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Part 2: The environment 19 October 2008 T HINGS WE DON ’ T TALK ABOUT.

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Presentation on theme: "Part 2: The environment 19 October 2008 T HINGS WE DON ’ T TALK ABOUT."— Presentation transcript:

1 Part 2: The environment 19 October 2008 T HINGS WE DON ’ T TALK ABOUT

2 T HERE ARE SOME THINGS WE JUST DON ’ T TALK ABOUT  Among these are:  Religion and politics (just don’t go there please!)  Environmental concerns (that’s for greenies)  The world of work and industrial relations(umm… unions and bosses)  War (a necessary evil?)  Asylum seekers (aka ‘illegal immigrants’)  Changing the world (oh so you are Miss Universe?)  Tax (yeah we pay too much)  Indigenous issues (tell me who they are again)  The intersection of these things with Christian faith just doesn’t seem to get traction among many Christian or non- Christian leaders Recap

3 I’ M NOT A ‘ GREENIE ’ AND I NEVER WAS My early experiences of ‘environment’ and ‘wilderness’ were strongly shaped by my family: my dad worked for the ‘Hydro’. Environmentalists were therefore seen as a threat, particularly at the time of the flooding of Lake Pedder. Wilderness, then was something to be tamed and while there was clearly beauty in it, conservation was not something worth pursuing. 1974

4 I F IT STANDS, CHOP IT DOWN ; IF IT FLOWS, DAM IT ! Back then, few people thought of the environment as an issue that required a Christian response. If there was a Christian view it was that ‘God gave the world to men to subdue it’. 1976

5 B UT THEN CAME THE ‘G ORDON BELOW F RANKLIN ’ I recall the polarised views in Tasmania at the time. And I decided to see what the fuss was about. So with a few friends I flew over it, climbed over it and had lots of experiences in thick mud. Was the Franklin a ‘ditch’ as it was described? Or did it have intrinsic value? Frankly, I was stunned

6 I S THERE JUSTIFICATION FOR ‘E XPLOITATION ’? As I travelled around Australia and overseas, my intuition told me that exploitation as an end in itself is counterproductive. While we need to use the resources God has put at our disposal, what is the point in destroying our natural heritage, which is on par with the best in the world? I felt that many people in Tasmania really didn’t understand the wonder of what God had given us in the place we lived. 1985: Mt Geryon and the Acropolis

7 S O WHERE DO THESE CRAZY IDEAS COME FROM ? GE 1:28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." This sounds simple enough doesn’t it? Reading this in isolation suggests that God has delegated us with his authority, to fill it, exploit it and dominate it. However, we had better be careful about reading this in isolation… Dominate? We are doing this well! Exploit?

8 I S THE ‘ IMAGE OF G OD ’ CREATIVE OR EXPLOITATIVE ? GE 1:26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.“ GE 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. If it is true that we have been given responsibility for (not just a right to subdue) creation then we had better be careful not to destroy the good that He has created. I would then argue that we do not have the right to destroy creation simply for our own ends—especially when it is accompanied by greed, corruption, deceit and wilful disregard for the dignity of human life.

9 N ATURE ITSELF FORCES US TO REASSESS OUR THEOLOGY JOB 38:33 Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God's dominion over the earth? In the scheme of things ‘dominion’ is not ours. Rather it belongs to God. In the light of this it just doesn’t make sense to disregard the compelling arguments that are arising in response to global environmental changes. Reasons for environmental concern: 1.Population growth 2.Resource depletion 3.Reduced biodiversity 4.Waste disposal 5.Climate change

10 T OWARDS A C HRISTIAN RESPONSE “While the vast disparity between wealth and poverty remains, Christians are bound to have an uneasy conscience. We should strenuously avoid all wastefulness and greed, not only out of solidarity for the poor but also out of respect for the living environment”. (Stott et al. 2006:157) It seems strange to me that while Christians have been at the forefront of thinking and action in relation to addressing human poverty, they have been amazingly slow to recognise their role in shaping society’s thinking about environmental issues. Surely the two are intrinsically linked? Stott, J McCloughry, R and Wyatt, J, 2006, Issues Facing Christians Today, 4th Edition, Zondervan, Grand Rapids.

11 W ORTH KEEPING I continue to be inspired and amazed at the awesome wonder of God’s creation. It strikes me that there is nothing in this world that man has done or created that comes close.


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