I had signed on for Green Beans's Bookworm Challenge. I chose my book: "Living Downstream". Then, Pastor Randy handed me a book that he had received in a mailing from the Willow Creek Association, and wondered of I would like to read it, since he himself did not have time at the moment. The book looked intriguing, and, in what seems to be my new habit of jumping from thing to thing, I decided to read it and review it instead of my original choice.
"Saving God's Green Earth" was written as an outgrowth of Pastor Tri Robinson's experience of teaching his Vineyard Church of Boisie, Idaho, how they could involve themselves in environmental stewardship. When he first felt lead to start teaching his congregation about creation care, he was somewhat concerned about the reaction he would get from them. He needn't have worried; his sermon received a standing ovation. He found that there is profound concern for the environment among evangelicals, but their leaders have been reluctant to approach the subject because the environmental movement has so often also been associated with the New Age movement, as well as with liberal social causes that cannot be embraced by many Christians. He has navigated this minefield very successfully, and his congregation has embraced a role in the community as leaders in creation care.
Pastor Robinson's approach resonated for me with things that I had already thought through in my own life. Premise #1: The way we treat creation says something about our respect (or lack thereof) for the Creator, and relates to the commandment to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Premise #2: In loving our neighbors as ourselves, we need to keep in mind that they live downstream, downwind, and beyond us into the future. We have an obligation to share the environment with them as loving neighbors. Premise #3: Hopelessness is not part of Christian faith. We can do all things through Christ, including tackling a monumental challenge like restoring and maintaining the creation. Every individual's lifestyle choices, no matter how small, can be multiplied for the good of others when they are dedicated to God.
This is a short and easily read book, and provides an excellent Biblical foundation for dealing with the issues that are so front and center in our society today. I recommend it as a starting point for Christian thought on the subject. There are some concrete suggestions in the last two chapters that can be applied in most churches. It is readable and practical. I think the Willow Creek Association should be commended for making it available to all the association pastors.