Posted by: NCC Poverty Initiative Director | September 2, 2010

Church and… ecojustice? What do they have to do with each other?

“You’re starting a job doing… what?!  Working with churches?  AND doing eco-justice campaigns?  How does that work?”  This is the reaction I have received quite a few times when I have told my peers about my new job.

For many secular folks and lukewarm religious, church doesn’t seem to have much to do with the world around us.  The cynical say church is about easing personal guilt, or safeguarding against the fear of death.  Others say church is about upholding family traditions, having something wholesome to do on a Sunday, or celebrating holidays like Christmas and Easter.

For Christians deeply involved in our faith, church is so much more.  Church is a space for revelation about the triune God and the mysteries of our existence.  Church is a place of prayer, song, and sharing – where we draw energy to become better people and a better community.  Church makes us mindful that human beings belong to God, which means that ultimately, we are not separated by national, racial, and other boundaries that can undermine our dignity and ability to live in peace.  Church is a network  of companions on a journey to walk in the steps of Jesus to work for justice and affirm the oneness of God’s creation.

It through involvement in the church community that I first understood that my wonder and awe at nature’s beauty was an experience of  divine revelation.  It was at church that I first understood the presence of God in all creation (aka incarnational theology) meant that I should tread lightly and take care of all that is around me.  It is through the church community that I take a long view of the history of human civilizations, and remember my responsibilty to share the riches of God’s good earth for generations to follow.

Church and eco-justice belong together.  And as God’s creation is increasingly in peril, the church’s responsibility to heal and protect God’s lands, skies, waters, plants, animals, and people has never been greater.


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