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  • Direction: A Lament of the Earth
    they fill my lungs they choke me with factory and car With sewage they fill my veins my lifeblood fouled with stolen oil With filth and garbage they scar my flesh Gash me to hide their mess I am wounded for their transgressions and bruised because of their petty hungers I gasp falter shudder because of their sin and blaming You they call it an act of God They rape steal my shiny treasures of metal then hardly used they dump them back with not even a thank you 14 They entomb me in scorching pavement and I gasp they curse the heat with their air conditioners and I can breath no more They pillage my hills and valleys saying The trees will be with us always so that they can read of fashions famines and stock markets and trade a dying knowledge with each other Let the sinfulness of the sinners die O God let the polluters see the dead end of their ways On that day waste and destruction will become extinct squalor and blemish will be known no more Heavens will be glad and I will echo his praises my seas will thunder their hallelujahs and all

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  • Direction: Ecology According to the New Testament
    God s final triumph is comprehensive It is personal social and cosmic It means the restoration of all types of disorder and broken relationships that resulted from the invasion of sin Satan into the world 14 On the personal level it involves resurrection the renewal of bodily life Rom 8 23 through the final defeat of the power of death 1 Cor 15 26 Life bodily life was the original intent of creation 15 The kingdom also means restoration on the social level In Romans 14 17 Paul describes the kingdom of God with three Greek terms dikaiosyne righteousness justice eirene peace and chara joy These are loaded terms Dikaiosyne in its most basic sense means things or people being in right relationships Similarly eirene here signifies the Hebrew concept of shalom peace harmony wholeness prosperity physical well being 16 Joy is the natural expression of feeling when God s justice righteousness and peace emerge in God s reign cf Ps 97 1 The vision of the coming kingdom does not stop here but reaches out to embrace the entire cosmos The entirety of creation will be returned to its original state In continuity with the vision of Isaiah 65 66 the New Testament affirms that the final realization of God s rule means a new heaven and a new earth According to John the seer once God s rule is fully established Rev 11 15 18 and all God s enemies who are responsible for the destruction of the earth have been destroyed Rev 11 18 19 2 a new heaven and a new earth will emerge Rev 21 1 22 5 Just as the throne vision of Revelation 4 culminated in a reference to God s creative rule an act of re creation emerges from the throne at the end And the one who was seated on the throne said See I am making all things i e the entire universe new Rev 21 5 NRSV Accordingly Revelation 22 1 5 pictures the kingdom of God in which God s people shall reign for ever and ever as an Edenic paradise a return to primeval time before the invasion of the powers of chaos and sin As it is phrased in 2 Peter 3 13 But in accordance with his promise we wait for new heavens and anew earth where righteousness is at home NRSV Peter s speech in Acts 3 also contains a reference to this cosmic restoration 3 21 chronoi apokatastaseos panton the times of the reconstitution of all things 17 What is remarkable about this phrase is that it is also used by the historian Diodorus in the first century B C to refer to the restoration of the whole universe to perfection including the reversion of the stars to their original orbit or starting place 18 Acts 3 21 implies that this restoration will he experienced on earth mediated through the return of the 19 Messiah Perhaps the most important reference to this cosmic restoration is in Romans 8 18 25 Here Paul describes the coming glory which is a central attribute of the coming kingdom of God 19 All creation is restored People are redeemed to whole bodily life and nonhuman creation is set free from the bondage it is suffering under the weight of evil Indeed these two aspect of redemption human and nonhuman are integrally related one does not happen without the other 20 Other passages in Paul s letters confirm the importance for him of this comprehensive renewal of creation in Christ Paul speaks of the new creation 21 the reconciliation of the world kosmos 22 and the new humanity being renewed in the knowledge after the image of its Creator 23 While these texts refer to human redemption in particular it is clear that for Paul these notions embraced all of nonhuman creation as well 24 When he speaks of the reconciliation or justification of all things in Christ Paul refers to this final cosmic transformation 25 Not surprisingly then Paul claims that the Abrahamic promise to his descendants in faith involves the inheritance of the kosmos world universe Rom 4 13 Three other passages confirm that restored humanity s proper habitat is earth future salvation is not a disembodied spiritual existence in a transcendent heaven You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God and they will reign on the earth Rev 5 10 In this hymn to the slain but victorious Lamb the final vindication of God s people in the kingdom is seen as a new order on earth This is not simply a reference to a temporary state in a millennial kingdom before the consummation Rev 20 1 6 but to the final kingdom 26 Taking up the notion in Gen 1 26 that the original intention for humanity is a stewardly dominion on the earth 27 this verse envisions a time when God s people are co regents with God in the service of God s re creation Your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven