“Theology in Support of Simplicity and Eco-Justice” in Simpler Living, Compassionate Life

To see a general overview of Simpler Living, Compassionate Life click here.

In this section (Theology in Support of Simplicity and Eco-Justice): “Some Notes from Belshaz’zar’s Feast” by Timothy Weiskel (161-174); “Creation’s Care and Keeping” by Calvin DeWitt (175-179); “The Discipline of Simplicity” by Richard J. Foster (180-190)

Each essay in this section looks to the Bible as a guide in response to the ecological crisis. Weiskel echos earlier sections that call out our idolatry to over-consumption and money. For those wanting an exclusively hopeful response to the environmental crisis, this article will be a disappointment. It honestly looks at the reality of our parasitic co-existence with the Earth and its inhabitants. It argues that the only way forward begins with a deconstruction of what we have always expected, so that we may build a new priority and understanding of our place in the world. It holds cautious hope, but also realizes that it might be too late.

DeWitt’s reflections provide a useful Biblical grounding. This may be especially beneficial for communities beginning their journey in creation care.

In the final article, simplicity is considered as a way of life that is both an inward and outward reality. It establishes the necessary connections between a state of mind and actions. It begins to close the circle of the arc of this book that began with the necessity of affirming the sacred nature of the experience of every living thing.

In my opinion, if you chose to only read one section of this book, pick this one. It captures the Biblical and faith inspired foundation of the movement toward simplicity and implicates those of us who are participants in a culture of over-consumption for the damage we’ve done to the gift we’ve been given.

I Love God’s Green Earth by Michael and Caroline Carroll

Image courtesy of tyndale.com

I Love God’s Green Earth is a three-month devotional for kids who want to connect their Christian faith to learning more about the world and how to care for it. The devotional offers ninety days of exploration of the creation and faith. Each day begins with a Bible verse and short devotional on the topic of the day. Daily connections link the devotional to personal faith and “What can I do?” gives examples of easy actions to take care of God’s creation. “Crazy facts” and jokes sprinkled throughout the devotion break up the serious topics.

A wide range of topics are covered including energy production, endangered animals, and creative solutions to recycling. In the first ten days, I was disappointed that many of the “What can I do?” sections recommended reflecting and “relaying” thoughts to God instead of specific actions that can be taken. However, after the early days, the book managed to find a balance of action and reflection in its recommendations. It also offered many websites for readers to learn more about topics they were of interest and take their own initiative in creating change. This section of the devotional also gives space for children to reflect and engage big conversations around creation care from nuclear power to endangered animals.

While it does not take as strong a stance on global warming as I would have liked, it recognizes the changing climate and acknowledges human influence on the changing climate. I was impressed by the range of topics it covered and pleased with the action suggestions. Though it was published in 2010, this book’s introductory approach to faith and care for creation has prevented it from becoming outdated. This is a wonderful resource for families and Sunday school leaders across Christian denominations. It can be purchased through most major retail sellers as well as the publisher’s website directly, which offers discounts for single and bulk purchases.

To visit the publisher’s website click here. For a 25 page excerpt of the devotional including the table of contents click here. A brief bio on author Caroline can be found here and one on Michael can be found here.

Engaged Organizations: The Green Seminary Initiative

Picture courtesy of greenseminaries.org

The Green Seminary Initiative is a program that encourages schools of theology to be participants and keepers of God’s creation. They provide strategies and guidance for theology schools to assist them in “greening” their buildings and lives. They believe that the religious community has a significant role in solving the human-caused environmental destruction and this process begins in schools. To learn more about the programs that are offered and the different initiatives they are taking, click here.

Let All Creation Praise

Picture courtesy of paxgaia.ca

Let All Creation Praise is an initiative to provide resources for Christian worship to promote love of and care for God’s creation. They offer resources to help congregations learn to celebrate God’s love for creation, to worship God with creation, to help restore the relationship between nature and humans, and to foster love for God’s whole creation. They believe that care for creation should be integral to the life of all Christians and that it brings humans into the right relationship with God. To learn more and utilize their resources, click here.

Christians and Endangered Species

Photo Credit: http://www.reef2rainforest.com/ 2014/03/31/banggai-cardinal-moves-closer-to-endangered-species-listing/

A study was conducted to see the importance endangered species are to Christian religions. Citing biblical text, especially the story of Noah’s Ark, many religions have deemed that preserving and caring for all living creatures is of the utmost importance. To read more about the importance of all creatures to Christians, check out the full study here.


Environmental Statement – Mennonite Church

Photo Credit: http://www.mennonitechurch.ca/about/viguidelines.htm

Like many other religions, the Mennonite Church has released a statement about the need to take care of our environment. They are encouraging this attitude among their members by using biblical text, helping people choose simpler lifestyles, and seeking justice for the environment. To read the full statement, click here.

For more on the Mennonite Church, check out their homepage.

Environmental Statement – Presbyterian Church

The Presbyterian Church has an environmental statement that is similar to many other churches, citing biblical text and discussing our responsibilities as stewards of the earth.

Photo Credit: http://www.pittsboropres.org/

This document goes into what humanity has done, and why the Presbyterian church is responding to the massive amount of environmental degradation. To read the entire statement, follow this link. For a more interactive and shorter read that sums up their stances, click here. 

On their website, found here, you can check out how the environmental ministries are encouraging congregations to get involved and enact ecological justice. 

Environmental Statement – Church of the Brethren

Our responsibility to the earth and all creatures that inhabit it are written in the Bible. From Genesis to the parables of Jesus, it is explicitly stated that we must be caring stewards of the earth.

Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Church_of_the_Brethren

In order to reverse the damage that humankind has done, the Church of the Brethren is calling its own members as well as all people to action. Not only that, but they are also calling upon the government to be more supportive of environmental policies and clean up.

To read the full statement by the Church of the Brethren, click here.

To learn more about the Church of Brethren, follow this link.

Environmental Statement – American Baptist Churches

According to the American Baptists, this planet was made in creation by God. We were, and still are, entrusted with its care. We must be stewards of our home and not abuse it if we wish to continue on as a species.

Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ American_Baptist_Churches_USA

All of the environmental problems that exists today have stemmed from humanity’s greed. Science and technology are being abused and threaten to make problems worse, even though they have the power to make things better. In order to fix what humans have caused, we are called to recognize and preserve the earth and natural resources we have.

To read the full statement by the American Baptists, follow this link.

To check out more from the American Baptist Church in general, follow click here.


Environmental Statement – Evangelical Church

Evangelical Christians are calling for all people to be stewards of the earth. It is our fault that there has been so much damage done to the planet. We were entrusted to look after all of creation, and therefore, must start to take responsibility for our actions.

Photo Credit: http://www.ecglendive.com/

According to the Evangelical Declaration, The Bible tells us what our role is and what it is we must do. This statement by the Evangelical faith concedes that we must develop the earth to an extent, but we have taken it too far. We owe it to the future generations to preserve resources and help stop environmental degradation. To truly live out the Word of God, we must become more sustainable. To read the full declaration, click here.