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Green-fingered Father

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by Housesitter, Oct 27, 2007.

  1. Green-fingered Father

    Here is another article by my friend Dr John Dempster.

    Green-fingered Father

    When I walked in to work at the library the other day, the title of a book grabbed my attention. It’s not easy being green was written by Dick Strawbridge who together with his family committed to living a sustainable lifestyle.

    I imagined another book entitled It’s not easy being a Christian and began to compare the challenges you face when you embrace a green lifestyle with those confronting someone who puts their faith in God.

    The need for action to limit energy use became even clearer with the publication last week of an authoritative United Nations report on the global environment. It concluded that ‘humanity’s very survival’ is at risk due to the speed at which we are using up the earth’s resources. Addressing this crisis will require motivation and commitment from individuals and businesses as well as from governments, and there will be opposition from those who haven’t faced up to the scale of the problem, and those who are too self-centred to take action.

    Christians, too, have an authoritative report – the Bible – which urges action to address the environmental problems affecting human hearts and human society. It too issues a stark warning - unless we turn to God individually and as communities we will be lost. Addressing this crisis will require motivation and commitment as we let God change our hearts and work with him to transform our lifestyles. There will be opposition from those who deny the problem, and from those who don’t acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the ultimate answer to personal and social disintegration.

    I wondered how my commitment to being a Christian compared with my commitment to saving the environment. Ask me, and I’ll acknowledge it’s crucial we do everything we can to protect the fragile earth, and I’ll show due respect to the ‘Reduce, re-use, recycle’ mantra. But am I paying lip-service to a greener lifestyle without taking personal responsibility for how I live?

    Do I simply read the books on environmentally friendly living, and think ‘It would be great to live that way!’ and then do nothing? Dick Strawbridge admitted repeatedly returning to The complete book of self-sufficiency over 25 years without actually putting into practice what he found in its pages.

    The genuineness of my commitment will show in my actions. How much waste do I actually recycle? How much thought do I give to ways of reducing the amount of energy we use as a family? Judged on these terms, my enthusiasm for saving the earth doesn’t actually go very deep.

    And what about my Christianity? I write and speak about my beliefs, highlighting the need to find God and live in open relationship with him. But am I merely paying lip-service to the need to live in the light of his presence without taking personal responsibility for living that way myself? Do I spend decade after decade reading The complete book of God-sufficiency and think it would be great to live that way without taking any steps to put its contents into practice?

    The genuineness of my commitment to God will show in my actions. Do I show love and grace in my relationships? Do I care enough for people to risk intervening when I think someone’s making a mistake? Do I live as though God is real, as though whether or not someone opens themselves up to him has eternal consequences?

    In fact, there are strong links between being green and being Christian. Christian faith affects all aspects of life, calling us to be committed not just to seeking the good of the environment of the human heart and the social environment, but also the good of the physical world. We believe it is God’s gift, entrusted to our care.

    It’s neither easy to be green or Christian, and perhaps it’s hardest of all to be a green Christian, for some will level the criticism that saving souls should be given greater priority than saving the earth. But I believe God is green, for all his creation is closely inter-related. When people begin to seek God, he begins transforming their hearts. This inevitably leads to a transformation of their relationships and their communities. And as communities change, so the physical environment is affected as we live together in more godly, loving and responsible ways.

    And there are hints in the Bible that there is more to it than this. Hints that when God sees communities and nations turning to him, in his joy he breathes upon their environment, restoring its fruitfulness: ‘If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.’

    John A. H. Dempster
    First published in Highland Group of Newspapers
  2. Ray.... Thank your friend for that very thoughtful and chalenging article. that to me is so timely. tonight we celebrated our diversity in our church with a night called International Festival and I would like to think that I attend the most unique church in Canada as we boast of 45 different nations all worshipping under the same roof. It is like a mini united nations. Tonight we experienced music and dance from around the world and then got to taiste all the foods after in the gymn. Awesome. ! As one person said this is what heaven is going to be like with every nationality represented. We are truely a blessed peoples.

  3. Your church sounds fantastic!
  4. This was a VERY interesting and enlightening article.
    I really appreciate it!

    I want to be a Green Christian! :)

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