Welcome to the Crawl

Before you start, make sure someone gives The Schpeel to your group. 

Also, remember these conversation tips: 1) Be polite, and don’t take offense, 2) Say something if you don’t understand, 3) Ask “why” and speak up if you disagree (It’s not rude, its just a good conversation). Now, order a drink and start unpacking the deep mysteries of the universe!

The Big Question: Is there a “Christian” Approach to Environmental Issues?

The Main Questions

  • What do most people mean by “nature,” “creation,” and “the environment” How are the above three terms related? How are they different?
  • How have you seen the Christian tradition used to the detriment of environmental health? What theologies supported these actions.
  • As a group, make a quick list of contemporary issues that you would include under the heading: environmental issues.
  • Look at the “Important Scriptures” section below and answer the following  questions:
    • How do these passages describe the relationship between God the natural world?
    • How do these passages describe humanity’s relationship with the natural world?
    • Does the natural world have a purpose? If not, explain. If so, what is it?
    • Is the concept of preservation/conservation of natural resources apparent in these passages? Is it anywhere else in the Bible?
  • Was Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection significant for the environment? If not, does Jesus matter at all for the environment? If yes, how so?
  • Can a person’s understanding of the second coming of Christ, final judgement, and the new creation (i.e. eschatology) have an affect on their treatment of the environment? How so?
  • What ideas and values should form the foundation of a Christian’s response to environmental issues? How is this distinct from other approaches?
  • What are some practical things that you can do now to embody an ethical Christian response to environmental issues? Choose a few from your list above and be specific.

Important Scripture

  • The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it. For He has founded it upon the seas And established it upon the rivers // Pslam 24:1-2
  • Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” // Genesis 1:26-28
  • A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel. // Proverbs 12:10
  • You shall sow your land for six years and gather in its yield, but on the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the needy of your people may eat; and whatever they leave the beast of the field may eat. You are to do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove. // Exodus 23:10-11
  • But every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. // James 3:7
  • Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! “And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? “If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters // Luke 12:24-28
  • “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. // Romans 8:22-23

THOUGHTS FROM OTHERS

  • Doth not all nature around me praise God? If I were silent, I should be an exception to the universe. Doth not the thunder praise Him as it rolls like drums in the march of the God of armies? Do not the mountains praise Him when the woods upon their summits wave in adoration? Doth not the lightning write His name in letters of fire? Hath not the whole earth a voice? And shall I, can I, silent be?” // Charles Spurgeon
  • The gravity of the ecological situation reveals how deep is the human moral crisis” // Pope John Paul II
  • Climate change is an issue that impels us to think about God’s justice and how we are to echo it in our world. // Rowan Williams
  • We must accept that a number of conservative evangelicals, especially from older generations, will never support significant action on climate change, especially if it means signing a global treaty. // Lisa Vox
  • We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it. // Wendell Berry

RESOURCES

SUPPORT AN ORGANIZATION

This summer, REUNION Somerville’s generosity team has teamed up with the Northern Crawl to turn our conversations into action. Each week, after the discussion, participants will vote on an organization to support financially.

Below are the organizations that will be voted on this week: 

  • GreenFaith – GreenFaith’s mission is to inspire, educate and mobilize people of diverse religious backgrounds for environmental leadership.  Their work is based on beliefs shared by the world’s great religions – that protecting the earth is a religious value, and that environmental stewardship is a moral responsibility.
  • Sierra Club – The Sierra Club seeks to explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth. Founded by legendary conservationist John Muir in 1892, the Sierra Club is now the nation’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization — with three million members and supporters. Their successes range from protecting millions of acres of wilderness to helping pass the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act.
  • World Wildlife Federation – For 50 years, WWF has been protecting the future of nature. The world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by more than one million members in the United States and close to five million globally. WWF’s mission is to conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth..