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God is Green

The following article was written a number of years ago as I struggled through how to align my concern for environmental matters with my Christian faith. Since then, my journey towards understanding Creator God, his creation, and the creative instinct within people has sparked a movement in my soul, lifestyle, and (incredibly) the people around me. This year Earth Day falls on Good Friday, the day when Christians remember the death of Jesus and look forward to the celebration of his resurrection on Easter Sunday. The end of the story of Jesus is that eventually all of life will be restored because of Jesus’ work on the cross. This means that part of the grand story of the Gospel includes the restoration of logged out old growth stands, readily available clean water, and air quality that this smoggy valley hasn’t seen in a long, long time. This Earth Day, remember Easter.

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Of all the stereotypes that have formed around what it means to be an  environmentalist, the one stereotype that I would like to see most  closely related with environmental consciousness would be “Christian.”  And while the granola-eating, organic, tree-hugging activists with  questionable hygiene and bad styles living out on the fringes of society  should be applauded for their care of creation, my hope is that one day  it is Christians who are most known for their environmental concern.

In the Christian church we often hear about Jesus’ Great Commission to  go out into the world preaching the Gospel, baptizing people, and  teaching them to obey Scripture. At the very beginning of the Bible, the  book that we claim to obey and organize our lives around, comes the  First Commission where Creator God commands that we care for and tend  the earth. Interestingly, we Christians have been up in arms for years  over the creation/evolution debate dumping time, energy, and resources  into defending our claim for a Creator God while largely ignoring to  care for His creation like He asked. Further, many bridges could be  built and many walls broken down when we recognize that, though there is  disagreement on the origins of our blue planet, there is wide scale  agreement that we must care for it.

Scripture is clear that creation was made for God (Col. 1), by God  (Genesis 1-2), and still belongs to God (Psalm 24). Additionally, Romans  1 tells us that God’s glory is revealed to Christian and non-Christian  alike through creation, which includes the beauty of Mt. Baker at first  light, the quiet gurgling of Clayburn Creek in the summer, and the  prominent Cheam range as you drive east on Highway 1. One prominent dead  theologian said it this way, “God writes the Gospel, not in the Bible  alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.”  Clearly, Christians should be known for their care of creation.

Thankfully, Christians around the world are beginning to respond to  Creator God’s call to tend and care for a planet under siege to  pollution, depleting resources, unsustainable development, and gross  imbalances of food and water supplies. Every personal, community, and  corporate action towards a greener lifestyle does count and is  significant no matter how small the action may appear. This call towards  an increasingly “green” lifestyle does not, however, come without cost.  It will cost your time. It will cost your comfort. It will cost your  convenience. It will cost your conscious. It might even cost you some  green. The question being, is it worth it?

I think it is.

The Christian church must respond to this call. Environmental concern in  not just a popular fad like tie-dye t-shirts or blogging, it is a  biblical mandate that can not be ignored. For Christians, we begin by  humbly repenting for our part in creation degradation and then actively  pursue how to reduce harm, reduce waste, and begin to restore what has  been lost.

This may mean that churches don’t supply Styrofoam cups for  the horrible church coffee that is consumed every Sunday morning or that  car pooling and energy efficient structures and methods are in place.  Maybe it means that the best parking spots are reserved for hybrid  vehicles, that church grounds have community gardens, or that bike  locks, lockers, and showers are provided to encourage people to bike,  blade, run, or skateboard to church. Creative solutions to creation care will be as unique to the church and individual as anything else. Not  everyone or every church can do everything, but everyone doing something  will add up.The God we serve is green, why shouldn’t we be also?

How are you changing and re-working your lifestyle to be creation care aware?

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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