Thursday, June 16, 2005

Confession of an Environmentalist

I toured the Roger Tory Peterson Institute today . In the event you don't know who Roger Tory Peterson is, buy any book written to identify species of birds and more than likely Tory Peterson's drawings are the illustrations. The educator who gave us the tour of the beautiful facility dedicated to preserving some of the artifacts associated with Tory Peterson's life, made a comment that is still rattling around in my head. He said, "Christians often talk about God's creation in terms of "stewardship" which is understood to mean that it is a gift to us to use as we wish. In reality, stewardship means that we are responsible for the care of something that belongs to someone else." And then he asked, "how many of you are able to identify the species of trees and plants in your yard? Can you name the birds that feed at your bird-feeder during different seasons of the year?"

I wrote a thesis on the topic of "Job, Creation, and the Environmental Crisis" a number of years ago in graduate school, so I'd like to think I have a fairly accute sensitivity to specific elements of creation around me. But, sadly, I live from day-to-day in God's creation without paying too much attention to the species of trees, birds, or animals that eat my garden. Occasionally I get up close and personal with God's creation when I must search for a lost golf ball. Like many, I have taken the wonder of creation, analyzed it, written about it, and forgot about it. This saddens me because for one brief moment this afternoon, I was awakened again to the vastness of God's good creation and the privilege of living in the midst of that creation everyday.

I need to do something about this. The way I see it, to be a follower of Jesus is to be an environmentalist. One is not a "Christian environmentalist" any more than one is a "Christian Psychologist". Rather, to love the God who is responsible for the creation that I enjoy everyday of my life requires me to do more than give lip service and then live as I wish. Tonight, I plan to begin by sitting on the patio after dinner watching and listening as creation around me carries on with it's evening routine. I may not be able to identify the source of the sounds and sights tonight, but by the end the end of the summer who knows?


At 6:38 PM, Blogger Scot McKnight said...

Start by purchasing Roger Tory Peterson's Guide to Birds EAst of the Rockies and then try to identify every bird you see -- I've had my own copy since the 80s and have identified over a hundred birds (and that doesn't count those on the West Coast or other odd places we've traveled).

I can't say I'm an environmentalist when it comes to tress and bushes and flowers, but appreciating them by learning "who they are" is a good place to start.

At 7:15 PM, Anonymous mama's milk said...

May I suggest a nice glass of wine may enhance the experience.

At 10:57 PM, Blogger BJBergfalk said...

mama's milk might be on to something...


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