Matt 6 10 This verse has a double reference It refers to the hope for the future transformation of all things in a new creation and to the hope for the arrival of God s order in the present world In both cases the prayer affirms that humanity s proper habitat in the kingdom as in creation is earth Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the land earth Matt 5 5 Here inheriting the land earth is equated with receiving the kingdom 28 Significantly it is the meek who will inherit the earth in God s future reign Those who will care for the earth in a non domineering non degrading way are the ones who are truly qualified to inherit the earth In continuity with the prophetic hope of the Old Testament then the New Testament envisions the kingdom of God as the new order in the age 20 to come The kingdom is that reality which results when the rule of Christ and of God is realized in all creation In radical discontinuity with the present order which is marred by sin and largely controlled by demonic powers the kingdom is a vision of things as they ought to be in the entire cosmos both human and nonhuman It is an order in which all things are in right relationship an order in which righteousness dwells While the focus of the kingdom of God in the New Testament is on human redemption the final restoration of humanity is inseparably linked with the restoration of all creation The definitive vision of salvation is that of a redeemed community of whole persons set within the context of a restored creation All creation is the object of God s ultimate redeeming act MINIMIZING THE COSMIC SHAPE OF SALVATION Unfortunately this emphasis of the New Testament on the cosmic and earthly dimensions of the final transformation is often overlooked or minimized in Christian theology Some for instance suppose that the present earth is completely temporal Is not the present world passing away to make way for a new heaven and earth If so why do Christians need to be concerned about the present state of the earth It is true that many New Testament texts refer to the passing away of heaven and earth based on Isaiah 51 6 But the following points should be noted First one can discern two trends in the New Testament in the interpretation of the cosmic restoration of Isaiah 65 17 Some texts imply a destruction and replacement of the old world 29 but the Pauline references imply a restoration of the present world 30 Thus Paul says that the present form schema of this world is passing away 1 Cor 7 31 NRSV The New Testament itself is in dialogue on this question 31 Second the problem is not with the creation itself but with sin Earth is being crushed under the weight of human sin and evil powers Thus the images of the earth s passing are more those of refinement and purification to rid creation of evil than those of outright destruction and replacement 32 God s interest in creation is evident in the announcement that those who destroy the earth will themselves be destroyed Rev 11 18 19 2 Third even the ideas of refinement or replacement do not necessarily mean than one should not care for the present creation One can point to the resurrection as a parallel The body is destroyed and raised with a new resurrection body but this does not mean that one is no longer to care for the present physical body Whether the old cosmos is restored or replaced redeemed humanity is always on a redeemed earth Earth is humanity s proper habitat 21 33 The cosmic shape of salvation is also minimized when salvation is seen in purely spiritual or heavenly terms This happens when the temporal tension of this age and the age to come is diminished so that the primary contrast in salvation becomes spatial earthly versus heavenly or spiritual According to the New Testament heaven is indeed where God s rule is now recognized and the spatial imagery of ascent is sometimes used to describe redemption 34 But the constant and fundamental affirmation of the New Testament is that God s rule will ultimately be manifested throughout the entire universe so that redeemed life will be fully experienced on a redeemed earth The final hope of Christians is not heaven but participation in God s restoration of all things GOD S REIGN AS A PRESENT ORDER OF RESTORATION The kingdom of God however is not simply a future order of salvation The Christian confession is that in Christ God s rule has already broken into the present order so that one can speak of the presence of the future 35 Even though the kingdom will be consummated in the future it has already been inaugurated in this age In Christ the end has become decisive and definitive for the present In the teaching of Jesus the kingdom of God fundamentally expresses the new vision of life in its fulness The kingdom is something that people must presently receive Mark 10 15 and is said to be within or among people Luke 17 21 The kingdom and its right relationships ought to be sought Matt 6 33 Luke 12 31 and to be prayed for as a present earthly reality Matt 6 10 The kingdom of God moreover is dynamically present in the life and mission of Jesus It is particularly in healing through the victory over the evil powers which corrupt this age that the kingdom is manifest Matt 12 28 Luke 11 20 The apostle Paul also affirms that in Christ the coming age has already invaded the present world In particular the resurrection of Jesus is the turning point announcing and validating the imminent arrival of the kingdom and already effecting changes in the present 36 Because the future renewal of all things has already begun to transform the present Paul can refer to being in Christ as already amounting to a new creation the reconciliation of the world and the renewal of the original image of God The presence of the kingdom means then that the restoration of creation s wholeness has