4/06/2008

Abortion movement becomes GREEN movement

I predict the anti-abortion movement will be displaced by green enviromentalism among younger Christians...

what do you think? --Keith Drury

39 comments:

Lawrence W. Wilson said...

The green movement already has replaced the anti-abortion movement.

I think we (esp. Wesleyans) like being on the side of things we can win--which may be why we want to abandon our opposition to alcohol but are still rabid anti-smokers.

Interesting choice of terms ... "replace." I guess we can have only one cause celebre at a time.

Kurt A Beard said...

Green is an up and coming spiritual discipline but I I'm not sure the church is ready to hold a serious debate on whether recycling is necessary for salvation. I say that partially in jest but have seen the scornful looks when non-recyclers confess their behavior. It's the same look beer drinkers get when they confess their behavior.

Kris said...

there could be a problem however, if the environmentalist movement creates a great amount of legislation that criminalizes folks who are not as pro-active in drastic ways.

i'm outraged when i see littering, but i am not so sure it deserves prison, which is what it could come to...or having to update your house to an environmental code when you are paying upwards 20,000 in taxes a year to the government already.

could environazism bother anyone else?

::athada:: said...

You noted an important stumbling block to making "going green" a core issue to faith - being truly consistant and not hypocritical. Abortion seems much easier (to some degree) - you either have an abortion or you don't (and 50% of people don't have the option). On the contrary, a North American trying to trim down / alter their entire way of functioning with the material world is much more comprehensive... which is why this may never leave the fad arena and, unfortunately, create a few cynics along the way.

Recycling is good, but if all Americans do is recycle, it's not much of a movement.

The Tin Man said...

Please say this is not true! I am all for keeping our water and air as clean as possible, but there must be a fundamental misunderstanding of what the "Green Movement" entails.

It appears to me that its highest objective is fighting Global Warming - a highly disputed theory about man-made activities causing the temperature of the planet to increase.

This movement goes way beyond voluntary actions to reduce so-called "carbon footprints". It advocates policy tools such as population control, excessive regulation, and much higher taxes.

I am appalled that Christians would align themselves with a movement that is so obviously NOT conservative.

Ken Schenck said...

There's no point in arguing here over whether global warming has been significantly aggravated by human activity or not. Almost all of us reading are amateurs at that topic at best.

But what is fascinating to me is how riled up people get over environmental concern. I'm sure I will consider the vigor of the next generation extreme as well... maybe I'll live to see their children overreact to them.

But for now, the conservative reaction to the wave of environmental concern is so far disproportionate to the cause it's fascinating. It reminds me of some of my family's opposition to gun control. It has nothing to do with Christianity at all but a massive confusion of conservative culture with Christian values.

John D. Howell said...

KEITH!!!!! YOU GET IT - YOU TOTALLY GET IT!!! I had to read your post a couple of times to make sure that I actually read it correctly! I don’t think you are an early adapter of this thinking as well - I first heard about this concept from a Christian movement last year when I read the book “Serve God, Save the Planet” by J. Matthew Sleeth, MD. While I was starting to go green, that book really helped put the pieces together for me!

Here’s what appeals to me about the Green movement. It’s not necessarily a Green movement as much as it is a Creation movement. I don’t care at ALL about the political agenda that the Green movement has. Global Warming could be happening - but that’s not my reasoning for taking care of the environment! What I care about is that fact God has given us this place to live and to dwell upon for a short while. But instead of caring for our earth and working to make it better for future generations, I see that this creation that God has given us is being abused. I figure that if God gave Adam charge of the earth - then it still applies to me today and because of that I need to be responsible with my actions.

