Monday, May 10, 2010

Christians and Environmental Responsibility

This will be a brief blog entry - something I am definitely not known for.

Friday afternoon I overheard a very unfortunate exchange involving two Christian leaders. Whether the exchange was in jest or not, sarcastic or not, I am not sure. I interpreted it as somewhat jesting, but based upon sincere foundations, and for that reason it troubled me greatly.

"Hey - is that a new truck you've been driving lately?"

"Yep - I'm just doing my part to consume as many of our precious resources as I can!"

The second individual seemed proud of themselves for purchasing a gas-guzzling, resource-consuming vehicle, which evidently was gratuitously unnecessary (it's not that this Christian leader was a farmer or rancher or construction worker or whatnot, that he needed the storage and/or towing capacity).

I am not sure how widespread the mentality is, but I am absolutely disgusted by the anti-environmentalism attitudes which affect at least some people in evangelical Christianity. There seems to be an approach that says, "Well, if the environmental movement is led primarily by non-Christian pagans, it must be the spawn of Satan; therefore, I will live in absolute opposition to everything they stad for." Yes, I exaggerate for the sake of making a point.

In Genesis 1, God commands His people to subdue (or control) the earth. He goes on to mandate our sovereignty (or rule) over Creation. Is our rule supposed to be selfish, consumptive, and rapacious? I see no biblical mandate for that. Rather, I see the biblical mandate for sovereignty to be focused on others, not self; the good of the ones being ruled, not the selfish interests of the one ruling. Why would our sovereignty over creation be any different?

What is the result of evangelical anti-environmentalism? (1) We are unfaithful to our biblical mandate to be stewards of God's Creation. (2) We become a laughing-stock, an item of derision, to mainstream society, which rightfully is more concerned about preservation and responsible treatment of Creation.

Brothers, this should not be. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. We can reject the pantheistic overtones of the mainstream environmental movement without embracing an unbiblical, materialistic anti-environmentalism. Of all people, Christians should be at the forefront of the Creation-care movement, seeking to exhort everyone to acknowledge that "This is My Father's World," that we do not have the right to rape and pillage God's Creation, but rather are called to exercise servant-leadership (stewardship) over what God has entrusted to our care.

Please, never, even in jest, suggest that you are doing your best to consume as much as possible, to waste as many resources as possible - the world sees, takes notice, and maligns the name of the One whom we represent when we do.