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Hot Air and Tree Huggers - In Support of Christian Environmentalism

المؤلف: Peter Houston
التاريخ: 06.10.2010
Category: البيئة, الوكالة على الموارد, الفقر والغنى

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I remember when I went to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002 how organised many religious groups were.  Among the free resources being given away were books on Islam and Sustainable Development.  Turn a corner at the convention centre and you bumped into someone from the Bahá’í faith handing out tracts.  But where were the Christians?  No doubt individual Christians were involved at different levels of the summit, but it was a lost opportunity for Christian engagement on environmental concerns.

Fast-forward to the Third Lausanne Congress that will happen soon in Cape Town.  This conference will draw together Christian leaders from around the world to discuss Missio Dei – the Mission of God.  One of the tracks is the Environment.  Great, I thought, at last!  While some very helpful online Conversations have been posted ahead of the conference to aid in-house discussion ((, many of the responses from Christians show how far we have yet to go, with views that Environmentalism is pagan, irrelevant to the Church’s mission, an elitist power struggle, un-Christian, the prerogative of developed nations or simply a Western worldview.

I said as much at the recent General Synod of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa when two motions concerning environmental care were being debated.  The Anglican Church of Southern Africa, by passing the motions (one on the establishment of environmental networks at diocesan level, the other on engaging with the Climate Change COP-17 conference to be held in South Africa in 2011), is being groundbreaking in the Christian sphere.   But, I pointed out, that it all amounts to hot air if we are unable to action these motions at a practical level.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba is leading the way by repeatedly and prophetically speaking out on environmental concerns.  But we, in our individual churches, need to approach our members who are in local government, on city councils, in positions of power, to ensure proper planning is being done in areas of disaster/risk management, water conservation and efficient use of resources (NB. Electricity – fossil fuels).  We need to encourage members of our churches who are environmental scientists, and attending COP-17, by telling them we are praying for and value their work.  Finally, we need to take the opportunity to add our voices to initiatives in civil society that seek to pressurise politicians to go beyond the short-term time horizons of self-interest, self-preservation and re-election. 

For the sake of the poor and most vulnerable (the rich and powerful make a plan, as was evidenced in the Hurricane Katrina debacle), we need to use our various spheres of influence to ensure climate change and other environmental concerns are taken seriously.

The person who spoke next after me at synod on the climate change motion stole the show.  She was from Namibia and said that where she is from there is sea, sand and more sand… that she knows absolutely nothing about what is being spoken about.  But that she is SO excited.  Something must be done!

رابط لموقع إلكتروني:

كلمات مفتاحية: Environmentalism, Pagan, Western worldview, Missio Dei, African

محاورة نشر تعليق

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رد ضع علم 0 يعجبني لا يعجبني Ron-Allen_ (-1)
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This is a very big encouragement! This shows that when we work together we can help people in so many ways. At some points we need to put our differences to the side and work for those that are in need. Thank you for posting. Peace and Grace.

رد ضع علم 0 يعجبني لا يعجبني JoanieD (0)
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I love you article, and your view on the subject matter as a whole. I have watched some wonderful documentaries on the BYU channel & the Link Network within the last 6 months that have broadened my mind as to how the rest of the world is working in this realm. Also, as to how other missionaries are helping in poverty stricken countries. They have not merely gone and drilled for water, but also help the community business wise for the continued functioning of the water system; as to help understand the maintenance and even the financial aspects.

There are also groups that take seeds for gardening to very indigenous areas and help them start these gardens, and teach them to cook these new foods. While doing these things, and gaining their trust, they then start bringing Christ into the picture.

Another documtary I saw showed loggers taking the trees down nearly a block from an indigenous groups habitation, all for the sake of building some large money making building (I apologize that I cannot remember the exact details at this time). And, this was being done by their very own countrymen. So, with a situation as that what could we have done? A sincere question on my behalf...

Now, here in the US, cutting down soo many trees, and so-forth, to build all of the neighborhoods, for the sake of tons of housing communities that are continuously going into foreclosure, or even many are second homes; though, yes, most are necessary...However, we must admit that we have no right to complain soo much about the animals being in our backyards when we are building in their yards---taking away their yards...

رد ضع علم 0 يعجبني لا يعجبني padre_todd (0)
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Peter, you are right when you wrote that many Christians look at environmentalism as "pagan," "irrelevant," and "un-Christian."  I believe these misconceptions by Christians stem from the stereotypical imagines of environmetalists.  Unfortunately, many Christians do not realize (or will not admit) that the suffering of many in this world is directly related to environmental issues.  Deforestation, desertification, pollution, etc., adversely affects the lives of millions around the world each day.  "For the sake of the poor," Christians need to reconsider their commitment to environmental issues.  God has entrusted this world to us, and we need to do a better job caring for it. 

رد ضع علم 0 يعجبني لا يعجبني jdb11583 (2)
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@ padre_todd:

I completely agree with you. Much of the suffering in this world is because of the damage we have done to the environment. It is said to think of all the carcinogens that we release into the air on a daily bases. Taking care of the environment is something the church should be promoting. I can only imagine the impact it could have for people today and the people of tomorrow.

رد ضع علم 0 يعجبني لا يعجبني padre_todd (0)
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@ jdb11583:

Unfortunately, one does not have to look very far to see the environmental damage that humanity has done and continues to do to the planet.  I agree with you that the church has a responsibility in promoting creation care.  However, I have encountered so many Christians who are resistant to this idea.  Again, I think this resistance stems from the stereotypical view of environmentalists.  But, with the standard of living of so many being at stake around the world, I believe it is time for Christians to become the new face of an environmentalist.  As we carry the gospel of Christ to the world, we should also be addressing the environmental issues that are causing so many to suffer.

رد ضع علم 0 يعجبني لا يعجبني jdb11583 (2)
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I agree that Christians need to step up and advocate for the environment. As we can see from the Genesis account of creation, we were put in charge of this world (and honestly we are not doing a very good job at it).  I agree with friar58 that the democratic parties’ involvement plays a major role in deterring the support of other parties here in the States. Also, many label environmental advocates as “hippies,“ a label which also carries with it a negative connotation. What needs to be brought to light is the danger of not acting upon these environmental issues. We need to make it real for our churches and encouraging mission work that addresses these issues. We need to start at the bottom (us, the common folk) before we are ever going to be able to change the politicians. 

رد ضع علم 0 يعجبني لا يعجبني friar58 (1)
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One reason the church in the US has shunned the idea of evironmental care is because it began in our country as a project of the Democratic party.  Christians have been brainwashed into thinking that anything that comes from the Democratic party should be fought against and dismissed.  Because of that, the Christian church in the US is missing an opportunity to be a leader in this arena.

رد ضع علم 0 يعجبني لا يعجبني alearner (0)
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Thank you, Pete, for your comments and your challenges to us in the church.  I appreciate you giving us several suggestions of things we can do to help advocate for our environment.  What you say is so true, we must encourage the members of our local and national governments to legislate and  make policies in a way that protects our environment.  Instead, what I hear these days is talk about costs and politcal rethortic that includes the term you used in your title, "tree huggers."  The truth is, all Christians should be tree huggers. Al Gore has been made sport of more by Christians than any other group of people.  What does this say about our response to God’s command that we take care of His earth?


يتوجب عليك تسجيل الدخول أولاً لكي تتمكن من نشر تعليق. إذا لم يكن لديك حساب، يمكن التسجيل الآن (إنه مجاني وسهل!)

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PhContributeBy Pete_Houston
الموقع: Sheffield Beach
الدولة: جنوب أفريقيا

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