September 25, 2007

Environmentalism



If you were a cartoon watching child in the 90’s, you probably had more then your fair share of environmental propaganda (mixed in with all the “Just Say No” anti-drug stuff). My personal favorite was Captain Planet who saved the world from evil polluting super villains. This, along with a kid who was absolutely nuts about animals, probably drove my parents insane on many occasions. Especially my dad, whose job at the time was a government trapper. I remember asking him why he had to kill animals when in my mind they were the innocent bystanders of invasive humans.

When I got a little older I eventually embraced my redneck roots and have been hunting many times with my father. I learned the gravity of killing, and had a very good example in my dad of a proper hunter. We killed for meat not for trophy, cleaning the animal ourselves, and this really impressed upon me a respect of the cycle of life and death.

I have found myself turning back to my tree hugging tendencies in the past few years, and feeling like I am coming to it with a much more mature attitude. In my humble opinion, the conservative right has completely butchered the Christian position on the environment; a large part in reaction to the left’s extreme view on it. Liberals would have us completely cut off from nature, stating that the natural state of the world is humanless. But conservatives would have nature destroyed for the sake of our progress, negligence, or apathy. Neither has a balance view.

Our relationship to the Earth is one of stewardship; God gave us the job of looking after it in Genesis. The picture of a steward is one who greatly trusted by the king is given the power to rule the kingdom until the king returns. This job should rank up there on our list, for it was the very first job given to man. Ideally this would encompass two things.

1. We should be a gathering and passing on intelligence about the natural cycles of the world. This shows us the importance of science and the importance of education; passing on a knowledge base to the next generation. It also shows the importance of being closely acquainted with nature; whether that be hunting, camping, hiking, gardening, getting outside, etc.

2. We should be interacting with our environment in a positive way as to develop a symbiotic relationship with nature. This can only be done when the first is properly executed. In contrast to the humanless nature, humans should pursue a very active role in the natural world. We should be making an earth that benefits both people and the environment.

This is all ideal of course; man has had a dysfunctional relationship with the natural world since we left the garden. As a whole we tear things up for our selfish benefit. But I don’t think that the church should forget what we are striving for.

6 comments:

ninepoundhammer said...

Allow me to give you a hearty 'AMEN, sir!' with the requisite pat on the back. (Pat, pat, pat.)

My journey was from the far Right of the argument. As you stated correctly--proper stewardship is the answer. It's not 'Either Or', it's 'Both And.'

Blake said...

I have a little bar on my browser for your site so whenever it is updated, I can fight out rather quickly. I can't always get to reading your posts but every so often you title catches my attention and I can't help but put everything else on the back burner. This subject is interesting and one that I am to a large extent rather apathetic about (not because I think I should be, but because I am most times). However I think you have a good view on it and I would agree with your formulation of environmentalism. I have always been a conservationist in theory but I think you even shed some light on possible problems with that even. One more step away from extreme conservatism for me! Good job ol' chap! Tally Ho!

raghu said...

I used to love Captain Planet! I can't recall the villains tho...

This is an interesting topic, especially as of late. One of my new co-workers is a vegan. We discussed what prompted her towards becoming a vegan, and she stated it was her dad's emphasis on killing animals as a must. (Hunting as the primary act of boy becoming man.) Reaction is so much of what people do when they hit this complex issue.

The resurrection of Jesus is another way of re-affirming the created order. Just as we are being renewed from our sin and failures, so too we should look with expectancy in God's work in creation. (Notice that we don't give up in the Faith, despite our falleness. The same application could be used for promoting good stewardship of the environment despite creation being "cursed.") Even though we aren't there yet, one day the lamb will lay down with the lion. We should work towards that day as people committed to kingdom ethics.

Pyrrhadox said...

That's the best picture ever of you and a tree. (And, given the competition, that's saying alot!)

raghu said...

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raghu said...

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