Monday, April 23, 2007

10 WAYS TO PRACTICE CREATION CARE

The following suggestions are offered by Dr. Howard Snyder of Asbury Seminary (from an essay titled “Salvation Means Creation Healed”):

1. STUDY THE BIBLE with creation-care eyes. Learn what the Bible teaches about the creation, earth, God’s covenant with the earth (Gen. 9), and God’s plan for creation restored. Key biblical themes worth studying are earth, justice, land, shalom, the poor, the nations, Sabbath/Jubilee, and reconciliation.

2. PRAY. Pray for the healing of the land and the nations. We can pray for reforestation in Haiti; peace in places where war ravages the environment; God’s sustenance for frontline earth healers—and for discernment: “Lord, what would you have me to do?” “We do not know how to pray as we ought, but [the Holy Spirit] intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words” (Rom. 8:26).

3. RECYCLE. Recycle things rather than throwing them “away,” realizing that waste products never really “go away.” Support community-wide recycling efforts. Remember that it is about 90% cheaper and more ecologically responsible to make recycled pop cans than to make new ones. Recycling has an economic as well as ecological benefit. It is a way to slow down rather than speed up the entropy of the created order.

4. PROTECT. Support local, state, and federal legislation and international agreements that protect the environment and promote creation care. Strengthening the Endangered Species Act, supporting the McCain-Lieberman Climate Change Bill, and working for international accords to limit “greenhouse” gases are good places to start. Locally we might work for bike lanes on city streets, for more parks and footpaths, and expanded recycling.

5. OBSERVE SABBATH. Make Sundays (or another day) real Sabbaths by spending at least an hour reading good books and articles on creation and on creation-care as a part of mission and discipleship. Combine this with walks (alone or with friends) in fields and woods, paying attention to God’s other creatures.

6. STUDY TOGETHER. Form a group that focuses on the creation-care dimensions of mission and discipleship—prayer, study, conversation, action.

7. WRITE CREATIVELY. Write a poem, hymn, song, or meditation celebrating the greatness of God as seen in his creation. The books of Psalms and Job provide wonderful models..

8. CHANGE YOUR HABITS. Form some creation-affirming habits—moderate eating, regular exercise, walking (if possible) instead of riding or using elevators, bird-watching, nature photography, gardening—whatever best fits your own situation. Use personal disciplines and exercise for the benefit of creation and others, not just for your own health.

9. CONSERVE. Practice energy conservation—for the sake of the planet and the poor, not just to save money—in home-building or renovation, transportation, entertainment, and daily habits.

10. NETWORK. Become active in an organization or network that promotes the healing of creation from a biblical standpoint. The Evangelical Environmental Network is a good place to start and a source of information on various networks, resources, and programs. The book Redeeming Creation by Van Dyke, et al., lists numerous Christian groups devoted to creation care in an appendix.

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