The problem with the Gulf oil spill is not just that human lives were lost and that the Gulf economy is destroyed and that pelicans and turtles and other animal populations will be wiped out. All of that is bad enough. But worse is this: A sea hemorrhaging black oil now suffocates life instead of nurturing it. The sea does not resound with the glory of God but instead has become a sign of human hubris and greed.
To destroy the environment is not only an economic problem–it is also a theological problem. More specifically, it sabotages worship, the chief end of man and of creation….
Churches can no longer be indifferent to those matters that signal–to our members and to the world we long to reach for Christ–whether or not the Earth can resound to God’s glory. At a very practical level, it means not just preaching and teaching but also being faithful in small things: taking concern for how efficiently we heat and cool our buildings, encouraging recycling at church gatherings, starting a community garden, and doing a hundred other things that signal our commitment to living in a way that exemplifies God’s intentions for his Earth.
The ground has shifted. The church–created to glorify God–can no longer pretend that creation care is an issue just for “sea huggers.” We are the sea huggers. We must change our talk to embrace creation care, and eagerly walk that talk.