The remarkable thing about this image is its location. These wind mills are in the largest coal-producing state in the union, Wyoming. There are many others.
To be fair, I also saw a dragline operating along the interstate west of Laramie. So I’m NOT trying to pump up Wyoming as some bastion of earth justice. In fact its Wyoming’s status as a coal giant that makes the windmills even more remarkable. Someone somewhere in the midst of this coal-producing “extraction state” has seen the light on the future of coal in America. Someone in Wyoming has begun living in the future. Someone has invested in the future. Someone has decided to take action.
We may in the future really regret these windmills. We may discover some egregious reality associated with them. But for now, the egregious realities are associated with coal: lung disease, cancers, climate change, destruction of communities, the indignities of the industry, etc. We still don’t really know what to do with the fly ash.
I have a hope of a homeland that is not imprisoned by present matters but free to live into a better future.
My first sermon was a practice sermon in seminary. The text was Jeremiah 32:1-15. Jeremiah buys a field in the middle of a war that he knows his people are going to lose. It was a symbol of hope, an investment in the future, notably a future that Jeremiah himself would never see. It has become a go-to text for me: powerful in my understanding of the life of faith. One current big regret is not being ‘a Jeremiah’ in West Virginia during my time there. WV needs some angel investors, those who see both the current conundrum AND the untapped potential of the land and people AND have the means and conviction to invest. I think the people of WV have worked hard enough for people to believe in them.
So on my cross-country journey, I have had a lot of time to think. And the connections can be sometimes dizzying, even to me. I am sad to leave WV. Excited to enter Portland. Ready to reunite with my wife and kids. Worried about mom and dad. Emboldened by my past failures and lessons. Scared of failure. In need of God’s grace.