already begun in a real evident and substantial way even though the kingdom will not be manifested in its totality and perfection until God s final triumph The New Testament speaks of the present experience of redemption only in terms of the human realm but as we shall see this theme has clear implications for broader ecological wholeness 22 GOD S REIGN AS A NEW ORDER OF CONDUCT Throughout the New Testament the imperative of Christian ethics and action is based squarely on the indicative of God s present and future redemptive activity Not surprisingly then the language of the kingdom of God in the New Testament includes a demand The right relationships that will characterize the coming kingdom must be pursued in the present world Matt 6 33 cf 5 20 7 21 In kingdom ethics means and ends are in harmony The ways of the future kingdom are already in effect As illustrated by John 18 36 kingdom citizens use the means of peacemaking and non violence as appropriate to the new era of peace Analogously the implication is that kingdom citizens live lifestyles that exhibit care of creation as appropriate to the new era of cosmic recreation Insofar as sin has caused a brokenness in humanity s relationships with nature and insofar as the restoration of all nonhuman creation is included in the coming kingdom it necessarily follows that righteousness includes a restored relationship with creation The ethic of peacemaking shalom building and nonviolence must be extended to embrace the relationship with creation 37 Although this notion is not explicit in the New Testament 38 biblical texts imply it Isaiah s vision of restored humanity and nature climaxes with the statement that there will no longer be any hurt or destruction in creation Isa 11 9 65 25 And John s vision of judgment states that those who destroy the earth will themselves be destroyed Rev 11 18 19 2 It is noteworthy that the prophetic critique of Rome in Rev 17 1 19 4 closely connects greed and the earth s destruction the insatiable desire for consumption and wealth is what results in the destruction of people and the earth Over twenty years ago Francis Schaeffer articulated the implications of present and future redemption for Christian care for nature s healing and balance as follows When we carry these ideas of substantial healing in the present over into the area of our relationship with nature there is an exact parallel On the basis of the fact that there is going to be total redemption in the future not only of humanity but of all creation the Christian who believes the Bible should be the person who with God s help and in the power of the Holy Spirit is treating nature now in the direction of the way nature will be then God s calling to the Christian now and to the Christian community in the area of nature just as it is in the area of personal Christian living in true spirituality is that we should exhibit a substantial healing here and now between humanity and nature and nature and itself as far as Christians can bring it to pass 23 39 In other words the vision of restoration in the coming kingdom defines the present tasks of redemptive action The futurity of the kingdom is not an occasion for escapism passivity or pessimism rather the coming kingdom guides and motivates present responsibilities in and for creation Since the kingdom is both present and future the believer lives in the balance between the already and the not yet of salvation Living with this tension keeps the believer from both passive pessimism and excessive optimism regarding the realization of God s renewing work in this age Even if ultimate redemption is unattainable before the end the Christian continues to work both stewardly because of God s first creative act and redemptively because of God s re creative act SUMMARY I have tried to show in this essay how the kingdom of God the central theme running through the New Testament has significant ecological implications These can be summarized briefly As a comprehensive vision for future salvation the kingdom entails the renewal of all creation human and natural This expectation is holistic it affirms the spiritual physical unity of the person it relates personal and social renewal it links human and cosmic aspects of redemption it affirms the interconnectedness of the spiritual and material dimensions of life and it means the ultimate unity of all things including heaven and earth so that God is all in all The kingdom unites creation and redemption redemption as recreation focuses back on the original creation Both are expressions of God s lordship In continuity with the Old Testament this New Testament hope sees the proper habitat for redeemed humanity on a redeemed earth But the New Testament also affirms that in Christ the kingdom has invaded the present Moreover the kingdom is not only a new order of salvation but a new order of relationships and conduct The presence of the kingdom means that Christians ought to order their lives in terms of the values and shape of the new and coming kingdom Since the righteousness of the kingdom means right relationships appropriate to the new and coming order Christians are led directly to an ethic of care for creation Instead of providing an occasion for the disregard and degradation of creation the vision of the future kingdom defines and motivates present ministries of reconciliation including earthkeeping The ecological implications of God s reign are both stewardly action because of God s first creative act and redemptive action because of God s re creative act When God reigns in the hearts of people and ultimately throughout the universe the earth will indeed rejoice 24 ENDNOTES Portions of this essay are taken by request from The Kingdom of God and Stewardship of Creation in The Environment and the Christian What Can We Learn from the New Testament ed Calvin DeWitt Grand Rapids Baker 1991 73 92 used with permission Thomas Berry The Spirituality of the Earth Riverdale Papers On the Earth Community New York Riverdale Center for Religious Research 6 9 Howard Snyder Liberating the Church The Ecology of Church and Kingdom Downers Grove Inter Varsity Press 1983 45 51 Wendell Berry Home Economics San Francisco North Point Press 1987 44 As H Snyder puts it The fruit of God s unhindered rule is shalom a life of harmony health and peace Thus

