As many of you know at this time of the year my thoughts and activities tend to revolve around the garden. This year, because of our preparations for launching the Mustard Seed Village I am focused a little more broadly on many elements of regional sustainability and faith. One thing that has encouraged me greatly is the number of books I have been sent in the last few months that look at Biblical aspects of sustainability.
First from a theological perspective Keeping God’s Good Earth: The Global environment in Biblical Perspective is well worth a read. It focuses on the question What exactly are a Christian’s environmental obligations? Contributors include Christopher Wright, Douglas Moo, David Toshio Tsumaura and David Gushee. It teams up scientists and Biblical scholars to discuss topics such as biodiversity, water resources, cities and the global environment, and environmental issues in one of the most comprehensive looks at Christianity and environmental responsibility I have seen for a long time.
This is a good book to read if you are in doubt as to your responsibility as a Christian. It is also a great resource for those of us who are wanting to educate others about their Biblical responsibility.
The time has come for evangelicals to care for – and not just talk about – the earth. The signatories to “An Evangelical Manifesto” were correct in recognizing that evangelicals must be concerned not only with the church but also the wider world, especially to the plight of millions who are poor, vulnerable, marginalized and without a voice in their communities. Let us extend this concern to all of creation. May the Lord wake us all up to our privileged status as his deputies and representatives and our responsibilities in caring for all of God’s good earth” (From the introduction)
The second book I received is probably my favourite. Walking Gently on the Earth by Lisa Graham McMinn and Megan Anna Neff that weaves Megan’s experiences of living in Africa and Lisa’s passionate inspiration regarding our need to get back to God’s shalom. They connect our everyday decisions about what what we wear and how we live to the impoverished garment workers in Indonesia, an unstable climate and those who profit from oppression. Story is such wonderful way to communicate truth and this Lisa and Anna do very well. They also provide a good array of resources and practical suggestions on how to reduce our ecological footprint. I finished this book feeling well informed and challenged once more by our need to live more simply and more caringly on the earth.
The question is: how do we live well in a world that is so intimately interconnected and united that we are like the crocodiles sharing the same core that sustains us? We are united by political and economic systems, and by our plantet’s water, air, oil, copper, coal and soil. to be compassionate and loving in our unity is to love ourselves collectively, to look out for our own best interests collectively. walking Gently on the Earth p 12
The third book is Green, American Style, by Anna M. Clark. This book is a very practical guide to going green. It explores the green movement from the diverse perspectives of business, faith and lifestyle showing us how the economic, physical and spiritual benefits of sustainable living and all interweave in our lives. Again this is a book full of stories gleaned from her interviews with green leaders ranging from oil tycoons to suburban chicken farmers. It is a great book to use if you are wondering about how to go green in every area of life – from business and economic investment to lifestyle choices. I think it is a great complement to Walking Gently on the Earth and would heartily recommend reading these books together as I did.
Being green isn’t about being perfect. It is about being a little bit better one step at a time until you look up and discover you’ve reached new heights and you’re taking others with you. I know because that is exactly what I’ve been doing for the past five years. When I first got into green living, I thought there were only a few places where it mattered in my life. The more you read, the more you’ll appreciate how few places there are where green doesn’t apply (Green, American Style p16)