The Green Bible

I mentioned before that we are beginning a new sermon series at church called “Left to Our Own Devices”. Eric is challenging us to disconnect with many of our tech devices this month and reconnect personally with people – face to face.

(I’ve also said how difficult some of the covenants I’ve made for this month will be for me!)……achem.

One of the covenants is to spend time in the Bible each day. Transparently, I tend toward reading books. I find books ABOUT the Bible more stimulating and motivating to me than just sitting down with the Bible. When I do read the Bible it is with a feeling of “should” more than anything else. I admit, I’d rather read about various passages. Scott is much more inclined to read straight from the Bible (via downloaded books of the Bible on his computer) than I am, so Eric’s challenge is not as difficult for him in this regard.

Come to think of it, Scott also picks up the phone and calls people rather than texting them.

Looks like I’m on my own this month as far as challenging personal changes…

I did, however, take the opportunity (excuse?) to buy a Bible I’ve been eyeing for a year now. The Green Bible.

No doubt you’re familiar with the red-letter edition of the Bible – Jesus’ words are written in red.

The Green Bible borrows that concept and puts certain passages in green as they pertain to our environment.

Before you turn me off, let me explain…

I am continually surprised that often Christians tend to associate Environmentalism with “Liberal, Bleeding-Heart Democrats”. There are sooooo many misnomers in that sentence that I’d like to correct, but I will concentrate on just one: Our ‘environment’ was given to us by God himself. He entrusted it to us. And we have royally screwed up His directive!!

I am an environmentalist BECAUSE I am a Christian. It is the strongest platform that I have chosen to accept. I vote based on this issue. I realize others vote for other issues that they are passionate about – and that’s totally correct and okay. But for me, stances on the environment play a major role in determining my vote (be it Republican, Independent, or Democrat.) I recently ran into someone who stated about me in third person: “Well, I found out Greta’s a Christian, but I just don’t understand her voting choices.”

This still astounds me. The assumptions (because that person and I have never discussed any specifics about how I vote and why) made on my party voting choices determined whether I was a Christian or not in their mind. Wow…

Judgmentalism, anyone?

Before I begin another rant, let me reign myself back in and stay on topic: God’s creation. And our care for it.

The Green Bible is written in the New Revised Standard Version. There are over 1,000 passages the contributors selected as strong references to the earth and caring for creation. God’s creation – nature, animals, humanity – are inextricably linked to one another. As God cares for all of creation, so too we cannot love one dimension without caring for the others. The Green Bible helps the reader engage in the work of healing and sustaining God’s creation.

The references, highlighted in green throughout the Bible, were selected based on how well they demonstrated:
* how God and Jesus interact with, care for, and are intimately involved with all of creation
* how all the elements of creation – land, water, air, plants, animals, humans – are interdependent
* how nature responds to God
* how we are called to care for creation

The Bible includes a foreward from Desmond Tutu who most closely relays my own feelings with regard to this subject as I do not dissect ‘social justice’ from ‘environmental concerns’. They are one and the same in my mind:

“We are, according to the Bible, made for family. We’re made for community, we’re made for togetherness, we’re made for friendship. We’re made to live in a delicate network of interdependence, for we are made for complementarity. I have gifts you don’t have. And you have gifts that I don’t have. Thus we are made different so that we can know our need of one another. And this is a fundamental law of our being.”

“We must act now and wake up to our moral obligations. The poor and vulnerable are members of God’s family and are the most severely affected by droughts, high temperatures, the flooding of coastal cities, and more severe and unpredictable weather events resulting from climate change. We, who should have been responsible stewards preserving our vulnerable, fragile planet home, have been wantonly wasteful through our reckless consumerism, devouring irreplaceable natural resources. We need to be accountable to God’s family. Once we start living in a way that is people-friendly to all of God’s family, we will also be environment-friendly.”

“At the center of Christian faith and the Bible is the Cross. Jesus says of his ascent to the cross, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:32) As if in this cosmic embrace, Jesus would wish to enfold all that God has created, the entire universe, into unity. His supreme work is to reconcile us to God and to one another and, indeed, to reconcile us to all of God’s creation. It is possible to have a new kind of world, a world where there will be more compassion, more gentleness, more caring, more laughter, more joy for all of God’s creation. “

I’m very excited about this August Twenty-Ten Journey that I will embark on with Eric and the church. And I’m glad to have the companionship of The Green Bible to help direct me to new understandings.

God is good.
All the time.

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