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  • Direction: Forward to the Garden of Eden
    the physical world 31 Such a conclusion about God s compassion accords with the way God s relationship to the world of nature is presented in Old Testament stories laws and poetry 6 The story of Jonah ends with the question And should I not pity Nineveh in which there are 120 000 persons and also much livestock Jon 4 11 It has been properly contended that the final question is a clue to the message of the entire book which is that God s concern extends beyond the particular people Israel to other of the world s people such as Assyria But with the final words and much livestock a twist is introduced In the preceding dialogue the conversation between God and Jonah has centered on the word pity which in Hebrew is a word associated with eyes overflowing with tears Divine compassion extends to the animal world God cares for the cows of Nineveh Jesus made the same point when he declared that God cares for the sparrows in Jerusalem God s laws mention a divine compassion for the world of birds as well as the world of animals When persons come upon a bird s nest the mother bird is not to be taken The reproduction of the species is safeguarded Deut 22 6 7 Jewish rabbis noted that this command about the mother bird is one of two obedience to which carries a promise of long life The other is honor of parents Exod 20 12 The ox who threshes is to be given nourishment Deut 25 4 Not to be dismissed as an add on but quite expressive of God s compassion is the Sabbath law which calls for owners of domestic animals to ensure that working animals get the day off Deut 5 14 There is even a law not to ignore a donkey or ox which has fallen in the road help him get it to its feet Deut 22 4 Similarly the Psalms declare that God s compassion is over all that he has made Ps 145 9 a compassion that is expressed in God s direct care for trees and animals Ps 104 14 16 Meister Eckhart a medieval mystic said The first outburst of everything God does is compassion 7 When from these Scriptures we come to Gen 2 15 it is quickly clear that to till the earth is not only to make it productive or even merely to preserve it The Hebrew word samar translated keep means to preserve but also to watch out for Beyond maintenance lest nature be depleted the mandate is to watch out for nature to tend it and to do so in the way God does namely with compassion The Day of the Lord will be ushered in as God comes fully on the scene and in righteousness and justice deals decisively with evil and then in lovingkindness and compassion restores shalom to individuals to the entire human society and to the world of nature God will rule and a new order will prevail That which the Old Testament calls The Day of the Lord the New Testament calls The Kingdom of God It will not be a surprise then to find that in the New Testament also the Kingdom of 32 God is not to be understood apart from transformation shalom and compassion All three impinge on the question of creation environment THE KINGDOM OF GOD Jesus came announcing the Kingdom of God Mark 1 15 He pointed to God s rule Luke the historian captures this focus in the book of Acts The opening verses raise the topic of the Kingdom of God 1 6 In the final chapter Paul is reported expounding about the Kingdom of God Acts 28 23 31 The early church encapsulated the Christian message in Kingdom of God terminology Like the Day of the Lord the Kingdom of God was associated with transformation shalom and compassion Transformation The term Kingdom of God pointed to a reality different from the present The news about the rule of a righteous King meant transformation John the revelator announced a time when the kingdoms of this world would become the Kingdom of our God Like the Day of the Lord with which it is really to be equated the Kingdom will not be ushered in apart from great convulsions even cosmic convulsions as God in his wrath judges evil Rev 6 17 In another pictorial Babylon representative of the world s evil system will be toppled Rev 18 19 The transformed time is one in which Babylon signifying evil is replaced in Jerusalem signifying the cleansed and holy The orientation of the Book of Revelation is future But as Bible readers know the Kingdom of God became present with Jesus and so is not to be conceptualized as future only Jesus said The Kingdom of God is among you He as the ruling figure was inaugurating the Kingdom of God with his ministry Like the Day of the Lord of which the prophets spoke the Kingdom of God was near In fact it was here present The coming of Jesus in the flesh represented the day when God was on the scene It was a time somewhat like a film preview when the world got a glimpse of the day monopolized by Yahweh On a personal level Jesus spoke of being born again as requisite to entry into the Kingdom of God John 3 3 cf 4 1 26 But Jesus had more in mind than the transformation of single persons He opened his Sermon on the Mount with an allusion to the kingdom and traced out a radically different ethic as appropriate to life in the kingdom As he said later his society was not a kingdom of this world but the church a transformed society On the level of nature and physical environment the New Testament while not expansive is not silent There is more than a hint

