Tag Archives: care of creation

notes

I spoke at church (Ranges Community Church) this morning about a topic I am attempting to learn more about and integrate into my life – care of creation.  Particularly apt because today was National Tree Planting Day.  The following is some of my sermon notes (requested by Scott).  Somehow I also managed to find a way to use a Dora the Explorer DVD – that’s what happens when you spend most of your time with a 2 year old and a 3 year old!

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 discipleship and God’s salvation purposes.

We need to think of the earth as God sees the earth.

It becomes increasingly clear that the Scriptures demonstrate God as being intimately involved in the natural world.

All of God’s creation is important to Him, down to the last sparrow and blade of grass.  The story of mankind in the bible begins in a garden and ends in a restored garden.  The first commission to God’s people is found in the opening chapters of Genesis to be caretakers of creation. 

There are lots of moments when God commits and recommits himself to creation and the redemption of creation and caring for the environment.

The Green Bible.  There are 490 references to heaven and 530 references to love in Scripture.  There is, however, over 1000 that refer to earth or creation.

Within the covenant found in Genesis 9 and because of this covenant we realise that God thinks that creation is important.  We realise how precious God considers life to be – all life – and how much God treasures his creation of earth. 

There can be no doubt that God is concerned with, involved with, and places value on creation.  All living creatures have inherent value for they have been created by God.

The bible clearly teaches that non-human creation has intrinsic value simply because it was created by God, not due to its usability or subservience to humans.  God loves the world (John 3:16). 

The non-human elements have value because the Creator of the cosmos deems them necessary for life.  God’s concern embraces not only individual men, women and children, but also the physical and biological environment which sustain their lives, and the social, economic, political and intellectual structures that shape the forms of their existence.

Creation care, in practical terms, includes making lifestyle decisions that do not put unnecessary demands on the environment and working towards renewing and respecting the earth.  Creation care theology recognises that Christ’s redemption reaches to all of creation and that God is intimately involved in the earth.

Finished by looking at my ‘Personal Theology of Care of Creation’ that I had to write for a class last semester which can be found here https://measuredwords2.wordpress.com/2009/05/22/oops/.


done and dusted

Those of you who have had to contend with my complaining about study this semester deserve medals.  Sadly I don’t have any medals – but I do have cupcakes if that will suffice!  Thank you my gracious friends – I truly am grateful for your support.  

The big essay is done and dusted.  I am quite happy with it actually.  Despite my big ‘opps’ moment of getting dates mixed up, I have loved this subject and the challenge’s it has provided.  I have learnt so much more than I imagined I would.  This subject was previously so foreign and I have had to really push myself to research and comprehend much of the required reading.  I love that process and particularly when the outcome is more than an essay; my theology has been radically transformed over the last 6 months. So I thought I should post a couple of snippets (at my discretion!) from the essay, they will obviously be my favourite bits!

Quick note 1: I have discovered a new (new to me) brilliant thinker, scholar, theologian named Willis Jenkins. I have become quite the fan of his work. He is worth reading if you are at all interested in care of creation theology (particularly his recent article in International Bulletin of Missionary Research is excellent).        

Quick note 2: I am really keen to explore the idea of salvation stories (see below) and the way in which we (Western, Anglo-Saxon, middle class people), and other cultures, not only tell the story of salvation, but what we decide comes under the umbrella of salvation.  Something to keep pondering and work on I think.

Little reminder of the essay questions:

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.

Couple of snippets:

The present struggle for the church is to displace humans from the centre of soteriology and instead take a careful and original look at salvation to deal with the problems of the environment (Jenkins, 2003:401, 402).  As Willis Jenkins suggests, more than ‘green-washing the church’ needs to occur if there is going to be an appropriate and biblical response to the current environmental crisis (Jenkins, 2003:403).  Jurgen Moltman, like Jenkins, suggests that the church’s salvation stories need to be reconstructed to introduce and implement a care of creation theology (Jenkins, 2003:403; Moltmann, 2000:110).  It will only be as the environment takes it place alongside humanity as having redemption qualities that care of creation will become an essential part of the church’s mission. 

The current environmental crisis leaves the church with a multitude of pertinent questions which will form and define the church’s ecclesiology, soteriology, missiology, and care of creation theology and praxis.  Missiology is more than a framework to validate care of creation; caring for creation has missiological implications and purposes.  Not simply because God has deemed creation to be part of Christ’s redemption, but because the degradation of the earth contributes to the degradation of the poor and powerless.  God has proclaimed that creation matters and that his redemption reaches to the created order. 

Whether or not the church can begin to make a connection between salvation and creation will radically change the way the world views the church, but more importantly, it will also determine the church’s mission to the world.

The local church finds itself in more than an ecological crisis; essentially it is also confronting a new and serious theological crisis.  The manner in which the church addresses the sociological and ecological place it finds itself will determine their way forward.


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.