Anglicans living the Five Marks of Mission are called to “strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.” But what is the Christian basis for environmental stewardship and how can it be applied to our stewardship of God’s creation; where do we start as stewards and where will we go?
Those are a few of the questions posed by biologist and business consultant Mark Polet during a prayerful discussion about Creation Care at St. Paul’s, Edmonton on January 12. For the past three years Mark and his wife Terri have actively engaged their passion for Creation Care as Christian workers in central and southeast Asia.
Mark described a “remarkable, gravity-fed” water treatment system, developed by scientists in Pakistan, which is enabling farmers to irrigate their crops with clean water for greater yields; and a hydroponic water management system which is providing residents of a village in Nepal with access to an uncontaminated food supply.
A group of around 30 participants from several parishes explored the meaning of Genesis 1:28: God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’
Polet’s segue into a confessional conversation about humanity’s environmental transgressions was an implicating statement by American writer and environmental activist Wendell Berry: “Our destruction of nature is not just bad stewardship, or stupid economics, or a betrayal of family responsibility; it is the most horrid blasphemy. It is flinging God's gifts into His face, as if they were of no worth beyond that assigned to them by our destruction of them.”
Christians can have hope, however, that the joy of Christ and Biblical principles will lead us to make environmentally conscious decisions. Furthermore, we bring a unique perspective to the environmental debate. Our challenge continues to be finding ways to build relationships and reconcile polarizing voices.
How can we seek common ground and listen to and embrace ‘the other?’ Maybe we need to stop being so defensive. Christians may have missed an opportunity to be leaders in the environmental stewardship movement, but we are still called to serve others by protecting God’s creation.
Are we prepared to lead an examined and intentional life and, if so, what lifestyle choices are we willing to make? Can we forgo the comfort and convenience of driving, for example, to walk, bike or take public transportation to work?
Reflection on Jesus’ call to an abundant life will be the focus of “Creation Groans,” the next discussion in the three-part Creation Care series to be held March 2 at St. Paul’s, 10127-145 St, Edmonton, at 7:00 pm.