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  • Direction: Environmental Issues, Salvation History, and Decision Making
    of each to the others It is urgent that 41 Christians courageously apply this knowledge to the needs of our time Several key principles about God and his relationship with nature can be identified With these principles we have guidance in addressing environmental values and ethics The Sovereign God is Creator of Nature God is worthy of worship creation is not God pronounced his creation to be good Nature as God s creation is worthy of respect appreciation and enjoyment The notion that the material is evil and the non material is spiritual is a Greek view not a biblical one Nature is not a flawed ideal nor deliberately deceptive but is open to scrutiny and understanding by persons created in God s image So when God s creation struggles under ecological crises such problems are worthy of study understanding and problem solving Creation is a form of Revelation Scripture is the primary form of information about God Creation however is a further medium of revelation From nature one may learn about God s creativity and beauty One is amazed by fine detail intricacy and majestic open endedness and space We are reminded that God and his creation are not deliberately deceptive or misleading God is a God of truth It follows that contemporary animists and New Age philosophers have it all wrong Nature is not God is not sacred and God is not in nature in the sense of being found there but it does tell about God When humans despoil and destroy nature they obstruct creation s capacity to reveal the true God a reality about which evangelicals should be concerned Humans are Created Similar to Creation yet Unique There is an important unity of humanity with the rest of creation Scripture links God s creation of persons with other kinds of living beings such as vegetation birds and sea creatures But humans made in God s image are created unique and are separate from other living beings of creation To be in God s image means at least to have free will and the potential in Christ for righteousness justice compassion creativity care giving and forgiveness One implication is that humans have potentialities opportunities and responsibilities in common with God Since humans are held special in God s eyes an implication is that respectful and competent use of animals in research for the caring benefit of human well being is appropriate God Gave Humans Responsibility to Use and Care for Creation God provides that humans can use much of creation to meet their needs Humans are not expected to function only as an additional population of creatures They have free will and can make choices about how to use the rest of creation But humans also have responsibilities to creation as indicated by God s instructions that they cultivate and take care of it 42 Gen 2 15 There is no authorization to plunder the garden or to exploit it for selfish purposes or to destroy it in recreation God did not authorize Adam to gorge himself with garden products while starving Eve The directives were to take care of nature God s creation Stewardship implies care responsibility interest in the welfare of others and in creation itself over the longer term Stewardship implies responsibility far beyond self interest It implies planned and deliberate action Humans Freely Choosing Sin Face Serious Consequences Humans make selfish choices choosing to benefit themselves at the expense of others violating God s righteousness of justice love and stewardship Humans not only fulfill their needs but also their wishes and desires They place self interest ahead of the love of God and neighbor and so ahead of the pressing needs of the poor and disadvantaged and also of the needs of creation That human sin brings consequences upon nature is evident from Paul s explanation that the creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time Rom 8 19 21 22 Repentance Brings Substantial Healing Scripture repeatedly calls humans to repentance to remorse for sin and to a return to God and his righteousness Through Christ s death and resurrection there is a great healing that takes place in our relationship with God and with others as we repent return to the Lord and experience the joy of full forgiveness Nevertheless the damaging effects are real in all kinds of relationships and many effects remain even after repentance Abused children may suffer effects for life even after a parent has repented Nevertheless repentance is an essential step toward substantial healing As we repent of our neglect and selfishness in failing to take care of creation there is reason to expect substantial healing also for creation As in other relationships damaging effects may remain Still repentance is an essential step towards healing In summary a basic biblical theology of creation goes a long way toward clarifying an appropriate relationship among God humans and nature Only God is worthy of worship Nature should be respected enjoyed and studied but not worshipped Nature is substantially understandable and not deliberately deceptive or deceitful When it struggles under ecological crisis it is worthy of the best of human attention Nature reveals much about God so when we damage or destroy it we obscure its revelatory capacity and diminish the honor and glory due God Humans are one with nature in being part of God s physical structure of creation 43 yet unique in being created in God s image and in special relationship with God thus above nature Humans are called to use nature carefully to meet basic human needs and to take care of nature Humans have fallen into sin and tend to use nature selfishly often damaging

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  • Direction: What Are We Fighting For?
