Monthly Archives: May 2009

divine interconnectedness

It has been confronting working through some of these issues of God’s view of creation and His intimate involvement with the earth.  No doubt my thoughts and theology have been radically challenged and have evolved accordingly.  However the ‘real life’ challenge has been in regards to my youngest daughter and her struggle with a multitude of health issues. The current challenge my little darling is facing is in regards to severe eczema. You don’t ever want to hear ‘that’s the worst I’ve ever seen’ from any doctor, but that’s what we keep hearing.  It has been so bad that her right eye has been partially closed due to swelling and eczema on the eye lid. 

It is distressing for her and heartbreaking for me/us. 

The doctors have put her on a range of drugs and steroids in the form of drops, creams, liquids and tablets.  It makes no sense to me to be exposing her to chemicals and drugs when her immune system is obviously struggling and reacting, but we didn’t feel like we had many options. 

So we decided take her back to a Naturopath who we have had great success with previously.  The Naturopath recommended a homeopathic remedy, a natural cream and a natural pro-biotic to boost her immune system.  

Within 24 hours of starting the natural/homeopathic remedies we saw a marked improvement. In fact it was almost shocking how quickly we saw an improvement.  And within a week you could barely see any sign of eczema.  It has been extraordinary.  We are relieved and grateful.    

For some reason the use of herbs and natural ingredients worked with our girl. 

Surely this reflects God’s involvement in the world and his desire for humanity to work with and for the earth as opposed to exploiting it.  I am challenged by the idea that there is a profound interconnectedness between humanity and the earth.  While homeopathic medicine may not be to everyone’s liking (that’s fine) it does raise questions as to how God created the world and perhaps there is the possibility that we were designed to work much more ‘with’ creation than against it or in authority over it?

I think it’s worth my time considering some of these things.  There is theological implications to a ‘divine interconnectedness’ that I find exciting and possibly revolutionary.

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these are a few of my favourite things…

‘That’s the best pumpkin based birthday cake I’ve ever had!’ – TS

‘I startled a weasel who startled me, and we exchanged a long glance. . . . Our eyes locked, and someone threw away the key.’ – Annie Dillard

‘Lets sit down and have a cup of tea and you can say the words in the book to me’. – my 3 year old daughter


oops

I thought I had a big essay due in today, but I got my dates totally mixed up and in fact I had a smaller assessment due in.  The assessment was to write a ‘Personal Theology of Care of Creation’ in 500 words.  I actually enjoyed doing this, I liked thinking it through and deciphering what I considered essential enough to be apart of a statement of my personal theology.   Because I had only limited time to do this in (my fault) it feels a little bit like a work in progress, but I think all theology (or understanding thereof) is a work in progress to some degree or another.  So this is it…

We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.

He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.   

 (Colossians 1: 15-20, The Message) 

 

Personal Theology of Care of Creation

I recognise and acknowledge God as the Creator. God has a constant and intimate involvement with the earth (Psalm 104).  God has concern for all creation and has made a lasting covenant with the whole earth (Gen. 9:9-17). God loves the world (John 3:16-17).

All living creatures have inherent value for they have been created by God.

My concern for the environment is founded on my relationship with God the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer of the earth and His mandate to humanity to care for creation (Gen 2:15; Psalm 24:1-2).

I believe that a biblical understanding of care of creation leads to an active involvement regarding environmental concerns.

Sin has damaged not only the relationship between humanity and non-human creation, but has injured creation itself (Romans 8:19-23).

The bible describes God’s plan of salvation to include the whole of creation, not humanity alone.  Christ will return to restore the whole of creation to God (Col 1:20).  Salvation includes the social, political, economic and ecological state of the earth. 

Through the Holy Spirit we are ambassadors of Christ’s redemption to all of creation.

Care of creation has its foundation in soteriology, which clearly proclaims Christs cosmic salvation work on the cross.

Considering the Scriptures, I believe that Christ’s universal work of redemption affirms that any care of creation activity has salvation consequences. 

I believe humanity is the imago Dei and therefore God’s ‘vice-regents’ on earth to care and nurture the earth as God does (Gen. 1:27).

