One of the themes of this site is that material progress is coming to an end, like it or not. Another theme is that the predicaments we face provide a wonderful opportunity for the church to show leadership to society at large. However, before the church can provide leadership it will be necessary for most of us to leave the ‘Church of Progress’. Most of us, even those who understand issues such as global warming or resource depletion, nevertheless continue believe (or, at least, we want to believe) in never-ending progress, that tomorrow will be better (materially) than it is today. When we look around us it is becoming harder and harder to hold on that belief. But still, we easily fall back to the assumption that ‘They will think of something’ or ‘Technology will come up with a solution’.
In the context of this discussion, this week’s post from Kurt Cobb is well worth reading. The title of the post is The biggest obstacle to progress is our idea of progress.
I have two takeaways from what he says. The first is that our culture virtually requires us to use the latest technology, such as cell phones, whether we like to or not. We are expected to participate in “progress”. Yet, I when I work in my garden I intentionally do not wear a watch or carry a cell phone; I do not feel that I am not making “progress”.
The second takeaway is Kurt’s request of all of us to find a word that can replace “progress” — a word that identifies a way of living that does not require us to undermine the biosphere.