    mess and had fallen from an original state of grace I never knew whether my father believed God was a mathematician but he certainly believed God could count and that only by picking up God s rhythms were we able to regain power and beauty If you have never picked up a fly rod before you will soon find it both factually and theologically true that man by nature is a damn mess Until man is redeemed he will always take a fly rod too far back and loose all his power somewhere in the air since it is 50 natural for man to try and attain power without recovering grace 1976 2 4 What I am proposing is that as an example of working in a very concrete way in our communities farming suggests that we learn to inhabit the places in which we live with care and intimacy and that we tend to both our Christian stories and the land in order to prevent their erosion The activity of fishing adds another dimension to this sort of work it cannot be the work of control and power but instead involves the art of submitting power to grace which is to say that such work is inherently theological SUBMITTING POWER TO GRACE With the suggestiveness of farming and fishing let me propose that the so called environmental crisis is a sign of our failure to submit power to grace and to work toward the inhabitation of the places in which we live I can think of no better way to reflect on this failure than to ponder Bill McKibben s book The End of Nature McKibben s book is an eloquent and extended and slightly misguided reflection upon the agony of living in times when nature is dying in obvious ways The focus of McKibben s attention is the extent to which human beings seem bent upon turning the entire planet into a shopping mall It is with this imagery in mind that McKibben speaks of the end of nature The prospects of global warming ozone depletion and acid rain suggest that we have fundamentally altered the earth Having changed the atmosphere and the weather we are creating an insidious artificial world even with regard to the most fundamental elements of wind sun and rain In addition we have extended our assault upon the natural with the advent of genetic engineering which promises that whatever we have done to ourselves and nature we can change Genetic engineering according to McKibben promises crops that need little water and can survive the heat it promises cures for new ailments we are creating as well as old ones we ve yet to solve it promises survival in almost any environment we may create It promises total domination 1989 161 In short for McKibben climatic changes and genetic engineering raise serious questions about the restraints and limits within which we live It used to be these limits helped to define nature in our

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  • Direction: The Environment: What Can Christians Do?
    authorities in heavenly realms according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord Eph 3 10 11 NIV Many persons who are converted and who wish to honor God nevertheless give their best efforts to principalities the corporations which are ruled by the power of death Conversion is indispensable As part of that call to conversion the church must provide biblical models that these principalities and powers can emulate CALLED TO CREATION A MODEL OF A CHURCH IN ACTION In Edmonton Alberta through the efforts of a church related entity the Mennonite Central Committee MCC Employment Division there has been formed the Edmonton Recycling Society ERS Publicity in 1988 about its beginning featured the biblical text The earth is the Lord s and everything in it Ps 24 1 The proposal by ERS to the city of Edmonton to recycle its household waste was prefaced with Seek the welfare of the city for in its welfare you will find your welfare Jer 29 7 RSV ERS has a contract with the city to collect recyclables from 65 000 homes in north Edmonton The creation of ERS grew out of concern for the environment and the unemployed particularly unemployed with mental handicaps Its objective is not the maximization of profit but rather in the words of its motto Conserving creation creating employment Because maximization of profits is not its primary function ERS has deliberately developed a labor intensive rather than a capital intensive approach to operations It has a regular workforce of 75 80 people and goes out of its way to hire people with physical or mental disabilities refugees native people and people who are on social assistance welfare Just because profit is not a primary consideration does not mean good financial stewardship is optional It isn t Sound management is critically important Financial surpluses at the end of the year are to be allocated according to a policy established by the ERS Board prior to submitting the proposal to the City The five priorities for disbursement of financial surpluses are Profit sharing with employees Recycling additional commodities Providing work for more people Research into recycling more commodities 57 Return of funds to the City In negotiating the contract the City stated it wanted 50 of the surpluses returned before the other four priorities came into play and to date ERS has returned over 300 000 to the City in the form of profit shares Involvement of MCC and ERS in the environmental agenda has had a number of interesting by products The environmental benefits have been significant For example from January 1989 to December 31 1991 401 900 trees were spared and 165 million gallons of water saved from pollution by diverting newsprint out of the 71 000 cubic meters of landfill The savings from power generation from recycling this newsprint conserved 15 700 tons of coal which would have been converted into 27 600 tons of C02 59 000 kg of nitrogen oxides and

