Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Consider the Lilies

(Photo taken September 2007, somewhere in Nevada, by me.)



Have you ever felt like the Sunday sermon was meant for you? That perhaps it was God’s surprising way of answering a prayer or a long held question? Last Sunday our minister delivered a wonderful sermon, the topic of which I have never heard preached on in any church before, any where, ever. On that premise alone, it is incredibly brave to take on this topic from a Biblical perspective. The topic was on God’s relationship between man and nature.



This was very exciting to me for several reasons. First, we are nature lovers who care very much about good stewardship and humane treatment of God’s creation. Second, I believe that Christians across the board have done a uniformly poor job of being good stewards of the land, indeed, to the point where Christians belittle it as a non-issue or do not even want to discuss it. Finally, I had recently asked God why his people have such hard hearts on this issue. It distresses me.



I was brought up to believe that a righteous man regardeth the beast, but it seems that many Christians prefer to lean on (and ultimately abuse) the Lord’s directive that man is to have dominion over all creation. And that’s that. It doesn’t matter what you do with it, man has dominion, period. Man expects to make poor decisions on this and have no accountability. And that is what is so frustrating- the Bible does not read like that to me at all. God’s word is rich in references to the natural world; still waters, green pastures, sparrows. In Psalm 50:10 all animals are God’s animals and God cares for them (1 John 4:16). And that is just two mentions of many, there is so much more to this story.



And yet, some people don’t get it. If you speak out on this issue, you are immediately silenced because you obviously have a left wing agenda (now, that will be the day) and you obviously don’t care about starving children, unborn babies, take your pick. Well, I care about those babies, born and unborn, and people suffering, and it is because I care about people that I care about compassion and creation. Taking care of all that God has trusted us with so that, Lord willing, it will be there for future generations. And to me, that is a true pro-life stance. Basically, I care about all forms of life, and yet, as a Christian, I am atypical for it. Did God create me with a tender heart for all His creation for no reason? Was it a fluke? As I encounter more Christians who feel the same, there is hope that people will ask “What matters to God?” about everything.



4 comments:

  1. I agree with your thoughts here. If the dominion exercised in other spheres (for example a husband and wife, or the government of a country) were as abusive as that people exercise over the environment and the natural world, there would be outcry, and I don't see there should be any difference.

    Interestingly, I get the impression that being an "environmentalist" is seen as going along with being a "liberal" Christian, whereas in England it seems to be far more common to be both a conservative Christian and a supporter of environmentalism. I'm not sure, however, that most of my friends at my church don't think I'm insance in the lengths to which I take it - particularly my idea that one should eat small quantities of good quality meat infrequently (that is, reduce the quantity and frequency rather than the quality to make it affordable) and my tendency to try and purchase local seasonal vegetables. But it is definitely considered here, by Christians, that alternative energy generation is a responible choice, whereas my perception of the US is that it is never even thought of.

    And I love your description of hearing a service and feeling it was meant just for you. It doesn't happen often, but I do remember once wondering if the pastor had actually been listening in on a conversation I'd been having the previous day, the subject was so pertinent to me.

    Best wishes,
    Jo

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  2. Jo, thank you for your insightful thoughts. It is very interesting that things are the opposite in England. That may also have been the mindset her in the U.S. earlier in our nation's history, but I am not sure. It would be interesting to find out. One thing for sure, somewhere along the way, Christians have lost their appetite for respecting God's creation in all forms. It may be linked to a wider epidemic of obeying the Bible selectively.

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  3. I recycle. I compost. But I also still have those lazy days using disposable plate. Oh I am very particular about recycling. People almost wonder if I am obsessed. I really have to keep myself from grabbing that glass jar from a friend's trash.

    It is harder here to recycle because in Omaha we had roadside pick up. Now we have to haul it. Sadly, many do not like doing this.

    I know we are to be good stewards and I need to try to be better at doing my part. I do find it sad many Christians take the earth lightly. Maybe they feel that since Christ is coming soon, we'll get a new earth. ???

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  4. I just found your blog through Menu Monday and have been reading through. I just had to comment on this entry and say Amen!

    I have never quite understood how Christians could take the view that we can do what we like with the world because we're given dominion. The bible tells us to be good stewards of everything else in our lives and I believe that includes our environment. I am so thankful that Christians are slowly starting to realize we might have had it wrong before.

    Thank you :)

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