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Questions (courtesy of Rob Bell) – Part 2

March 30, 2008

Yesterday, March 29th, was Earth Hour.  So today we will look at the issue of the environment and its importance. We will continue this series of posts with questions from Rob Bell’s Velvet Elvis book.  In one of the passages of the book he makes the case that Christians should be environmentalists.  This stands in stark contrast to the reality that I see. Most Christians or the “religious right” mock those interested in environmental issues as “tree hugging liberals.”  And yet, Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden with specific instructions to care for the earth and all that is in it.  Bell writes:

 “God then makes people whom he puts right in the middle of all this loaded creation, commanding them to care for creation, to manage it, to lovingly use it, to creatively order it.  The words he gives are words of loving service and thoughtful use.  From day one (which is really day six), they are in intimate relationship and interaction with their environment.  They are environmentalists.  Being deeply connected with their environment is who they are.  For them to be anything else or to deny their divine responsibility to care for all that God has made would be to deny something that is at the core of their existence.  This is why litter and pollution are spiritual issues.” 

Have you made any changes in how you care for the world you live in? If so, do you feel God has instructed you to do so.  Why hasn’t the church embraced the issues of taking better care of our environment? 

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. April 1, 2008 12:07 pm

    Good post. Funny you should post this as I was pondering the same. Being a “tree hugger” (as we have been dubbed) should be a large part of the base of our spiritual foundation.

    B.

  2. April 1, 2008 12:26 pm

    to answer your questions, it is my feeling that stereotyping has kept, what the masses refer to as “the church”, from being more environmentally driven. The “liberal” term given to any and all who love the earth or preach better stewardship of it has been given a bad wrap. Mike you know me, I am the furthest thing from “liberal” but I run around preaching the care for the environment. However those who really do not know me might say I was a liberal and automatically think I support the ridiculous antics of the crazies who will do harm while defending the earth.

    The Church wants to appeal to the masses. That is their goal. If they start preaching on how to be a better steward of the land, then that will drive a portion of followers out of the door. The masses do not want to be burdened with non-convenient ways of life. However, to best love the Earth God created for not only humans but all animals would mean to step out of your routine and make a life change. Like not eating takeout, spending a bit more for your food that you know was grown and produced properly and just saying no to some comforts that we have been brain washed into thinking was the correct way of life.

    I could ramble on but will not. I will end by saying I still have a long way to go but each day try and find better ways of living easier on the earth and so should every human who takes a breath or drinks a glass of water.

  3. April 1, 2008 1:08 pm

    I’d agree we should be doing a better job of being earth-responsible, as an act of worship. Sadly, I just recently began taking small steps. I recycle dry cleaning hangers (I’m probably doing harm by using the DC but have you tried to iron linen?!) and I told Chad a couple of weeks ago I’m going to purchase the reusable grocery bags from Crest. There are several things i know I should be doing. .. but cloth diapers for baby Jack? NO CAN DO.

    B makes a good point about those actively caring for the environment are quickly labled liberal. I know it’s not universally true. Perhaps too many have interpreted the saying “Worship the Creator and not the creation” as meaning we should have no appreciation or assume no responsibility in caring for the creation. Shame on us. (read: me). We should certainly pay attention as a spiritual act of worship.

    Good post.

  4. Mike High permalink*
    April 1, 2008 11:42 pm

    I agree with a lot of what you both say. Here are my thoughts. Many people hesitate to show concern for the environment because of how the issue has been politicized. The media has portrayed the environmental issue as one of importance for the “left” and if we aren’t in political agreement then how could we support such an issue. And I do think we have a moral obligation to protect and care for the environment.

    With that being said, I think there is a point where I would differ with the radical environmentalist. Many times the issue is presented that we can alter the way we live and how we use the earth’s resources and the earth will go on forever. We know from biblical prophecy that no matter what steps we take, the degradation of this earth is inevitable.

    So I think we need to find a balance in how far we choose to take our mandate from God to care for the earth we live on.

  5. April 2, 2008 8:30 am

    Mike, yes there is a happy balance but right now we are way out. We can not go along mashing the pedal to the floor with our head up our ass thinking oh God is in control and he will always provide. Yes he will always provide but he will also get pissed off and show us just how mad he is. Like in Hurricanes, Tsunamis, F5 tornados, earth quakes. Watch the movie Garbage Warrior on the Sundance Channel and you will see how out of balance we (government mostly) are in. You will also see an example of God getting pissed off and a man listening and reacting in a postive way and making a difference.

    God knows there are times he needs to clean the slate so that we think differently and over the last few years, natural disasters have been historical. In my opinion that is God saying YO rethink your actions. Live cleaner.

    Are we facing global warming? Not in our life time! But Jordan’s, Alies, Jacobs, my kids and their kids. They need us to be wise so they can live the good life we do. It is a selfish action not to care for the earth because our actions will not effect our life. It is always funny to me how those who are out there preaching cleaner living get laughed at. They are not doing it for themselves, they are doing it for the children and the unborn.

    Anyway, I am rambling sorry. I have to go get in my F250 diesel truck and drive all over OKC working 🙂 I need a solid couple of weeks to get my grease processer going 🙂

    B.

  6. April 2, 2008 8:31 am

    PS.. I miss your company!

  7. April 2, 2008 12:56 pm

    I’m all for taking care of this earth. No doubt we can make a ton of garbage, that’s for sure. I’m great with taking steps to a better environment. Even though the end will come, we could go out looking good couldn’t we?

  8. April 7, 2008 8:32 pm

    I agree with what Rob Bell says about this subject, as well as most of the response posts I have read on here.

    I think that we do need to make a change for the better as an act of worship like Kim stated earlier, not as an act of duty, because like Mike said this earth is coming to an end sooner or later, so just like any thing else we do, it should be done for His glory alone, not to become some gung-ho zealot set on trying to change an inevitable fact.

    B. I understand your passion for this issue or at least I do to some extent, but I would have to say that yes some might say God is “pissed off” at the world, but I would venture to say that it has more to do with the whole us blatantly dis obeying him and choosing to go astray after our own ways thing, and less to do with the fact we killed and our killing his planet. He says you reap what you sow, and one could say the disasters and such can be a form of Gods judgement, but very well could also just be mankind getting what we have given, which is disaster.

    -Interesting blog!

  9. tim permalink
    May 14, 2008 4:52 pm

    I wonder what would change in our view of environmental stewardship, and cultural and societal stewardship if we had a pre-dispensationalist view of the end times. What I mean is that, to my knowledge, the view that we have the end of the world figured out by looking at a combination of scriptures in Revelation and Daniel is only about 150 years old. How would we view the environment if we were indoctrinated on the church’s majority interpretation (if there was one) prior to that?

    Similarly, how would we view it if we lived in a pre-industrialized world or society where nature, including our own (notice my use of the possessive here) bodies and souls, are so commodified? Just something to ponder.

  10. tim permalink
    May 15, 2008 4:21 pm

    Something else:how does our naturalistic/scientific/mechanistic view of creation affect our view of human control over the rest of creation and God’s control of us?
    In what terms would the ancients have understood control? They probably weren’t imagining control of the type science allows us over many aspects of creation today-the ability to produce a desired result with 100 percent certainty if we add all the right variables. Instead of a test-tube, how would they have imagined it – the control a farmer has over a crop he plants, the control a father has over the sons he raises, the control a shepherd has over the well-being of his sheep?

    I think this question might be important in our understanding of what it means to say that God is sovereign.

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