Protecting the environment is not only our civic duty, it is a ‘sacred trust’ bestowed by God, according to Gary Payton. He explains, “If we use rules to respect and restrain ourselves in manmade places of worship, we should be able to do the same to protect the sacred space of creation around us.” For this reason, he is calling on Christians to grant the Boulder-White Clouds of Idaho “monument status” to ensure their protection from further environmental degradation.
In this sense, Payton is breaking down the barriers of the ‘sacred and the profane,’ expanding Christian piety to be practiced under the “cathedral of the blue dome.”
Gary Payton, Contributor to the Idaho Mountain Express
As autumn deepens, I relish the opportunity to worship in “the cathedral of the blue dome,” the outdoors sanctuary where we can connect with God and marvel at the variety and beauty of creation. In Idaho, we’re surrounded by that beauty—majestic mountains, flowing rivers, and all manner of the furred, finned and feathered.
Today, there is an ongoing discussion about the merits of providing better care for some of these mountains, rivers and wildlife in the Boulder-White Clouds. Proponents of a national monument say unwanted development on these public lands will gradually degrade our quality of life unless we take action. Opponents say a monument isn’t necessary because there are actually no real threats to these lands.
Where do I stand? In my faith walk, I am guided by a Christian tradition which calls faithful people to become engaged with God in keeping and healing creation, human and non-human. And, in this call to earth-keeping, I am ever mindful our actions affect the future of our children, their children and all who come after.