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.