Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"Go Tell It on the Mountain" at JPUSA

“500 mountains gone, 1.2 million acres leveled, 2000 miles of streams destroyed”, that is the motivation behind Restoring Eden’s current “Go Tell It on the Mountain” tour. Restoring Eden is a Christian organization that focuses on being good stewards of creation. The current tour is three weeks long and hits many cities in the northern Midwest. Luckily for us one of the concerts/presentations was across the street from us in the Friendly Towers of Jesus People USA.

Introduction to "Go Tell It On The Mountain" concert.

I am especially happy to see “green Christians.” I have seen too many be critical of environmentalism, a stance that has never made any sense to me. Restoring Eden has a larger agenda then the current tour. They are protectors of creation. That includes speaking out for an end of Mountain Top Removal as a form of coal mining. However, it also means educating people about the dangers of climate change and what can be done to limit our contribution to that problem. It means finding smarter ways to grow crops and sustain communities. It means fighting to save endangered species. It also means participating in the Indigenous Christian Environmental Network. This group supports indigenous Christians whose traditional ways of life are seen as more consistent with caring about creation than a mineral exploitative society.

Go Tell It On the Mountain II

However, we were at JPUSA to hear about the mountain top removal. We were not disappointed. Sadden, yes, moved to action, hopefully. It was a powerful concert that combined script, visual presentations of Appalachia and the coal mines and music. It helped you care about the culture of the mountains. It helped you appreciate the beauty of the mountains. It helped you feel the pain of losing a culture and a unique natural beauty to get cheap power at a people’s expense.

"Go Tell It On the Mountain", first solo

The project is coordinated by Andy Heffner. This young man knows how to plan, schedule and support a tour. He also knows how to make sure the core values and mission of Restoring Eden permeate the tour.

Introduction to Restoring Eden

The tour consists of two men telling the audience about the culture of the mountains. They tell us about coal mining and then how mountain top removal has increased and how it destroys communities and locations. Tyler Schaffer provide the dialogue which gives us the context to understand the gravity of the problem.

Introduction to Mountain Top Removal and the Tour

We heard the music of Aaron Lee Martin. This is a talented musician with an incredible voice. His music was powerful and pulled you further into the presentation. Afterward we had an opportunity to hear Aaron sing his own music while others talked to Andy and Tyler.

Restore Eden's "Go Tell It On the Mountain" duo presentation

I do not know how one can be a Christian and not feel compelled to want to protect and nurture creation. I don’t care if you view climate change as manmade or natural. There is enough pollution and destruction of habitat that we must feel compelled to act no matter whether we are red or blue, conservative or liberal. If we appreciate the gift of creation than we need to act like it.

"Go Tell It on the Mountain"...just watch the feet!

As a Franciscan I appreciated the energy and focus of Restoring Eden. I noticed they have visited 16 campuses on the tour. I have an ecology club and a campus ministry staff to call. I think they need to visit one more campus! Thanks JPUSA for another great concert. You folks are great neighbors!

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