Sunday, January 21, 2018

Environmental Stewardship: Romans 6:1

Here's Dad's Environmental Stewardship column for February:

Not too long ago, a member of my congregation complimented me on my Environmental Stewardship articles on climate change and global warming. (Like most males, I am a glutton for compliments.) But then this person essentially said that we need not change the way we live significantly; we should just trust in the Lord because God, after the flood, promised never again to destroy the world.

True, but He said nothing about what we might destroy.

Also, I should remind the reader that even with the worst case scenario, the earth will still be here and so will the cockroaches, carp and lots of other living creatures; we will just have made the earth close to unlivable for many or most human beings.
Joseph Sittler: Photo from
That member’s statement sounded an awful lot like what my favorite theologian, Joseph Sittler, had written about years ago. What follows is a direct quote from his writing in the Center for the Study of Campus Ministry Yearbook, 1977-78 as reprinted in “Joseph A. Sittler: Grace Notes and Other Fragments.”
“I meet it [soggy piety], for example, in people who, following a talk about the Christian responsibility for the care of the earth, will remark, ‘I hear what you say, it is very serious and we must do something about it; but I really trust in  the Lord. The Lord will not permit us to do this to his world. This is our Father’s world and he will see to it that we do not destroy it.’ The first person who said this to me took me rather aback because I had not met that one before. But neither, of course, had I met before the kind of jovial God who lets you romp all over his garden and will clean up the garbage after you have messed it up. I was hard put for a moment – but by providential help, for only a moment.
“I remembered a wonderful passage in the prophets – you remember – where God is talking to a prophet who has worked very hard at a certain vocation and has become quite discouraged. The prophet is taking the matter up with God and says, ‘I seem to be working hard at it, but I’m not getting anywhere.’ And God says, ‘I will send my servant Nebuchadnezzar.’ And the prophet says, ‘How’s that again? That guy? You really mean you are going to let Nebuchadnezzar serve your purposes?’ God says, ‘You heard me! I will send my servant Nebuchadnezzar.’
“So not all the purposes of God are realized in the hands of the church, but God is a God of judgement as well as of grace; you cannot get away endlessly with rapacity toward his creation.”

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