Environmental Resources

written on 25 November 2020 by Indy Hollway

Art by Benjamin Hollway

On Monday, Benjamin shared a little about his passion for the environment and our responsibility as Christians to be good stewards. Having known Benjamin many years now (and also being married to him), I know how much he cares about this issue and how he believes that good stewardship is at the heart of Christian faith.

When we started the Our Church Too project, our aim was to amplify the voices of those who are not usually heard. We decided early on to move away from the term 'voiceless' after receiving some really useful feedback from our contributors about harmful victimhood culture (more on this in a future post). We wholeheartedly stand behind this decision, as God gives an equally precious voice to all of us to express ourselves with, whether that be verbally, artistically, spiritually etc, and we are not giving voices to others, but merely listening to what they have to say. The earth on the other hand appears to be our one truly voiceless contributor: we cannot ask it what it has to say.

We can, however, look to the Bible, and listen to scientists who study the earth in an attempt to hear what the earth has to say. So here are some resources I hope you will find instructive and useful.

Why should we care for the earth?

Benjamin gave us a quick biblical exploration of this topic, but here are some further resources if you are interested in further reading.

Pope Francis' Encyclical.

Image of Pope Francis

"The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home."

These words speak for themselves. In a theologically grounded and compassionate way, Pope Francis entreats us to take the Bible seriously and explore what this means for us.

The Five Marks of Mission.

Anglican Commune logo

The Anglican community considers the safeguarding of the earth to be one of the five crucial steps of mission. This shows how important looking after the environment is as part of God's plan for this earth.

Religion in Environmental and Climate Change. 

Religion in Environmental and Climate Change book cover

This textbook has many chapters filled with information and perspectives from a variety of authors. This book not only presents a Christian point of view, but explores other religious world-views as well.

John Stott and Caring for God’s Creation.

Redeemer Logo

This article explores some of John Stott’s words about the environment. One quote reads:

“It seems quite inexplicable to me that there are some Christians who claim to love and worship God, to be disciples of Jesus, and yet have no concern for the earth that bears his stamp of ownership. They do not care about the abuse of the earth and indeed, by their wasteful and over-consumptive lifestyles, they contribute to it.”

Stott is well respected in the evangelical community, and does not hesitate to clearly communicate his view on the climate crisis.

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In summary, all these different authors come to the conclusion that the earth is God's creation, and we should respect it and care for it as much as we can. Not only is this part of our commission, but it is a way of worshipping Jesus and thanking Him for the beautiful earth God has provided.

What can we do?

There are so many ways that we can change our behaviour to take care of the environment. A quick Google search will encourage you to reduce meat consumption, cut out unnecessary energy usage, shop sustainably, and avoid flying. These sorts of day to day decisions are super important and often much easier than we think. I hope to share some more practical actions in upcoming weeks. However, one thing that is crucial, is to change our mindset of how we view the earth. The earth is a gift from God, sure, but it is not gifted to us so that we can do whatever we want with it. The earth is fragile and finite and as with all other gifts such as talent, wealth, and family, we are called to be good and generous stewards. When we can see taking care of the earth at the expense of our convenience as an act of worship, then we will truly be walking the path God laid out for us in Genesis. So, I encourage you to research the practicalities of becoming a more eco-friendly citizen whilst maintaining a heart of worship. This is hard, but crucial.