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  • Direction: Recent Christian Thinking on the Environment: A Bibliographical Essay
    feels for and acts as a tangible link to each and every part of creation Once again the natural world is seen to have emerged from a process of biological evolution In this picture God is portrayed as being definitely feminine for it is out of this body called Earth that life emerged God is not described as personal with human attributes because these are felt to result in unhelpful dualities Rather organic concepts such as the interrelationship of all living creatures is thought to be a more appropriate description of God There is within God a love beyond all comprehension that loves even what nature is forced to discard or consume There is a compassion that goes out to each living creature Each part of creation has intrinsic value if it has discernible interests in living with some degree of satisfaction or has interests that can be respected violated by human moral agents Non human entities have value due to their ability to experience Evidence for this is given by neurophysical biochemical behavioral and anatomical qualities tied to evolutionary theory In this view God does not assign goodness in the Genesis account of creation but rather recognizes that goodness is already present People are understood to be unique in that they are the only creatures capable of acting out a life centered theology The human purpose is to act as moral agents in a world where all of life does not necessarily have equal value The aim of a life centered theology is to reduce the loss of life to a minimal level overall There is an inherent integrity in creation that must be preserved Within process theology nature is seen as possessing its own creativity in which evil is an inevitable possibility of the evolutionary process God could not and cannot prevent evil To do so would be to interfere in the process of life God does however possess perfection In the midst of the disharmony and death present in the natural world God lures all creatures including people toward harmony and integrity This is redemption Having experienced such harmony a person should then act accordingly to preserve all forms of life as much as possible GOD AS SYMBOL The third picture of God is one of a symbol conceived by the human mind to meet specific human needs God is the ultimate point of reference for humanity and must therefore be allowed to expand to fit new situations as they arise Kaufman 1985 63 In this view how God relates to nature is really a question of how people relate to nature Historically there has never been a time when the human species has been capable of such massive destruction that the existence of life on this planet was at stake But this catastrophe may occur through nuclear or ecological means This condition has arisen due to an inherent tendency of human beings toward personal and social disintegration The blame for this present global crisis therefore falls

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  • Direction: The Environment and the Christian
    native people about their relationship to the land These statements are profoundly moving and thought provoking THE HISTORICAL AND THEOLOGICAL ROOTS OF OUR ECOLOGICAL PROBLEMS George Grant In Defense of North America in Technology and Empire Perspectives on North America Toronto House of Anansi Press 1969 26 pages Grant recognized as one of Canada s foremost political philosophers before his death in 1986 examines in particular the Calvinist Protestant heritage which conditioned those who came to the New World He describes the primal and shaping encounter of that mindset with the land That encounter undergirds our present struggles and is now part of us all whether Roman Catholic Protestant secular humanist or atheist Lynn White Jr The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis Science CLV March 10 1967 This well known and much debated essay has been reprinted many times e g in Francis A Schaeffer Pollution and the Death of Man The Christian View of Ecology Tyndale Publishers 1970 Despite generalizations assumptions and inaccuracies challenged over the past two and a half decades by others Lynn White Jr nevertheless poses the fundamental question of why scientific technological use and abuse of nature arose in a civilization strongly shaped by Western Christianity but not in the civilization which was penetrated by Eastern Christianity He extends the question of the relationship between the environmental problems and 67 religion beyond Protestantism to the whole Western heritage Phillip Sherrard The Eclipse of Man and Nature Enquiry into the Origins and Consequences of Modern Science U K Lindisfarne Press 1987 124 pages In a somewhat abstract and at times difficult style Sherrard nevertheless probes very deeply the theological developments in Western Christianity particularly the writings of Augustine and Aquinas which partially eclipsed the full understanding of man and his destiny and opened the way

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