Yes - I recycle FANATICALLY. Yes - I take my own bags to the grocery store. Yes - my wife and I only have one paid-off car (in South Dakota during winter - it’s definitely a necessity!). Yes - I use CFL lights in my home. YES - I freeze during the winter and sweat during the summer for the sake of a few degrees on my thermostat. YES - I’m planning on commuting the 5 miles to and from work this summer on a bicycle so that we can save money on gas. YES - my wife and I INTENTIONALLY purchased a home that was highly efficient with a footprint that was small enough for my wife and I to live beneath our means. Those are choices that we have intentionally made because we want to be better stewards of the world that God has given us.

Why do I do this? Because, Keith, we live in a flat world - and I’m not just talking about the book by Thomas L. Friedman. Our world is flat in the sense that the example that I set by the slight uncomfortableness of bringing my own bags to the grocery store to cut down on my plastic bag consumption is NOTHING compared to the miles that people walk in Africa just to have clean drinking water. Just because I live in America does NOT mean that I’m entitled to live in such a way that other countries and people are DRASTICALLY affected by my mass consumerism! Case in point - look at the pollution that is having such a catastrophic affect on the land and rivers in China and then when you’re in Wal-Mart to get what ever connivence you MUST have, look at where it’s being made! Shocking and sobering!

Gotta finish up on this because I could write forever on this post, but I would go as far to say that if you are not environmentally conscious - you’ve got no business calling yourself a Christian. If we can’t take care of the very world that we live in - how can we ever expect to take care of each other??? After all, How we take care of the Creation tells us how we feel about the Creator - (I think Rob Bell said that). That’s my thoughts!

::athada:: said...

John -

Good note on global warming - to the extent that it is the only/main thrust behind a renewed environmental awakening, the awakening may stand on shaky ground as it is a very complex scientific situation, a lot of unknowns. An eschatological hope, or respect for a creator, or a love of neighbour is more sustainable and useful.

The Tin Man said...

Hey John,

I am not opposed to your personal convictions. I am simply opposed to someone like you being president and forcing your personal convictions on me. I am quite certain that God will not condemn me for my carbon footprint. I am sure that I have much more important things to worry my soul about. Quite sure.

Oh, and by the way, we are lifting the poor of the world by trading with nations like China. I am sure they have figured out by now that they will have to be much more careful about what they do with toxic wastes. The poor nations of the world do not need us to stop buying their products in order to learn a lesson about keeping their rivers clean.

The poor nations of the world also do not need the yokes of excessive regulation and excessive taxes as they try to raise their standards of living. There is such a thing as going to far, and there will be consequences if we do.

Chap said...

I had no problem with your convictions about environmentalism John until you wrote, "that if you are not environmentally conscious - you’ve got no business calling yourself a Christian."

And this folks is how terms like "enviromental wackos" develop. This comment is the same as a Jimmy Swaggert who says, "you aren't a Christian until you speak in tongues".

Ridiculous, naive and the reason many Christians are skeptical, not about caring for creation--but enviromental nazis who wish to foist the zealous convictions on everyone else by slander and prejoratives.

I will end my rant with a personal story of a friend who is a self-described green environmentalist. He appears to do all the right things with reduse, reuse and recycle except he can't maintain his car properly. One day low and behold his engine seized...Why? He never checked his oil and it ran out.

I reminded him that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure or even a dose of enviromental zealousness.

John D. Howell said...

Thanks for your responses to my response - I’d love to hear your thoughts on Keith’s post! I just want to maybe explain the comment that I made that "if your not environmentally conscious - you’ve got no business calling yourself a Christian." Here’s my thoughts on that.

I believe that caring for God’s creation is a moral issue and is a spiritual discipline that has long been forgotten in this age of mass consumerism. I believe that it’s a moral issue in that we have been charged since Genesis to act as a steward for what God has made. I think that it’s a spiritual discipline in that it takes some serious restraint, self-control and conviction to choose to honor God by taking care of His Creation.

