While I know there are hundreds of other issues on the church’s agenda, it does not mean that one should be ignored or neglected due to other overwhelming issues. Some may argue that eco-concern is not pertinent because the church’s main focus should be upon proclaiming the good news of Christ, yet by suggesting that we are ignoring the full story of Christ. By seeking to help people discover who they are in relation to God, it will reveal also who they are in relation to each other and the World, because God came to us in the real time and space of history–into His physical creation.
Recently, the president-elect of the Christian Coalition was forced to step down because he wanted to extend the agenda beyond abortion and homosexuality to include Creation Care. This exemplifies, especially in the evanglelical church, the lack of motivation and concern for ecological issues–the focus is upon piety, but misses that ethical living with regards to the enviroment is also about piety. The church does have a responsibility, because poor eco-theology as witnessed in the Oklahoma Senator who has referred to Climate Change as a “hoax.” He also claims that it is anti-biblical because God tells Adam and Eve to “forcefully exploit” the earth in order to be fruitful and multiple.
This is an unfortunate rendering of Genesis 1:27, where God has given a humanity a vocation–the stewardship of the “good earth.” Also, since Revelation talks about the new heaven and earth coming down to this present reality, we see that from the beginning to the end God is intimately connected with His creation. This is most effectively revealed in the Incarnation. By Jesus Christ coming in flesh, and being bodily resurrected, it shows that God has self-limited Himself to show that this religion of His is not merely spiritual, but incorporates the reality of the physical world.
Therefore, while some may wish to argue that first we need to get folks “converted,” then we can get them living it out, they are missing the fundamental point of the Gospel. Evangelism and Discipleship cannot be divided, Christ’s call to Philip and Andrew was to come and follow him–to learn by living.
This means that we cannot ignore or neglect God’s call for us to be stewards to the world, to ignore the inconvenient truth that the way we are selfishly living and forcefully controlling the earth is counter to God’s principle call upon our lives.
We are called to live in relationship to God, to each other and to the world.
A great discussion that is more articulate and informative is on Bill Moyer’s Podcast, the episode is called “is God green?” It shows the variety of debates and movements within the evangelical church, and highlights that even a few are attempting to embody this call for Creation Care.
So, while we, the church, is trying to figure out AIDs in Africa, Poverty throughout the world, issues of homosexuality and abortion, war, famine, the salvation of individuals, postmodernism, postChristendom, and the host of other dealings in our society, let us consider ways that we can add eco-concern so that people will realize that their faith impacts every aspect of their life and is not just some Sunday spiritual experience.