I want to follow up on the article that Jim Robbins wrote for this site yesterday on Walkable Church. I now realize that many of you reading our feeds externally or via e-mail probably cannot tell who the authors of articles are (this one is Eric). So, incorporating author names within the feed is something I will have to work on. I want to make sure authors get credit for their work in all formats!
The other thing I wanted to mention is that some of you may have concerns about the religious nature of the article yesterday, a topic we have previously shied away from. I do want to make it clear that we do not place any religious beliefs or non-beliefs above any others on this site. When Jim raised the idea with me about posting an article on the topic, I was very hesitant. I did not want to offend any of our readers. However, I think there are many lessons to learn from what Jim wrote yesterday, and he has a very interesting perspective on how walkability relates to his life with the church.
I agree whole-heartedly with Jim that peak oil is perhaps going to be the most serious cultural challenge that we face in the upcoming future—even more so than global warming and the obesity epidemic. I believe this because peak oil will affect everyone in the pocketbook—whether or not you drive a car. If what the oil industry experts are saying is true, we could face a massive crisis on any given day. The cost of oil could easily skyrocket overnight due to a major war, political struggle, catastrophic event, or problems with major suppliers (Enron anyone?). This is not likely to happen with global warming or obesity: the results are just not tangible to many people, so they do not care about them enough to dramatically shift their daily habits.
The church scenario Jim shared with us yesterday can really be applied to most every life aspect—offices, schools, rec centers, shopping malls—you name it. Perhaps where churches have an advantage is their more grassroots nature and the fact that typically the church does not exist for economic gain. Therefore, I think church members could possibly join together easier to find ways to establish a more “organic church” environment like Jim described. Can you imagine mall shoppers coming together to help bail the developer out of rising energy costs to keep the mall open? I seriously doubt it. People will be too preoccupied with the $10 per day it now costs to drive the 30 mile round trip to drop their kids off at school. And I’m thinking conservatively here. Considering that we import so much crude oil and petroleum from Canada and Mexico, what happens if they suddenly have a major political battle with the US and production is severely slowed or halted? Even if the US taps into its reserves, prices will explode overnight.
Suddenly that uncomfortable seat on your dusty bicycle in the garage feels a whole lot more comfortable, doesn’t it? Let’s work on becoming a much more multi-modal society so that we don’t have to worry about reaching that point.
The building pictured above is the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph in Downtown San Jose.