Many, many years ago my Aunt Heather and Uncle Brian were talking to my parents about their experiences with environmentalism within their conservative Christian church. The specifics of that conversation have been long lost to the mists of time, but my Aunt’s frustration as she spoke of her church is still clear. “I try to talk to them about the environment,” she said, “but they just say, ‘Oh, the Rapture’s coming soon, why bother?'”
This was at least fifteen years ago and possibly closer to twenty, and as you may have noticed, either the Rapture has not come or it has and Jesus found no faithful to raise into Heaven with him.
In either case, everywhere I’ve turned lately I’ve seen stories on green evangelism. The environment as it turns out is also part of God’s creation and the destruction of it has now been recast in some circles as a sin (as opposed to a mandated crusade of subjugation a la Genesis, and even when I was a Christian this seemed fishy to me: I can’t be sure, but when Jesus said, “See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin,” he did not follow that up with, “so rip the lazy buggers up and build a Wal-Mart, hallelujah!”).
There’s a Green Bible, a pile of green Christianity books, green evangelism organizations, and even a group of green Kairos members going on a fact-finding mission to the Alberta Tar Sands to figure out what stance they want to take on this wholesale-environmental-destruction business. Even atheists have been jumping on the green-god bandwagon lately. And I’m not a Christian, so I don’t want to say too much in case my natural flippancy causes serious offense to those of you who are. Instead, I’ll close of this short post with a poem from someone who is and who I think must be as happy to see this sea change as I am:
Watching a Documentary about Polar Bears
Trying to Survive on the Melting Ice Floes
That God had a plan, I do not doubt.
But what if His plan was, that we would do better?
2 thoughts on “Green is the New Holy”
Christianity and environmentalism strike me as being two sides of the same coin. Both assume that we are fallen and must repent; in the act of breathing we emit co2 (ie we are inherently evil); to save the world we must convert everyone to our cause. Also, the job is never done.
I’m typing this on my iPod — will have to come back later to elaborate.
I get what you mean and I agree that there are philosophical similarities, but in the recent past, evangelical christianity has been actively hostile to environmental concerns, by and large. To the point where leaders of prominent evangelical organizations were asked to quit when they expressed public concern over global warming.