Celebrating Earth Day

iStock 000015623468XSmall Celebrating Earth Day

I love it when someone takes a stereotype I’ve held and smashes it to pieces.

This time, I’m thanking Jonathan Merritt, author of “Green Like God” for shortening my high horse just a bit.  And since Earth Day and Good Friday collide this year, I thought it might be fun to share my thoughts on his book.

When I mentioned the book to a friend, she said, “What’s a preacher going to tell you about being green?”  I couldn’t really answer her except to say I was just drawn to the book. I wanted to know what someone in the religious community was saying about environmentalism.

In my experience, if you want to see the opposite of “green,” just attend a church pot-luck or picnic. If you want a lesson in trusting God’s grand design, talk to a Christian lady I know who thinks all deciduous trees are an eyesore and should be cut down.

And I won’t even get into my rant about how the Conservative Christians have the word “conserve” in their title but…?

Oh, this might be a good point to mention – I’m a Christian.

I’ll clarify that I’m much more in tune with having a spiritual relationship with my Creator than the dogma and rules that so often cause people to judge and fear their fellow human beings.  But I am absolutely a believer.

But here’s my complaint:

If so many Christians honor God as much as they say they do, why aren’t they doing more to protect this miraculous resource He gave us? 

Maybe you’re like me, and you think of Christians and Environmentalists as divided into separate camps.  If so, you may be surprised to learn Merritt starts off his book agreeing with that:

“Christianity provides ample foundation for healthy living.  But many Christians today are unequipped to live a life in tune with God’s plan. Other Christians shirk any responsibility that inhibits their free pursuit of pleasure.”

“Churches that claim to preach the whole Bible sheepishly avoid or brush over the many passages that reveal God’s intentions for the earth.”

**Please leave a comment if that had you nodding, “Amen brother!”  I mean, that’s a bold statement, isn’t it?  One that makes you want to stand by the police officer directing traffic at the nearest stadium church to interview some folks for their opinion!

Then Merritt gets political…

“The church’s unwillingness to address these issues also has had a trickle-up effect on those whom we elect.  Legislators backed by the religious right consistently oppose environmental protections.”

He even cites polls showing how 200 legislators who earned an 80 to 100 percent approval rating for the nation’s top Christian advocacy groups, were among the lowest approved legislators when ranked by the League of Conservation Voters.

And what does he have to say about the Bible quote that says God gave man dominion over the earth?

“Dominion makes the Creator’s will supreme, while sin assumes that humankind’s wills, wants, and wishes are paramount.”

“The Creator’s will supreme” — to me that’s empowering. If we’re the co-creators of our life, our experiences here on earth, it’s one of our duties to protect it.

Clearly I’ve highlighted excerpts that reflect my opinions, but the beauty of this book is that Merritt never preaches at us. He’s relatable, and he’s honest – saying there are several areas of his life that could be greener.  He gives suggestions, strategies, and then says when you get confused or overwhelmed - pray about it.

It’s right in line with what I believe, and what I hope to share every time I blog.

And it’s the ideal message for Earth Day. Honor our Creator – whom or whatever you choose to believe.  Get outside and enjoy the pure beauty of nature.  Do your best, and know that it’s good enough for today.  No one’s perfect. You already know that some days my 80/20 rule is practically reversed!  But I try to do better the next day.

Because when you know better, you do better.

I think I learned that in church.

PinExt Celebrating Earth Day
  • Rachelle

    Amity, your picture reminded me of the speck in “Horton Hears a Who.” I worship the Creator, and honor the creation. Man’s job appointed to him by God is to take care of this earth.

  • http://twitter.com/SusanMcKenzieWY Susan McKenzie

    The world, including the world inside of Christianity, is upside down right now… but there are those of us with voices who are speaking up… and I love Rachelle’s comment below, because it’s “right on” … our love for this world, this Creation, can best be expressed in how we lovingly take care of it, maybe one small step at a time… but without making it more important than the people who live on it.

    When I lived in the wilderness, an environmentalist used to come and measure the river, track the fish, and do other things… so as I was walking alongside him near our property I asked him questions… and he delivered a 15-minute sermon! It was all centered on how “evil” human beings were and if the earth had less people the world would be better off. He blamed the shift in the river to the miners back in the 30′s… when really, back then there was a huge snowfall that thawed quickly that year… shifting the course of the river.

    There are many forests in danger of fires because people are not allowed to cut down the diseased trees… I’m sure we can find balance. No one ones to see a mountain stripped of its trees for pure greed and profit… but logging properly can keep a mountain more disease-free and healthier in every way.

    There are treasures in this earth that can only be released with proper exercise of “dominion” … I, for one, would love to see the 2 camps united. That Christians and environmentalists can share in the care-taking of this world together, learning from each other, instead of battling.

    I believe it begins with Love. Receiving love from our Father, our Creator… loving ourselves and others, and loving the earth. If we’re not careful we can make idols of our faiths and beliefs, whether Christian, environmentalism, or other. I’ve been there… naive or ignorant… and I hope to keep learning and growing.

    Your website, Amity, has helped bridge the gap, for me, between the two camps you described above – well done!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carol-Rosenberg-Giambri/655311615 Carol Rosenberg Giambri

    Great post Amity. Church people aren’t even interested in their own body. Sometimes the “Word” is interpreted according to one’s own convenience including the earth. Yikes. If everyone would do a little what a difference it would make.

  • Denny

    Insightful article Amity! I believe in the philosophy of when you know better, you do better…which strangely enough is one of the subconscious reasons many people are content with ignorance…when you acknowledge you know better, you are then compelled to do better! Keep these wonderful articles coming!

  • http://www.elviesessentials.com Elvie Look

    Your passion comes shining through and I love that in you Amity. Your quote at the end is perfect – when you know better, you do better. I am not a the “green” calibre you are but am sure trying.

  • Scott Hay

    I think your quote at the end is great, Amity. When you know better, you do better. Great ending to a great article. Keep up your great work!

  • http://www.uncommongeneration.com Claudia Looi

    There is an old mall about 7miles south of my community that everyone is shunning because it is not in a “good” neighborhood. So, we chopped trees, we level the land to somewhere new- new neighborhood, new,new,new… and we chop, chop, chop all the trees off and we build a new mall for our ‘new’ community. Than the businesses moved to the new area including the churches. Now the old mall is almost empty and showing signs of decay. Would it be better to invest in the clean up and restoring in the old? The trees are gone…

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