A week ago, I was scrolling through Facebook when a post from the Sierra Club showed up: Run the Zion National Park Centennial Race.
My reaction: Um, YES! Turns out this race is about so much more than just running 13.1 miles (which I would still be interested in). It is a race to promote awareness and raise funds for the Sierra Club so they can go out there and keep kicking butt for our public lands!
The Sierra Club does more than almost every other group to protect, conserve, and fight for our public lands. Their founder was the most adamant public lands proponent in history: John Muir.
John Muir found God in nature. He considered the mountains and forests sacred. They were "nature's cathedrals." Nature was a retreat for the "over-civilized"--a return home for those of us who had forgotten ourselves.
I have written in other blogs in this section how nature saved me...how it reminded me who I was so I could return to myself again. Three years ago, I was succumbing to over-civilization. I was literally spending hours a day in a cathedral at Duke Divinity School, but I had never felt more displaced from God's presence. I had forgotten who I was. Nature brought me home. By going outside, I was able to turn inward, and it saved me.
John Muir founded the Sierra Club to help make certain the lands he loved so much--the lands in which he saw and experienced the living God--would remain accessible to the nation's people forever. He wanted to make sure those of us who don't have the kind of money and power to create our own space to "play in and pray in" could find that space in the 59 national parks of the United States. He wanted to make sure no rich and powerful person could fence these spaces off for private use and misuse. Each one of us deserves a spot in nature to call our own and the ability to explore, learn, and be healed by nature.
We've all seen the various threats that have been levied against our public lands in the last three-plus years. With a president who probably fancies himself capable of buying the Vatican out from under the Pope should he choose (because he thinks he's that powerful and rich...) seeking to sell off all our cathedrals in nature, and a secretary of the interior who ignores the needs of the NPS and the lands he is supposed to be protecting, our national parks are at risk.
It is up to us, the owners of these, our public lands, to protect them from those who would destroy, privatize, or otherwise hurt them. That is what the Sierra Club fights every single day to do.
So they are asking individual runners like me to sign up to raise $1,000 in honor of Zion National Park's 100th Birthday celebration. How appropriate that this race is in "Zion," the biblical term for the sacred land of Israel. The name Zion implies that this is sacred land...that the living God dwells here...that those who enter here with reverence will be blessed.
I signed up to raise $1,000 for the Sierra Club by February 23, 2019, and I ask my readers and friends to join me in supporting the Club's mission.
Donate here, and together we will work to protect OUR National Parks.
Protect Our Lands
Donate to support the Sierra Club through my individual fundraiser today!