Thoughts of a Country Preacher

The Monday morning ruminations of a pastor.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Creation Care

I seriously doubt that anyone would ever call me an "environmentalist." My family all drives trucks and SUVs, we don’t recycle, and I like meat. And yet I often find myself at odds with my conservative brethren over environmental issues. I have a deep respect and love for the environment borne out of a lifetime spent in the great wilds of our nation. I was one of the few kids who didn’t watch TV after school, opting instead to spend my afternoon’s roaming around the family farm shooting stumps and trying to find the end of the creeks that ran through our property. When we went on a family vacation, the most important item we packed was a tent. It was either camping or staying home for us. In fact, to this very day I have spent more time sleeping in a tent, a truck, or under the stars than I have in hotel rooms. And my fondest life memories all involve a quiet sunrise with a few close friends as we prepared ourselves for the day’s hunt.

Our natural resources are more valuable than gold – and even rarer than diamonds. Today it is impossible to find an unspoiled environment. Even if you hike for days in any of our federally protected "wilderness" areas, you will still find crushed beer cans lying around.

We must protect the earth that has been entrusted to us. In Eden, humanity was tasked with the stewardship of God’s creation, and that purpose did not change after the fall. The only thing that changed after the fall was the fact that instead of embracing this stewardship, we rebelled against it – and we continue to do so today.

Which is why I was so encouraged by the Southern Baptist Environment and Climate Initiative. Southern Baptists speak to so many issues, and I am glad to see that this one is being addressed. I believe that this initiative reflects my own feelings on the subject very well – cautious of much of the climate claims coming from some, and yet concerned about the environment due to biblical admonitions.

One issue that they discuss but do not really address is the issue of Global Warming. Again, they take the same approach I do about it – it hasn’t been proven, but there are enough warning signs that should make us stop and think. Myself, I don’t know if Global Warming is a fact, or just a bunch of political maneuvering. Frankly I don’t care one way or another. Again, my concern for the environment is borne out of Biblical admonitions and little more.

I think of it in financial terms. My family lives on a budget. We keep to a budget when times are tough, and we keep to a budget when we are well paid – that is just a responsible stewardship of the finances that God has given us. Do we keep a budget because there is a financial emergency? No, we keep a budget to avoid financial emergencies.

In the same way, should we take steps to preserve our environment now because there is an environmental emergency? No – we do it now to avoid an environmental emergency in the future. That is just a responsible stewardship of the creation that God has give to us.


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