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Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Tree Huggers
I work at a homeschool co-op housed in a local church for a couple of hours a week, teaching science to kindergartners and first graders. It's been a lot of fun, but I keep butting against issues that really grate me. One such example is that the other teacher I partner with and I decided to e-mail our lesson plans to parents rather than printing hard copies. Why kill a tree when they can just read a computer screen, right? Wrong. Apparently someone opposed this idea to the point of complaining to our supervisor (without coming directly to us, I might add). So...back to wasting paper for us.

It has me thinking about an issue I've wrestled with before. Why do Christians traditionally tend to be so resistant to any efforts at conservation? As children of the One who created this beautiful planet as a present for us, shouldn't we be all that more protective of the inheritance we received from the beginning of time? What efforts are we as the Church taking, or should we be taking, to care for creation? I found two links with lots of practical ideas to get us started.

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posted by Cary Fuller at 11:20 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 11/02/2006 01:15:00 AM, Anonymous Donny Pauling

    I love the idea of this blog. I've added it to my Google blog reader in hopes that I'll be able to enjoy the writings of several of your contributors.

  • At 11/02/2006 06:50:00 AM, Anonymous Matt Stone

    Some of it comes down to deficient eschatologies, that is, deficient understandings of the Kingdom of God.

    Quite simply, people who believe the earth is to be 'left behind' don't seem to care so much about conserving what's only doomed to destruction.

    On the other hand, if you see the Kingdom of God as more of a global resurrection, and see that the whole earth groans for the Children of God to be revealled, well, getting in and helping out is only getting a head start.

  • At 11/02/2006 07:49:00 AM, Blogger lydia

    Why do Christians traditionally tend to be so resistant to any efforts at conservation?

    Part of the answer is political.

    I've known some christians who see conservation as a liberal, hippie (and possibly neo-pagan) issue. IMO some of the resistance comes from a fear of being associated with those kind of people.

  • At 11/02/2006 08:54:00 AM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    Maybe someone make a bumper sticker,

    "Proud Hippy Christian."


  • At 11/02/2006 09:42:00 AM, Blogger Melanie@Abri

    I think it's down to deficient eschatologies as Matt said. I think there are people who believe that the quicker the earth is destroyed, the quicker Jesus will come back! I think I would be pretty embarassed if Jesus came back now.

  • At 11/02/2006 09:52:00 AM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    For goodness sakes, if God entrusts us with the earth and we drench it in slime, well depending on your eschatology, maybe Jesus will come back sooner...but if we are the servants who've supported the slime drenching, do we really want to face our Lord? Hurting the environment hurts people too -- especially poor people who live and work in the most toxic places. We should be ashamed! God forbid that Jesus come back with us proudly sliming the earth in the name of God!

  • At 11/02/2006 11:01:00 AM, Blogger Angela K

    Thankfully, it would seem more Christians are waking up to our mandate to care for all of creation. You may be interested in the link to earthkeeping resources found at http://www.emergentvillage.com/weblog/emergent-village-earthkeeping-a-conservation-conversation

    - Angela Kantola

  • At 11/02/2006 11:06:00 AM, Blogger lydia

    Two posts in one here...

    1) Welcome Donny.

    2) the quicker the earth is destroyed, the quicker Jesus will come back!

    Why does this sound like the plot of an 80's blockbuster to me? I can just see The Terminator mowing down the natural world in an attempt to lure Jesus out of hiding. :D

  • At 11/02/2006 11:32:00 AM, Blogger caz

    I am studying theology of ecology this week in my theology class, and the reading has been pretty condemning of me. I see how I am so guilty of many of the attitudes already mentioned. I think I have fallen in the "I was created to have power over the earth" camp, which I think I have pulled away from as I see how the same attitude is often what keeps women dominated in our modern Christian culture.

    But then I pick up Christianity Today last night and started reading an article on Wendell Berry and am hit with the knowledge that everytime we power up our computers we are gouging out coal from the Appalachia Mountains for electricity (which Berry referred to as the "hidden costs" that we rarely consider in our consumption). So I read this post and have to ask if reading handouts online is any better than just printing them off? How do we balance our consumption since there is no way around consuming?

    I read a book this summer that really stuck with me called Crunchy Conservatism by Rod Dreher. I can definitely see how I have allowed political loyalties skew my ideas about broader issues so I could "toe the party line." But this book gave me a different vision of how to truly be about conservation in a conservative way. I highly recommend the book for those that still feel conservative politically but have a hard time aligning themselves with current so-called conservative leadership and issues.

    Great post Cary!

  • At 11/02/2006 01:27:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    Lydia, you're funny. I like your imagery; think it could preach.

  • At 11/02/2006 03:14:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    Donny - glad you found us, welcome to the conversation.

    I echo the ideas already mentioned here. I grew up thinking that environmentalism was a liberal (read evil) thing promoted by people who worship the creation more than the creator. The whole concept of being a good steward was never talked about. It makes no sense to me know. Even if you think this world will be "left behind" and that the new heaven and new earth will be completely new and not just a redemption of this one... how can we justify hurting it and ourselves? How selfish is it to want to pollute ouur air, rape the earth, and dump cancer causing toxis everywhere?

  • At 11/02/2006 03:25:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    I just sat down from a phone call with a family member, and here was this post. Funny thing is we were just "discussing" Revelation. My views are fairly undecided at this point, but I am not and never have been a big "Left Behind" supporter. She was "explaining" to me that we "are" in the end times, and it's pretty "checked" out(between Old and New Testament). She had to go, which I was sort of relieved by, since I grow weary of trying to explain why I think differently on many things. However, I agree with many of the comments. When we "are in the end times" ;) why would we need to do anything else. Many feel that this is just a part of prophecy, so it's being fulfilled, it never occurs to do something different, just in case we are wrong.


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