John Mark McMillan, Body + Ghost

John Mark McMillan on Caring for Creation

John Mark McMillan: Creation care is an act of love

John Mark McMillan is a widely-respected music artist. He is also passionate about how the environment impacts people. This fall, Plant With Purpose has had the privilege of teaming up with John Mark McMillan on his seventeen city tour. The tour also includes opening acts Tyson Motsenbocker and Mike Mains and the Branches.

The Body + Ghost tour features McMillan and his band playing some of their most known songs as well as newer releases, and is meant to focus on the physicality of our faith. McMillan explains that the ideas of body and ghost represent two ways of thinking about faith. Our faith includes our beliefs and our inner lives that cannot be seen. This is reflected in the theme of “ghost,” while “body” reminds us that faith is also reflected in the physical world. The way we respond to the world around us reveals our spiritual state.

“I believe the way James puts it is that, faith without works is dead,” remarked McMillan in front of his audience in Waco, Texas.

John Mark McMillan in Oklahoma City
John Mark McMillan in Oklahoma City

“There’s a physicality to faith.”

John Mark McMillan’s interest initially sparked as he observed how the world’s poorest populations are the ones most affected by the environment.

“Most of the world’s poor live in the country,” he further explains. “They’re rural people.”

“When we think of the poorest of the poor, we think of slums. And slums are a real thing. But most of the poorest of the poor live in the country. They live off the land for food, for a living, and they’re the most affected by their soil. By bad weather. Or by climate change.”

He saw the implications this understanding had on his Christian life.

“When I think about faith and what Jesus calls the foundation of His discipline, you know, our attempt to be like Christ, it all comes down to loving God and loving our neighbor. Paul goes on to explain that this isn’t a two part series.

“You love God by the way you love people. My friend says that you love God as much as the person you love the least.”

John Mark McMillan performs at Tower Theatre
John Mark McMillan performs at Tower Theatre

John Mark McMillan now serves as an advocate for his global neighbors.

In 2015, McMillan traveled to Paris to participate in discussions surrounding the Paris Climate Treaty. He describes the experience as exciting as well as unfamiliar. He notes that he felt a bit out of place amidst political leaders and various heads of state. “I don’t care if you’re on the left or on the right,” he says of the politicization of the issue. “I just want to know that you care about this.”

“In December, the United Nations is holding another Convention of Parties meeting in Poland. I’m now hoping to be able to go again and to bring thousands of signatures from believers to show them that this matters to us,” he explains about his next steps.

“When I think about who my neighbor is, my definition is any person affected by the way I live. The poorest of the poor are affected by the way we live. What does that mean for us?”

Want to add your name to the petition? Just follow this link to send our leaders a compassionate reminder that their decisions surrounding environmental stewardship impact millions of vulnerable lives. And if you happen to live anywhere that John Mark McMillan will be touring, go see a show!

Philippe Lazaro

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