I believe stewardship is the responsibility to care for the world wisely and conscientiously (Gen 1:26-30). Stewardship is a response to the biblical mandate to care for, cultivate and govern the earth on behalf of God.   

Humanity is not the pivotal focus of creation: God the Creator is.  All creation, including humanity, is called to worship the Creator (Psalm 148). 

The current environmental crisis suggests that Christianity has neglected their stewardship role, partly due to an anthropocentric reading of the Scriptures and understanding of salvation.  We have wrongfully assumed that creation exists for our own consumption rather than for God’s glory.

I believe Christians must repent of neglecting our biblical mandate to care for the earth.

I believe that Christian mission must declare and acknowledge God’s cosmic salvation purposes. 

We must care about environmental issues because we are called to love our neighbours and to protect and care for the poor and oppressed (Matt. 7:12, Matt. 22:34-40, Matt. 25:31-46).

I believe in proactively supporting fair-trade and environmental sustainable products and resources. 

I believe in using my ‘vote’ to influence governing bodies to address poverty and injustice, and to implement environmentally sustainable policies.

I believe that reconciliation is central to the call of the church and this must include the relationship of humanity with the non-human creation.

Care of creation must become central to Christian identity and experience, and ecclesial practise.

The current environmental crisis may require local church’s to change the manner and content of their salvation stories to include the biblical mandate to care for the earth.  Christians have a mission to the earth. 

The church must move away from consumerism and be an example of sustainability and environmental concern.


care of creation

 

IMG_4781I have spent a great deal of time over the last 3 months considering whether the likes of recycling, buying fair trade products or my use of electricity has any implications on my faith or in fact involved my faith at all.  While I am still thinking/reading/considering I am swiftly coming to the conclusion that yes – how I treat and use the earth and its resource’s  is an expression of my faith, whether I recognise it or not. 

It would be easy to feel overwhelmed and depressed about the current environmental crisis we find ourselves in.  And although it is serious and somewhat scary, as someone who believes in the God of Creation, I find myself being challenged and excited about the mandate we have to care for creation.  The salvation story of Christ involves all of creation, not just humanity.   

Below is the first draft on the introduction to an essay I am writing on this topic. It gives a little indication to where I’m heading.

The prevailing understanding of biblical texts and Christian traditions has been defined by its concentration on the relationship between humanity and God.  As a result there has been little attention to the environment in which this relationship takes place.  A close look at Scripture reveals that the natural world is also in relationship with God and must be included in a discussion of soteriology and missiology.


autumn

IMG_5087

 

 

 

I love autumn,

 

 

but I love my daughter’s picture of autumn more


sigh

I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wondering awed about on a splintered wreck I’ve come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty bats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them…   

 – Annie Dillard

 

…sigh…


essay

I am attempting to write an essay at the moment (obviously not going so well as I am totally distracted by this and other equally diverting websites).  It is a great essay topic and a great class, but I am finding it difficult to focus.  One of the reasons for this is that the essay is only 2500 words but I currently have 32 pages of typed, single-spaced research notes.   I don’t know what to do with it all.   I love the research element of writing essay’s.  I love finding obscure scholars, old and new.  I love discovering a new perspective on an old idea.  I love stripping back a topic to its bare basics and building it back together and seeing it look totally different to what I started with.  I love learning.

So the moral of the story is – just get on with it!

The class is: Theology, Mission and the Care of Creation

The essay question is: How does a ‘care for creation’ theology fit into a missiological context?  Discuss this relationship between ecology and the theology of salvation, taking into consideration how this affects the mission of the local church.

If you are even vaguely interested in the topic, any of the following are worth checking out:

Berry, R. J. (2003). God’s book of works. New York, NY: T & T Clark 

Bouma-Prediger, S. (2001). For the beauty of the earth. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic

Jenkins, W. (2008). Ecologies of grace. New York, NY: Oxford University Press

Moltmann, J. (1985). God in creation – an ecological doctrine of creation. London, UK: SCM Press

Sider, R. J. (2005) Rich Christians in an age of hunger. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson

Wright, N.T. (2007). Surprised by hope. London, UK: SPCK