intensely trivial



Ecoreligion

Ecoreligion. The very word makes my blood boil, makes me want to act very unChristian. I’m part of that group much vilified by some evangelical Christians, those pagan treehuggers who believe in taking care of the environment. The word “ecoreligion” to me implies that taking care of the environment, rather than loving God and our neighbors, is the ultimate goal of us godless liberals’ devotion. Frankly, I think that’s a wrong judgment. I’ve had a deep conviction for a couple of years that good stewardship of the earth should be a pretty high priority for those who believe God created it and owns it. That’s why I recycle, stay away from almost everything disposable (except toilet paper; we haven’t made the switch there yet), dump all the drinking water left in our glasses into the houseplants, plant a garden, walk to pick up my daughter from preschool, keep the thermostat low, take the car when I could take the van, buy in bulk, eat vegetarian, etc., etc., etc. (I admit that my efforts are pretty paltry, considering; there are things that would be more effective on a global scale, but I haven’t figured out how to fit it all in. Blogging about it, I guess. 😉 )
All that sounds pretty virtuous to some people (except to the scoffers who think I should feel entitled to use whatever I want because I can afford it), but does that mean I’m worshipping the earth more than I’m worshipping God? I have thought about it for years.
Yesterday I went to a workshop on this thing called “environmental missions.” Simmer down, now, ye skeptics. Environmental missions is a term for the intersection of environment care and bringing news of redemption to the world. You’ve heard of teams of people doing hurricane or tsunami relief, right? Do it from a Christian perspective and it becomes “environmental missions.” We have a friend who led a group of Jesus followers to Africa to dig a well, making water available where it wasn’t before. That’s “environmental missions,” too.
With the escalating effects of climate change, residents of planet earth are going to experience some new situations. I realize that is pretty elementary to you, but I have to say this: I know some people who think the global-warming idea is a crock. On frigid winter days, people write in to my local newspaper, scoffing about global warming, as though our crazy Kansas weather that day is a good indicator of the state of the globe. However, scientists all agree the trend is that the earth is steadily warming. We don’t notice it on a daily basis, but eventually it will change things drastically.
On the plus side, Canada will have a longer growing season. This is good, because other places will be too warm to maintain needed levels of food production. However, there are many more negatives. (Of course there are; whenever we mess with God’s design, we screw things up.)
For example, 40 percent of the world’s population is dependent on water from Himalayan glaciers. Normally, those glaciers melt slowly, sending manageable trickles of water into streams and rivers, and supplying billions of people with water in countries such as China and India. Last summer in Bihar, India, a state with almost 83 million people, the worst flooding in 50 years occurred, destroying about 250,000 acres of farmland and displacing at least 2 million people. Local officials blame the flooding on global warming. They don’t think it’s a crock.
In Mumbai, in one day in 2005, 35 inches of rain fell, shutting down the banking system for three days. What havoc.
The poster child for the global-warming issue is Bangladesh. This geographically small country is the world’s most densely populated, aside from some city-states and island countries such as Bahrain. Bangladesh is situated on the Ganges Delta, and many millions of its people live just slightly above sea level. Check out this map:
bangladeshsealevelmap
Scientists estimate that if the Antarctic or Greenland ice shelves collapse, sea level will rise 8 meters worldwide. Do you see what that will do to Bangladesh? The article about Bangladesh on Wikipedia says there will be 25 million climate refugees in the future. If you want to know the details, check out this article.
I have two points I’m trying to make: 1) Global warming is real, and Christians need to take their heads out of the sand before they get flooded. And 2) For Jesus followers, taking care of the earth is not about worshipping the earth; it is about taking care of our fellow man. The world already has more environmental refugees than political ones. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but if you are a Christ follower, and you don’t care about the 150-200 million environmental refugees (some estimates as high as 1 billion) there will be by the year 2050, then you have a heart problem.
We certainly need to have a balance in our environmentalism; that is true. I just want to make an appeal to you to consider shouldering some of the responsibility, for Jesus’ sake.

