With Easter and Earth Day being back to back, I wanted to dedicate a space for both. My faith and passion for sustainability are two that somehow don’t seem to “mesh” out in our modern culture. The majority of people think that Christians are against sustainability and that sustainability advocates are against Christians. That is furthest from the truth.
At my job, we are going through Adele Calhoun’s book called Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us, and if I’m being honest, I’m not a huge fan of the book. Some things seem redundant to me, yet her anecdote concerning sustainability expressed everything that I believe in.
“Scripture makes it clear that we are caretakers and stewards of all that God has made (Genisis). In the Old Testament, God’s people were to make sure the land and animals had a Sabbath rest (Leviticus 25). Just because land could yield crops every year and animals could work every day did not mean that they should. God asked us to respect the created order. For when we exploit this beautiful world we hurt not just the land and animals and air but ourselves as well. Environmental degradation increases the labor of those who already struggle to find water and collect natural resources. Economic productivity is never the last word when we are dealing with limited natural resources.
Often we believe that landowners have the right to determine what happens to their land….This mindset neglects the truth that this planet does not belong to us but to God….This world belongs to the Creator, and it is ours only in trust and by divine delegation.”Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us—Care of the Earth Chapter
Where Faith & SUstainability Meet
Christian or not, I think we can all agree that we live on borrowed land. The places that we reside, visit and admire aren’t ours.
I’m happy that Adele touched on the fact that environmental degradation affects people in developing nations the most. Those who rely on the environment’s resources see the effects before us in developed nations where we have the technology to grow food in climates where it shouldn’t, we can refrigerate food out of season and manipulate irrigation to work in our favor.
Without healthy soils, we cannot grow food to feed the hungry.
Without clean air and water, healing the sick will be redundant.
And there’s no point on clothing the naked with clothing made from people enslaved in factories.
In the thoughts and prayers culture that we have going on, let’s rethink it. Let our thoughts be the strategy to conserve the things that don’t belong to us as part of our legacy to future generations. And as we pray, ask how we can be the answer to prayer.
If you (someone of faith or not) take anything from this post is this: We are nothing without the earth. We cannot exist without it. It is our responsibility to take care of it.