Environmentalism and Christianity

As my politcal views have been shaped by my spiritual views, I’ve often wondered why certain aspects have been hard to mesh.  Like environmentalism:  Groups like Earth First, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and the Surfrider Foundation, are all groups that are fighting to keep the earth “green.”  Some on the above list act like “religious” groups, while others are really trying to get rid of the trash we see.  As an American, the advance of capitalism is the advance of individual liberty, something I am for, but it can also be the destruction of certain environments (I will get into those later).

For now, I want to focus on “stewardship.”  What is stewardship?  It can be defined as managing another’s property, or possessions.  An example right from the Bible is from Matthew 25:14-30 when Jesus talks about the 3 servants and the talents.  Two of the servants invest their talents (one talent possibly equalling 15 years salary) and double their investment.  The third buries it in the ground only to return the same amount to the Master.

In the example of the talents, one is given five, the second given two, and the last one.  None of us if gifted in the same way and so the differences in the story can be taken as such.  The similarities are the fact that the servant given five and the servant given two have managed the Master’s wealth well.  The last guy, even though he didn’t lose anything, didn’t do such a great job.

I believe as Christians some of us have mis-managed the environment and gotten on the wrong side (sometimes placed there by liberal environmentalists).  Other times we’re the one’s mis-understood.

God has given us a place to live.  The only place in the universe (yes, I believe that) that has life.  Not to give us glory, but to shout out His glory.  I hear Christians and conservatives complain about the next “green” trend, or having to recycle and I just don’t understand what your problem is. 

I get it that groups like Earth First have spiked trees in the past that have caused problems in the timber industry.  I believe a group like that has lost it’s credibility and I would never care what they have to say.  I’ve seen the pictures of Greenpeace activists going out to meet an oil freighter to protest fossil fuels only to be using Zodiacs with gasoline powered outboard motors.  The Sierra Club leaders have been shown driving gas guzzling Suburbans.

I don’t care about the “good” they do if they aren’t living what they preach.

As Christians, we seem to have a lot of liberty from grace and yet we should want to be obedient  because of that grace.  Being a good steward is being obedient.  Stewardship of property, finances, ministry, or whatever God has given you since all is His.  That includes the earth.  Not “Mother Earth.”  Just the earth.

It irks me to no end when I see a “NOTW” sticker on the back of a car and watch a gum wrapper come flying out the window.  Granted it’s not the trash left over from your #3 meal at Carl’s Jr., but still, throw your trash in the trash can.  Recycle EVERYTHING that can be.  Find ways to protect the environment every way possible.

Don’t get me wrong:  I don’t believe in Global Warming, or Climate Change, the way those who believe in such things do.  To them it is as much a religion as anything spiritual.  As a Christian, I know how the world will end and it will only be on the return of Jesus Christ.   If it happens that Armageddon is Global Warming, and not war with Russia, Iran, and Israel, then so be it.  We are not going to stop it as human beings.  So quit worrying about it.

What we can do is be better examples of stewards.  Pick up your trash.  Don’t do stupid things that burn up resources (it’s okay to drive a Suburban, though).  When I go surfing, I try to pick up the trash I see and put it in a trash can.  Whatever the little things you can do will go a long way later on.

As far as capitalism causing some of the problems, I will only concede that progress can cause some problems to the air we breathe, and the water we drink.  So I won’t defend it from the bad it can cause.  But I also don’t trust my government to make it better.  The people will make it better.

I belong to the Surfrider Foundation and there are two things it does:  Protects the oceans from pollution, and protects beach access from the people who want to close that access to people who don’t live there.  I don’t always agree with their environmental stance, but they mostly do good things for it. 

There is way too much for me to write about on this subject and unless I’m willing to write a book (I’m not) it just won’t get said, so any comments asking about this, that, or the other thing may never be answered, but know that as stewards of God’s earth, we need to be “good” stewards.

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