If we are going to choose to be a follower of Christ, a Christian, then we must also take up the mantel of caring for the things that God cares about. I don’t believe that it’s a pick and choose kind of life, I think it’s an all or nothing kind of life. It’s clear from scripture that God cares about His creation and because He cares about it, as someone who intentionally chooses to follow God, I’m going to care about. So brush me of as an “environmental wacko”, that’s fine - but don’t dismiss the thought that being environmentally conscious is a foundational part of Christianity. It is a foundational part - it's just not taught anymore.

One last thing, here are some ideas that other “environmental wackos” in the church have had in regards to Creation - note that I’m intentionally leaving St. Francis of Assis out of this.

“The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” Psalm 24:1 - God

“God writes the Gospel, not in the Bible alone, but also in trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.” - Martin Luther

“Some people, in order to discover God, read books. But there is a great book: the very appearance of created things. Look above you! Look below you! Read it. God, whom you want to discover, never wrote that book in ink. Instead, He set before your eyes the things that He had made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that?” - St. Augustine

“The creation is quite like a spacious and splendid house, provided and filled with the most exquisite and the most abundant furnishings. Everything in it tells us of God.” - John Calvin

“Through His Spirit, God Himself is present in His creation. The whole creation is a fabric woven and shot through by the efficacies of the Spirit.” - Jurgen Moltmann

“What we call Man’s power over Nature turns out be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument.” - C.S. Lewis

“A society in which consumption has to be artificially stimulated in order to keep production going is a society founded on trash and waste, and such a society is a house built upon sand.” - Dorothy Sayers

Keith Drury said...

Lets' keep this discussion logical and thoughtful... we try to run a discussion here of people who respect another's position in Christian love and elevate the discussion from the usual name-calling and personal attacks of the blogsphere. I have deleted several remarks above that are getting a little bit too close to tirades or rants or were interpersonal retorts... unfortunately I cannot delete part of a comment so the excellent thoughts get deleted along with the rants... feel free to post again the thoughtful parts of your comments and let's take the schoolyard brawls outside... (for instance feel free to say these things on your own blog--even list your own blog's address..that's fair). For this blog we try to tone down the rhetoric a bit--pastors get enough flak from the laity--and I want this to be a place of thoughtful discussion not another place to get slammed.

(To redeam your thoughtful comments from deleted posts..I have a copy of them if you email me so I know you email address... then you can edit out any parts that might be interpersonal (instead of addressing the original post) or potentially inflammatory.... just email me at keith(dot)Drury(at)indwes.edu

The Tin Man said...

“What we call Man’s power over Nature turns out be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument.” - C.S. Lewis

And this is precisely what I am worried about. Men using nature as a tool to gain control of other men's lives.

Freedom is extremely important and must be balanced by reasonable laws based on clear scientific evidence - not hype.

Dave said...

Having not been grown during the fierce abortion debates, it is difficult to make comparisons between the two movements.

Our generation is growing up watching the Matrix (machines/technology take over the world), Lord of the Rings (the destruction of the earth is associated with evil). Through advances in communication technology and travel, we have a heightened perspective of the global situation, and have seen how technology may actually be taking away quality of life.

If the movement that you observe is to have the type of influential power that the abortion debates held (the value of human life), it must stem from a deep-seated issue as well.

Some see this 'alternative'/GREEN way of living as preparation for the downfall of our society (sounds a bit drastic, doesn't it?). They (we) see corporate greed and waste as sinful on a global scale. This issue possibly relates to your last post in that, we look at corporate sins much more than personal sins. Therefore, what our parents considered as 'worldly' we consider child's play compared to the gross injustices happening (exaggeration - mine). Sometimes we try to overcompensate our rebellion against the idea of personal sin for the sake of pointing out the corporate sins that seem more important to address.

It becomes a power-play of ideas.

In the end, the green movement is just a portion of the larger movement of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth. It is and will be grouped together with other oft-ignored issues, like intential racial reconciliation and an increased awareness of economic situations.

Perhaps our minds are a bit fuzzy as to what the post-millenial view actually is. Should we be preparing this physical Earth for the return of Christ? How do we incorporate these views into actual living?

