AN EDGY ECO-ENCYCLICAL- YOU GO POPE FRANCIS!

sarah-pic-about1By Sarah Heath

“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and foster its renewal is our only hope.” ––Wendall Berry

We were listening politely, and to be honest the speaker up until this point had been unremarkable, with a few points that led me to take notes in my ‘oh-so-hipster’ moleskin journal. It was a youth leader conference filled with thousands of the rarest breed of human… the youth worker. The speaker launched into his climatic point, asserting the importance of contextualizing our ministry and understanding the culture in which we minister. I was tracking… I liked his thoughts on this point. Contextualization made sense as the way to develop authentic community.  He then moved to what he seemed to think was his most compelling example: “For instance the green movement – if you live in an area where people are really engaged in environmental issues, then it is important for you to educate yourself on that and even consider participating in the movement; which is fine because we know the Green movement is just a fad. What we as believers know is that when Jesus comes back, he will destroy this earth, so the green movement doesn’t really matter.”

My reaction was similar to what you do when you think you may get in a car accident. I spread my arms out to protect my two volunteers. It was a knee jerk reaction. As we assumed the crash position, I leaned forward and saw the guy to our right looking horrified, while the rest of the crowd hollered and clapped with agreement. Our team quickly befriended our fellow shocked comrade to the right. Following the session, we all sat together and talked about what was so jarring about the speaker’s message. What struck us most was not his words, but the agreement of the rest of the crowd. Did they really believe that the environment doesn’t matter? That God was going to destroy what He had created? We read scripture to suggest that God was asking us to be the stewards of this world, and that a new heaven and a new earth were possible here… there was nothing faddish about that.

To read the rest of Sarah Heath’s blog, click HERE.

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