Why should churches care for God's creation?
Eco-Justice Ministries has several answers to the "why should churches care?" question, depending on who is in the audience. Here are three of the primary reasons that we share, and that motivate our work.
Caring for creation strengthens the church.
The Christian church -- certainly as it is often seen in Protestant congregations in the United States -- will be strengthened and focused by a strong eco-justice focus.
- Churches will come to a renewed sense of relationship with our neighbors around the world, into future generations, and among all species. The faithful imperative to love your neighbor will broaden our vision.
- We will be able to claim a richer and more pertinent spirituality -- one that affirms abundance (enough) instead of affluence, and that is rooted in gratitidue instead of our culture's prevailing dissatisfaction.
- Churches will reclaim hope as a present reality, instead of the weaker optimism of "hope for" a particular outcome sometime in the future.
- Churches will find a more assertive and public witness, knowing that our cause is worth sharing with those around us.
Churches have unique gifts to bring to the environmental movement.
When churches join in the broader environmental movement, we bring gifts and insights to the larger cause.
- Churches have stressed the global justice components of the ecological crisis, remembering people around the world, and working in mission partnership with a variety of leaders.
- Through the theological principles of eco-justice and the integrity of creation, churches extend the ecological cause beyond human needs and goals.
- Churches bring a hopeful and compassionate perspective. We lift up the good news that a different way of life -- a just and sustainable society -- can be a better way of life for us all.
- Churches can encourage respectful conversation among groups that are often in conflict. As respected institutions in their communities, congregations that embody diversity and conversation can be a setting that foster understanding and dialogue.
Churches -- in their facilities and through their members -- can reduce environmental impacts.
This is the most practical and direct reason. Churches should be vigourously engaged in act of environmental responsibility, resource conservation, and public witness because they can make a real difference by doing so.
- Many churches have buildings that are horrible about resource conservation. Heating and cooling equipment is old and poorly maintained, buildings have little insulation and leaky windows, lights are inefficient, and on down the list. There is a dramatic impact when churches get up to community standards, and move on into significant investments in new technology.
- Churches can educate their members about good environmental practices, and use their moral influence to encourage proper behaviors. There's a strong community effect when churches spread their influence.
- Churches are among the best institutions for lifting a new moral vision in their communities. When religious congregations encourage voluntary simplicity, they make a real difference.
All of these reasons are true. Which one seems most compelling to you?
Eco-Justice Ministries * 400 S Williams St, Denver, CO 80209 * 303.715.3873
Home Page: www.eco-justice.org *