Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Earth Stewardship - unpacking the "WHY?" of it

Because I’ve been coming to the island where I taught last week at least once or twice a year for the past 15, I know a few of the locals beyond my friends who serve at the Bible School. One of the old time islanders had recently died, and since my morning takes me through the small cemetery here, I stopped and looked at his grave this past Friday. I was reminded of that little phrase from the Bible, ‘the way of all the earth'.

I think the human body and our care for it seems to me to be a good illustration of why we’re called to steward the earth. We know, by the testimony of all who have gone before us, that no matter how little or much we eat, whether we spend our days running and drinking anti-oxidant smoothies, or sitting on our butts watching television and eating Ben & Jerry’s, either way we’ll still die. Our motive then, for stewardship of the body isn’t it’s eternality – it’s the quality of testimony that we’ll be able to offer while we live.

Likewise, it’s pretty hard to get around the Peter passage, and the reality that God promises a new heaven and new earth. But it doesn’t follow that we should therefore trash the earth with callous disregard. Our calling, for our bodies, and for the earth, is to steward. So yes, it matters what kind of car I drive, and what I do with the space allotted to me, whether I make it a place of beauty or a wasteland. It matters whether I consume with blatant disregard for the effects of greed and waste, or conserve as part of my testimony that I care about my calling to steward the earth and live in such a way that others are drawn to life.

This earth won’t last forever. Something new and better will someday ushered in. The same is true for our bodies. In the meantime, I’d like the whole package (body, soul, spirit, earth, place), as much as possible in this fallen world, to testify of His glory.

On another note - Pat Roberston's comments are what make it so difficult, so embarassing to use the words 'Christian' or 'Pastor' freely. His thoughtless, fearful, vindictive, and adversarial comments paint a picture of Jesus that is a little different than the one who advocates loving our enemies, turning the other cheek, and going the 2nd mile. But rather than throw up our hands in disgust, I'm convicted to get on with the real work of Christianity - getting more fully connected with Christ who is the head, and actively loving my neighbor, and neighborhood, and culture in His name. There's plenty to do, and when I'm getting on with it, I've little time for railing against others.


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