The Tin Man said...

I suppose it is obvious by now that this idea really bothers me. So let me see if I understand this:

Abortion is a moral evil.
You feel a moral obligation to oppose abortion in your households.
You feel a moral obligation to support anti-abortion legislation.

By the analogy proposed by some:

Incandescent light bulbs are a moral evil.
You feel a moral obligation to stop using incandescent light bulbs in your households.
Then how can you not feel a moral obligation to support anti-incandescent light bulb legislation?

One freedom gone, how many more do we have to go?

If you were just as successful at banning incandescent light bulbs as you were at banning abortions, I would not be so worried. But with the liberal voters on your side this time, success is no doubt assured.

Kris said...

My original comment on concern over political and cultural extremes is rooted in cynicism of the way things are already handled, not necessarily in believing that creation-care is impossible or not worth our time, for clarification. I am interested in how this issue could shape preaching, mission work, and church building construction.

I believe many changes toward an environmentally friendly lifestyle will be implemented through companies in newer technology via lightbulbs, cars, roofs, those sorts of things, but if you got into the heavy research, there are wonderful technologies out there that could change the entire face of energy consumption, but I think they are unfortunately hindered by the government in wishing to please lobbying groups, which is a reality and not a backhanged gripe as it is often shrugged off as.

What would happen to major producers of cars if someone were to make an engine that could run on magnets, or even a car that gets 60+ mpg?

Kris said...

p.s.
In Michigan we receive 10 cents per pop can and a great number of people come to Meijer or Wal-Mart to recycle and collect the refund. You can also collect money by 'scrapping' used metals. Is there any way or room to provide incentives to folks who recycle other renewables?

concerning the original content of the topic abortion displacing creation care, I believe trading one for the other would be a great misfortune.

Keith Drury said...

I'm interested in more responses to the questions raised in the original article, such as

1. Is this shift happening?

2. Is there an age differential here?

3. Do you think there is any moral basis for "creation care?"

4. Will it turn out to be a fad?

5. Do new "sins" emerge in the church that formerly were considered OK?

6. Does there seem to be a desire among the young for a positive approach to witness to the world?

7. What thoughtful responses do you have to Randy Maddox's paper?

8. how will the coming majority of younger people in 2010 affect this and other matters?

9. Might a "neo-legalism" emerge that just shifts the expectations to different issues?

10. If this predictions come true what will happen with the anti-abortion movement... will it wind up like the prohibition movement or divide the generations or what?

...and other issues where thoughtful interaction with the article will help us all think better...

Chap said...

1. Is this shift happening?
There is a shift happening, but I don't know if it corresponds with the anti-abortion movement. This shift has been in the makings for 30 plus years--it does capture the idealism of conservative and liberals alike however.

2. Is there an age differential here?

No, first I think "generationalism" is dead. You can't measure movements or fads within generations (Xers, millenials etc...) since we have become an increasingly sub-divided culture through technology/media delivery systems (e.g. the i-pod). A 20 year old can be a Beatles fan as much as an 60 year old. Look at a guy like Jack Johnson who wrote a CD for Curious George about reduse, reuse, recycle...he's loved by 2 year olds to 60 year olds.

All of my friends (30's and 40's) are very environmentally "concious".

Lastly, I would add that the most environmentally conscious (reduse, reuse, recycle) generation ever was the depression era and WWII generation. ummm, my Grandparents used the Sears cataloge as toilet paper. I wouldn't want to go back to that--but there are many in the eco-movement that would.

3. Do you think there is any moral basis for "creation care?
Yes...the verses stated by John attest to that,however, to equate human life with a dolphin is where "in the movement" they blur the lines.

4. Will it turn out to be a fad?

Yes...science and technology will regain balance in this debate, much like emergent church movements. It's amazing how attractive disposable diapers are to a parent after their first child even though their convictions were to use cloth ones.

