interesting to note how the messages of Christianity are so often convoluted and misinterpreted so as to serve our own interests as consumers and individuals.
I tried to compose a few essays on the subject but found myself repeatedly frustrated with my inability to succinctly summarize the wisdom and insight McKibben brings to this topic. Instead I've added links to the articles below so as to let the man speak for himself. But my frustration went beyond my mere limitations as a writer. If only more people were to read McKibben's words, if only more people would take to heart what he says, if only more Christians and followers of other religious creeds would truly question their beliefs and probe through what they are taught until they find those essential meanings on which their doctrine was originally founded. I know plenty of great Christians and plenty of great atheists and agnostics - it isn't necessarily an issue between the religious and the non-religious, but rather one that stems back to individual and societal mentalities. McKibben seems to believe, and I would heartily agree, that we have lost touch with the true meaning of Jesus' word. If we were still, as a primarily Christian nation, true followers of this religion, climate change, inequality, and consumption would not be such large social problems overflowing our plate.
There is little more I can say that McKibben doesn't cover himself, so please read The Christian Paradox and/or Will Evangelicals Help Save the World? for yourselves, and if you like what you find, I highly recommend The Bill McKibben Reader. I hope your November has been a delicious, eye-opening, inspiring, and festive one and that you become a Bill McKibben fan and tell all your friends too!