by Robin Gericke, Managing Editor
Trump, the refugee crisis, racial tensions and questions over homosexual agendas in children’s movies have pushed climate change and earth preservation topics out of news feeds. This is still an issue to address as we continue to dump garbage into landfills, drive cars and use electricity; yet, perhaps Christians shouldn’t waste their time advocating for earth preservation.
According to 2 Peter 3:12-13, “That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” Because God is planning to give us a new heaven and a new earth, we should not be concerned with the care of this current one. Megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll agrees. ““I know who made the environment and he’s coming back and going to burn it all up. So yes, I drive an SUV,” Driscoll said at a Catalyst conference.
In fact, the most firm believers of this principle could even apply that to their bodies “for we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands” (2 Corinthians 5:1). Therefore, as Christians we should have no regard for the earth or the bodies God has given us.
Hopefully, you can see by now that this mindset is unreasonable. While we should hope for the new kingdom God is preparing, we are responsible for caring for the present world we dwell in. I was raised in a home that composted and recycled, resulting in only one or two bags of trash generated a month, and I believe this practice is part of fulfilling the call we as Christians have to care for the earth.
Communications Department Chair Dr. Jim Shores also believes that part of a Christian’s purpose is environmental stewardship. “Genesis 2:15 states, ‘The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.’ Even before he is told to be fruitful and multiply, man is named as a cultivator and steward of God’s creation. Wise stewardship is our first named purpose,” Shores said.
An aspect of stewardship is using our resources well. “Recycling is wise use, because it reduces energy consumption, reduces what goes in landfills, conserves natural resources, saves wildlife (trees are habitats), is good for the economy and reduces greenhouse emissions,” said Shores.
While there are good intentions to practice environmental stewardship, I have found that recycling at Asbury is a challenge. There are recycling cans located in certain buildings around campus, but they are not in prominent locations. To make recycling convenient, recycling bins could be located right next to trash cans. For example, the recycling bin in the Bistro is located outside the doors, so if students notice it, they have already thrown away their plastic cups and containers.
“I don’t think our culture really values environmental stewardship,” Shores said. “I think we see that as an issue more for the left and have walked away from our first purpose. On top of that, if recycling is inconvenient, then even if I want to recycle, busy students or professors with a coffee cup in their hand are going to throw it in the nearest receptacle and move on.”
As a Christian university, I believe that environmental stewardship should be valued, encouraged and practiced. “Our mission includes a call to ‘leadership and service to the professions, society, the family and the Church.’ If we are going to serve society, we should be leading and not following when it comes to wise stewardship of resources,” Shores said. “Wesley urged his people not to waste money, time or resources. In that tradition, we should do the same with our resources.”