The Crossroads of Faith and Sustainability

The two go hand-in-hand

“I’m so happy I discovered your organization. I’m a Christian and I’ve been wondering where my love for the environment fits in with my faith!”

This isn’t an unusual comment for us to hear sometimes. There are many people with a deep Christian faith who hold a belief that our responsibility to care for the environment flows from our spiritual beliefs.

Unfortunately, our culture doesn’t often express this. 

Historically, Christians have been statistically less likely to support efforts to protect the environment in comparison to the general population.

Kyle Meyaard-Schaap, of Young Evangelicals for Climate Action (YECA) explains that this is more likely due to the relationship between environmental issues and other political tendencies. “Climate change has effectively been polarized. Many Christians in the US have come to the conclusion that supporting climate action must also mean supporting other liberal and socially economic positions,” he explains.

However, this trend is shifting quickly. Especially as Christians have put greater emphasis on the connection between creation and serving the Creator. Pastor Tony Lankford explains, “regardless of political or theological leanings, there is agreement upon the basic tenet that God formed all of this beauty around us, and scripture [Genesis 1-2] gives us a responsibility to be stewards of that creation. For me, thus, mismanagement and abuse of creation is not only immoral or unethical, but is sinful.”

Kyle Meyaard-Schapp of Young Evangelicals for Climate Action sees his care for the enviroment as inseparable from his faith.
Kyle Meyaard-Schapp of Young Evangelicals for Climate Action sees his care for the environment as inseparable from his faith.

Caring for the environment reminds us that God is always at work.

“What I’ve found is that through contemplation, we can enter in to the life of God that is involved on our planet. It’s the difference between thinking it’s up to us and learning how to partner with the Creator who cares more than we do,” explains Phileena Heurtz, a spiritual director from The Gravity Center.

The first chapter of Romans reminds us that nature itself demonstrates enough of God’s qualities that we’re without excuse for not recognizing His goodness.

For many, the role of Christians in relationship to the surrounding environment comes down to stewardship. Just like our talents and abilities, or our financial resources, God did not give us our ecological resources merely for our own benefit, but also so we could participate in the process of Creation.

A close examination of nature, in any capacity, reveals how intricately designed life ultimately is. The more we understand any aspect of creation, from biology to chemistry to the human body and ecosystem health, we realize that God’s creative process is ongoing.

Our responsibility as humans hasn’t changed much since it was first assigned in Genesis: to protect and serve all of Creation.

Ultimately, God asks us to take care of His planet. And by doing so, we ultimately find ourselves closer to God.

Phileena Heurtz appears on our latest podcast episode
Phileena Heurtz appears on our latest podcast episode

We’re bringing faith and the environment together in our latest podcast episode.

In our newest episode of Grassroots, we explore the process of Loving God by Loving Creation.

We discover how God communicates with us and even tells us the story of the gospel through elements of creation. We explore the role that trees in particular play as signposts in the relationship between God and humankind.

We’ll also discover some practical ways to discover what God is actively doing through the process of creation. We learn about how to integrate this into our prayer life.

And we’ll also explore the reasons why this is a more challenging topic to address in church than it really needs to be.

Joining us are Matthew Sleeth, the author of Reforesting Faith, Tim Buechsel, a pastor from The Vine Church in Hong Kong, and Phileena Heurtz from The Gravity Center.

Tune in to the newest episode of Grassroots on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Anchor, or by using the player below:

 

Josh Ortega

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