Secondly, this movement corresponds to the rise of post-millenialism which was all but dead after the first and second WW. But, somehow is now revived, in my opinion foolishly ignoring our history in order to usher in the Kingdom.

6. Does there seem to be a desire among the young for a positive approach to witness to the world?
...through environmental convictions???
not sure what you mean here...but I do see a movement away from sharing propositional truth with our neighbors.

8. how will the coming majority of younger people in 2010 affect this and other matters?

Unless we have a new dramatic technology that makes new uses of energy affordable (that isn't subsidised by the government or have even worse impact on the environment or food supplies) than my answer is no.

9. Might a "neo-legalism" emerge that just shifts the expectations to different issues?

That is already happening. Just look at the bumper stickers found on any owner of a Prius.

10. If this predictions come true what will happen with the anti-abortion movement... will it wind up like the prohibition movement or divide the generations or what?

I think the abortion movement already is moving towards some type of pluralistic compromise. Pregnancy Resource Centers (run mostly by conservative Christians), along with more bans on some abortions (due to knowledge about abortions from technology), and many doctors who will not practice it anymore will eventually lead to less abortions--but still legal choices will remain.

Now I take off my Nostradomus hat. :)

Kurt A Beard said...

If being green is a spiritual issue can I cut back on my tithe to replace my light bulbs, buy a hybrid car, buy a metal roof, or buy a geothermal heating unit?
There aren't any other 'sins' that cost money to avoid or disciplines that cost money to practice. When green preaching becomes more prevalent I think it will cause some conflict over the cost.
In the same way you have to wonder is this new movement prepared to help the lower class be green like pro life groups help the lower class afford not to have an abortion?

::athada:: said...

Kurt -

You mentioned items that have high upfront costs but lower lifetime costs (except the Prius, for now) - cheaper in the end & perhaps achievable by bundling them into mortgages. Those can pose to be a real obstacle, but mostly I see the folks in center city Marion (lower class) being much more green than the well-off - they don't choose between the SUV and their Nike's. They choose their Nike's or they don't go anywhere at all. Some don't know that they're "green" - they don't have time to blog about it on coal-sucking computers like me.

Loving "lady poverty" might be the larger discipline of which living in harmony with life-support systems is a part. Or at least "lady sufficiency".

The Tin Man said...

The following was excerpted from a site called Christian Ecology:

"Over the weekend I was at a workshop in a public building, and on the notice board was a sign : "No Smoking". And underneath, the sign : "Please Recycle Your Waste". The first, an imperative, the second an invitation. How long does it take to move from "Please" to "No" ? If I think back, it has been about ten years between the first anti-smoking campaigns and the public buildings ban.

I expect it could take ten years to get effective Climate and Energy policy into the legal framework of this country. However, it might take less time to start Climate Justice proceedings in an international court. My campaigning has to be focussed on influencing a faster move from voluntary change to institutional policy : ten years might be too slow, considering the fact that the Siberian permafrost is already melting. Everything I do from now on, making changes in my life, in my work and in my words, has to bring the future forward."

Here is the link to the full article:
http://www.christian-ecology.org.uk/ealing.htm

I could personally use a little Global Warming because talk like this makes my blood run cold.

The Tin Man said...

1. Is this shift happening?
I suppose the popularity of Mike Huckabee supports this proposition. Much to my chagrin.

2. Is there an age differential here?
There is evidence to support a slight age differential. But much more evidence to support a political differential (Republicans generally fearful of the ominous underpinnings of the movement; and Democrats generally anxious to express their belief that we are products of a Godless evolution and we must work hard to insure our survival on this planet)

3. Do you think there is any moral basis for "creation care?"
Within reason and without excessive regulation and taxes. It is amoral to increase monetary burden on the poor by implementing excessive regulation and tax policy designed to reduce normal activities (like driving). All of these extra costs end up inflating the cost of life's necessities.

