Friday, April 21, 2006

Earth Day -- or Stewardship day -- you pick

Tomorrow is the annual celebration of Earth Day. More conservative readers might gnash their teeth at such granolaish, hippie sounding holiday. But Bible-believing Christians might have reason to celebrate. Not because we worship the Earth or recognize some kind of "planetary spirit" -- but rather because God has entrusted the Earth and all of creation to our care -- and we are accountable to Him.

"God blessed them and said to them 'Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." (Genesis 1:28) Now some have taken this verse to mean that humans are to dominate -- and many critics of Christianity say that's what the verse teaches. But it isn't. In the context of a story of very orderly creation of all things very good -- mankind has been placed as caretakers of God's good creation, not plunderers. Additionally, Genesis 2 shows that mankind has been placed under God's authority, so we are accountable for our obedience -- and a part of that obedience is our care of what has been entrusted to us.

Finally -- look at the pattern of Biblical rulership -- God establishes the king as a servant to the people, not as master (Deuteronomy 17:14-20), Jesus says that whoever would be greatest must be a servant (Matthew 20:20-28). Even so, mankind in being established as ruling the earth is set up as caretaker.

Some Evangelicals have stirred a lot of flap by entering the public policy arena on the issue of the environment. However, I'd like to shy away from politics because it distracts us from Jesus calling upon our own lives. What are the things we can do up close and personal regarding environmental stewardship.

When I posted on this topic in August I talked about composting, the battery powered Neuton mower (perfect for small yards), and properly disposing of household hazardous waste (such as batteries and paint cans etc -- Hamilton County has a great program for this).

Now I'd like to add one more thing to the list -- freecycling. Rather than sending reasonably useful stuff to the landfill -- consider freecycling. The freecycle movment is one where when you're done with something, you pass it on to someone who can use it -- when you need something, simply ask. Cincinnati Freecycle operates a Yahoo group with a bulletin board. You simply post an Offer for your item, and people will email you to arrange to pick it up. I posted an offer for our old microwave and received 4 replies that same day -- easy as can be. No landfill -- no worries.

Now the next big challenge -- living more simply -- using less stuff so that we just don't have as much junk around the house -- that will be a lifetime project!

Soli Deo Gloria