Christians and the Environment – Thoughts on Earth Day
The word “environmentalist” evokes images of tree-hugging hippies passing joints, tripping on LSD, and talking about free love. This image is just a stereotype, but it is a prevalent one. The environment seems to be one of those topics that Christians are silent about. The Church seems to have little to say about the environment.
I believe that we, as Christians, are called to take care of the planet and all its life forms (animals included!). I believe that every Christian should be an environmentalist. Two very important reasons come to mind:
God is Creator and he declared all creation good. God took great care in creating our world and the various forms of life. He created the heavenly bodies and the features of the earth. He created the birds, the fish, the animals, the plants, and he created humans in his own image. He declared that all of it was good. God carefully created the perfect conditions here on Earth to support life. God cares a great deal about his creation. So should we. If for no other reason we should care about it because he does.
We are entrusted with the care of this planet. God put Adam in charge of the earth. Adam was to work the ground and keep it. That was Adam’s job from the beginning: to take care of God’s creation.That task has passed to us. As people made in the image of God we should be taking care of the earth and all its inhabitants.
Since we should be actively taking care of the earth why are so many Christians content to ignore the environment?
Apathy. I believe that a lot of Christians just don’t care. We are so concerned with getting dinner on the table that we have no time to think about the environment or animal rights. Many Christians will happily go about their everyday business without giving the environment a second thought.
Overwhelm. We have other problems. People are going to hell. Who cares about the rainforest? We do. The fact that we are busy and that we have other problems does not excuse us from doing our part to care for and protect the earth. We can, and should, be addressing the many problems of our day.
We are entrusted with the care of this planet. Therefore, we should all be doing everything we can to care for it. We should be recycling. We should be using stainless steel water jugs and using cloth grocery bags. We should be supporting merchants that care for the environment. But more than anything, we should unite our collective voices to tell the world that we care about the environment. We cannot afford to keep silent. Silence on important issues is the reason that the church has become irrelevant.
Speaking out, followed by taking action, is the only way to get back on the world stage. We have been silent for too long about the environment, animal rights, hunger, human trafficking, and human rights. Because we have been silent the Church is seen as a group of people that think about Jesus and nothing else. We gather in buildings on Sunday to hear sermons and go back to our lives unchanged (rather than evoking change around us).
It is time for the Church to take a stand on important issues. We can’t continue to believe in a false dichotomy, where we can either address spiritual or social issues. We are called to do both. So this Earth Day think about what you, your family, your community, and your church can do to take care of the earth and to raise awareness about the care of the planet.