4. Will it turn out to be a fad?
I am afraid that it will not. And it is possible that the "church" itself will help usher in one world government policies that we will all regret.

5. Do new "sins" emerge in the church that formerly were considered OK?
I wonder whether most of the people who are in favor of this do not attend conservative churches. It may be that they are grasping for standards to fulfill an unmet need in their hearts and minds.

6. Does there seem to be a desire among the young for a positive approach to witness to the world?
I cannot imagine Jesus or the Apostles using such a thing as environmentalism to attract people. I don't know. Is Al Gore a preacher?

7. What thoughtful responses do you have to Randy Maddox's paper?
We don't need Wesleyan theology to do what is reasonable in these areas. I would especially think that we could avoid using Wesleyan theology to support Liberal causes like animal rights. John Wesley had some incredibly important things to say, but Dr. Maddox appears to be digging through the scraps of John Wesley's theological thought in order to find a match to stike for the environmental cause.

8. how will the coming majority of younger people in 2010 affect this and other matters?
Apparently we are due for a doosy of a trip if the slander offered against them in the title article is any indication.

Dave said...

As far as responding to Randy Mattox's paper - one of the last paragraphs, I think, drives the point home. You can see this theme in much of NT Wright's teachings (who is enjoying wide support among younger Christians at this time).

It is the absence of the expectation of the end of the world/re-opening of a PostMillenial understanding of history. Wright would argue that Biblical prophecies about the destruction of the world should not be seen as the destruction of the space-time universe. Not that I necessariliy agree with Wright, but we are sensing that history may go on much longer than our former Left Behind-selves thought. Might as well start cleaning stuff up...

I don't think the movement is quite as drastic as your original article makes it sound. I don't think that a GREEN movement would get fanatics in such an uproar that they would burn down economically unfriendly houses.

Besides, another growing tendency is pacifism...

Toots said...

"...grasping for standards to fulfill an unmet need in their hearts and minds."

Exactly what I was thinking.

Mr. Drury, you really get me to thinking. Thanks for the thought-provoking posts.

Ryan Schmitz said...

I agree that there is some similarity with these two issues. I observe this when I read or talk to those who are hyper vigilant about either topic.

These people ache and are losing sleep over the injustice being done in (to) this world and they cannot understand why everyone else can be so callous and inconsiderate.

I believe that both of these groups are active preachers and activists for their respective causes to the point that they are perhaps developing ulcers and shortening their own lives to save the lives of others. Both groups blame sin for the cause of their issue and ironically both groups want to legislate their issue out of existence.

Of course these are the persons at the extreme. When it comes to environmentalism I cannot take anyone less than the hyper vigilant seriously whenever they are preaching their message about being Green; but what does that say about me, when I am not as vigilant as I should be for the 1.5 million aborted babies each year?

adam profitt said...

Interesting article, and interesting comments.

While in college, a few of us students had several discussions along the lines of "being green."

In my generation (25), I think we look at abortion as something to be dead-set against, but it's ok if we don't actually *do* anything about it. It's one of those things that some would question your Christianity if you weren't opposed to abortion, but as long as you are verbally opposed, you're fine. You don't have to actually act on your againstness.

Perhaps the green movement is taking off with us (figuratively) because it's something we can do, not just be involved with verbally. The anti-abortion movement had its activists, and we know about that but we didn't ever really pick up the torch and run.

Our (again, figuratively) parents were the type who would change the oil in their car, dig a hole in the ground, pour the oil in the hole, fill the hole back in with the dirt. Also, like Keith mentioned, a lot of them had/have the mentality of anyone who talked greenly being "environmental wackos/tree-huggers." And we all know that there are some who go to these extremes, but the green movement as whole has been largely (at least in my experiences) ignored/neglected/hated/etc.