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Comments

  1. I have no idea what I would be called, politically anymore. LOL
    However, I find my political views differ in many topics. I guess I would be considered middle-of-the-road on this one.
    While I entirely agree that we need to care for the earth God gave us, just as we need to care for our bodies, I also think there are a lot of people (not you) out there who do tend to have the pendulum swing a little too far on this.
    I don’t think the earth will flood out everywhere – God promised that He would never do that again. I don’t think that all the food will disappear – we’d all die and that’s not the plan He maps out for us anywhere in Scripture. I don’t think anything will happen that will wipe out all of humanity again (or all but a few people, such as Noah and his family), because we’ve been told in Scripture that there is a particular plan that is going to unfold, and decimation is not part of that plan.
    I do think that there are *massive* parts of the world that are effected by global warming, but that global warming is not on the scale that Al Gore would like to pump it up to be. While glaciers have been found to melt at “record” rates in certain years… it is found that most of those same glaciers refreeze at record rates in the next winter! http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?secid=1501&status=article&id=314237030606167&secure=1&show=1&rss=1

    I have met people who are “ecoreligious,” but you are far from one of them! I wouldn’t like to be pinned with the title, but I have met people that could easily wear it themselves, and some of them would wear it proudly. I would be shocked to hear anyone call you one!
    Sorry that was so long-winded. You and I are both really passionate about the subject!

    Posted 8 years, 4 months ago
  2. * manhattandoula says:

    God’s Dancing Child, thanks for your comments. I too am sure the whole world will not be flooded, because God said it wouldn’t. The scientific data wouldn’t substantiate that, either. But, as Dan pointed out, there are these terrifying predictions in Revelation about 1/3 of the earth’s population being wiped out by natural disasters (not necessarily by floods), so, um, I think earth’s population could be severely reduced. I’m not as skeptical about global warming as you are (obviously). I know conservatives hate Al Gore, and they think his movie is purely propaganda. But there are conservative counterpoints saying the same thing about climate change (Newt Gingrich has a book out about it, for example). What bothers me is that skepticism seems to be a convenient excuse for shrugging off responsibility.

    Posted 8 years, 4 months ago
  3. * Jill says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this, Rachel. One of my pet peeves is when it’s a really cold day, and a fellow Christian friend or relative looks at me, shakes his/her head, rolls his/her eyes, and makes some snide comment about global warming. I, too, think that “skepticism seems to be a convenient excuse for shrugging off responsibility.” I get infuriated when Christians show a blatant disregard for taking care of the earth–this earth that God created, this earth where we are supposed to be manifesting the kingdom of God.
    I love your passion.

    Posted 8 years, 4 months ago
  4. I agree with you that skepticism seems to be an excuse for not caring for the world God put us in.
    Most of those same Christians that guzzle gas in their SUV’s and don’t bat an eyelash to use up precious resources in regards to caring for God’s earth would be shocked to hear me if I said, “Who cares about your body? Just let it go downhill, God doesn’t mind.”
    Just as we’re to care for our bodies because He made it and gave it to us, we are to care for the earth as well.
    While I don’t hate Al Gore, I see that he does have a *lot* to gain by encouraging people to pay to “offset” their carbon footprint. I don’t think everything he says is hogwash. It would be foolish to do so. I just don’t think he’s telling all of the story, either. (Glaciers melting, as an example.)
    I do believe a massive chunk of population can be devastated, too. By many means, natural and unnatural. We do need to be cautious and keep our eye out.

    I hope you were not offended or put off by what I said earlier. 🙂 I did not intend any offense!

    Posted 8 years, 4 months ago
  5. * precisionink says:

    Save the Earth? Save ourselves, is more like it. Our Mother Earth will take care of herself, by eliminating us if necessary. God promised to take care of the Israelites, too, but only when they kept their part of the bargain, and acted without stupidity.

    Posted 8 years, 4 months ago


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