We all need to take care of this ol' ball of dirt. Absolutely. And I see how it might replace the abortion issue. But I think it won't follow the anti-abortion movement in that the coming-on generation will be less forgiving unless you actually *do* something about your belief. Maybe. Obviously it's easier to make a (albeit small) difference along the green lines then it is concerning abortion. It as an issue is so much broader than just being for or against. Maybe that's why we'll adopt it - we can pick parts that are measurable/attainable - we can feel good because we *did* something.

I guess we'll wait and see.

Wes McCallum said...

ECO-FRIENDLY BIBLE
In February, the world’s largest Christian publisher announced that it is immediately beginning a complete transition to environmentally conscious Bible binding and practices. Thomas Nelson, Inc.’s Bible group will discontinue using synthetic covers on their Bible products. Thomas Nelson is the first Bible publisher to announce a complete transition to eco-friendly Bible production.

Wes McCallum said...

POLLUTION ON NEW LIST OF MORTAL SINS.

ROME, Italy (AP) -- A Vatican official has listed drugs, POLLUTION and genetic manipulations as well as social and economic injustices as new areas of sinful behavior. Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti said in an interview published on Sunday (March 9) by the Vatican's daily newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, that known sins increasingly manifest themselves as BEHAVIOR THAT DAMAGES SOCIETY AS A WHOLE. Girotti, who heads the Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican body that issues decisions on matters of conscience and grants absolutions told the paper that whilst sin used to concern the individual mostly, today it had a mainly a social resonance, due to the phenomenon of globalization.

Now the Vatican says it is time to modernize the list to fit a global world.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/wayoflife/03/10/vatican.updates.sins.ap/

Amber Janelle said...

After reading all the discussion already posted, I don't want to repeat issues that have already been raised. However, Coach--you asked "Does there seem to be a desire among the young for a positive approach to witness to the world?" I'd say the answer to that question is a resounding "YES!" I interact a lot with young adults and high school students, and I see this tendency increasing. In some ways--it is exciting. It is supported by a desire to LIVE out Christ-likeness in order to point people to Christ. We all know the negative impact hypocrisy has on evangelism--so if this tendency will inspire the younger Church to live out their faith--it's exciting. However, it is a concern to to me that there also seems to be a tendency to not verbalize truth that is seen as "negative." Yes, we should love people to Jesus. Yes, we should take care of the planet as proper stewards of God's creation. The list of "yes-es" goes on. Still, people need to understand the truth of sin and their need for a Savior. In today's relativistic world, sin is a concept that many people do not grasp. While witnessing in a positive way is great--we can never leave behind the hard truths of the Gospel.

The Tin Man said...

Sigh. It is terrifying to see how liberal minded some segments of the Christian population is becoming. There is not a real Christian on Earth that advocates wanton destruction of this planet.

I wish I could say that there is not a real Christian on Earth that would not stand up for reason and consider the costs and benefits of action that most likely is too extreme. There is a tension between these two. I fail to see how it is reasonable to accept all hypotheses, projections, and "solutions" being forced on us. There is demonstrable irrationality at work here.

If evangelism becomes focused on such controversial topics, you will alienate people like me. This is not at all like abortion where the issue is not really debatable within truly Christian circles. We should not needlessly inject the church with politics and devisive topics such as this.

The Tin Man said...

Forgive the numerous grammatical errors in the above post. I guess I thought the world could not await my wisdom long enough for proper expression to take shape.

Chap said...

I see your dobber is down tinman, hang in there. Most days I share your sentiments and wonder what will happen in a post-modern world that throws out the baby with the bathwater. The baby being reason of course.

Another ironic hypocrisy of the "green generation" is their talk of helping the poor...like this is something new. The funny thing is I never see these young folks at local nursing homes, something past generations took very seriously.

I also think the "conservation" generation are the first ones to "eat out" at the local Applebees and spend 400 bucks on an i-phone rather than learn to tithe, and budget in order to put their money where their cause is. I guess a $2 bumper sticker makes you kewl though--and is very difficult to criticize.

Pastor Rod said...

Keith,

Here are a few responses:

1. Is this shift happening?

I think that there is certainly a growing sense of responsibility for the care of creation by Christians. I'm not sure that it comes at the expense of any other issue.

2. Is there an age differential here?

I think there is a "differential." But I do not think that one can use the old generational labels to categorize people anymore.

3. Do you think there is any moral basis for "creation care?"

I would have difficulty with someone arguing that there is no moral basis. This seems obvious to me.

4. Will it turn out to be a fad?

Not anymore than the abolution of slavery was a fad.

5. Do new "sins" emerge in the church that formerly were considered OK?

Yes. See above.

6. Does there seem to be a desire among the young for a positive approach to witness to the world?

This may be a fad.

9. Might a "neo-legalism" emerge that just shifts the expectations to different issues?

It seems that we cannot escape legalism, (sigh).

It also seems that we cannot break free of our habitual ways of thinking. This is not a conservative or liberal issue. The Al Gore camp does not have the answer.

There will be dramatic technological changes in the next 10 years that will rewrite the rules of energy generation and consumption. But we cannot predict what they will be. (See The Black Swan.)

Rod

::athada:: said...

Tin Man,

I respect your opinion and reason in integrating this discipline with economic realities (though I would probably disagree with you; I'm a nearly-recovered Libertarian/capitalist brainwashee). Please stay at the table with your perspective.

You don't want to "inject the church with politics" yet you are "[terrified] to see how liberal minded some segments of the Christian population is becoming". From the 2nd quote I take it that you see liberal thought and Christianity moving in opposite directions. I too would like to move beyond the stale political categories that divide us, but words like liberal and conservative take us back to the old trenches. Could you clarify your distinction?

The Tin Man said...

Athada,

I don't think we can avoid politics altogether in the church. I was simply expressing a hope that we could avoid politics when we have a choice. The church must take political positions on moral issues like abortion, but the church need not take political positions on controversial issues like "Global Warming".

It is my view that the "Green movement" is a virtual cocktail of controversial issues that serve little eternal purpose and ignite dissension among people who are otherwise very like-minded. To think that we can create a positive approach to evangelism utilizing such divisive topics is to ignore large segments of the church and the unchurched population who are adamantly opposed to unreasonable environmental approaches.

As for liberal thought and Christianity moving in opposite directions, I anticipate issues that I will not be as capable of debating. I am sorry to use divisive terminology like "liberal" and "conservative", but the divisive nature of the topic compelled me. Avoid the topic and I will avoid the terms.

Keith Drury said...

Thanks to all of you for helpful and thoughtful discussion (which will of course continue) We have not 'settled" the issue here ;-)

Thanks to for discussing a hot issue with sanity and thought... we Christians will not be hurt by thoughtful discussion. (I think at least) that flaming and bashing is what closes off sound thought. Thanks for your thoughtful discourse on this--it helped me think things through a bit more.

Mystified said...

Creation care? Why don't you just call it what it is? Earth worship! It's a form of paganism that's been around for thousands of years. I'm completely sick that we've added this into our lingo as part of the Wesleyan Church.

I have no problem with John's decision to go green. I too recycle--when it's convenient. Unlike some, I'm not going to make my life centered upon whether or not I save a dime here or there for the sake of the ozone layer. I also think that we have a responsibility to care for our God-given resources. I don't believe in waste. But He doesn't tell me in His Word that it's more important to Him than saving a life or living with personal holiness. This is not a holiness issue. What bothers me about this whole notion is that it originated and it's driven by those who don't worship the Creator but only His creation. And those who may be in the middle are being swindled by faulty science.

Thank you Tin Man for speaking up on this subject. Like you, I too am completely astonished at how liberal my church has become.

Brad Harris said...

Yes, we should care for the environment. The problem is Global Warming is not real. 700 scientists at the beginning of March proved that in New York. Not welling for this generation to believe in a lie. Should we take care of what we have? Yes!