The first day at LTTG-07 here at Vineyard Church, Boise Idaho was full of great fellowship, worship, workshops and discussions among evangelical and secular environmental leaders. Day Two is just getting underway.
For you folks new to LTTG, this is the second annual gathering of Christian leadership from across the United States (and beyond?) to honor the Creator and diligently seek ways to be better stewards of creation. The idea for the conference was hatched by VB’s pastor Tri Robinson. My post from last year’s conference is here, including audio links from a couple of the sessions.
Will be updating this post at the end of the day so check back. Here’s a copy of the schedule on-line if you want to follow along. I’ll be embedding audio links at my home blog as soon as the crack Vineyard team records and posts them online. And PLEASE – wherever you are reading this – PRAY for all of us here this week that God will be glorified in everything that goes on here.
LOTS MORE – READ ON…..
[UPDATE: Fixed the formatting now…]
AT ABOUT ONE O’CLOCK in the morning, after an unintentionally-red-eyed flight from Rhode Island (NW Airlines was, ahem, typically tardy getting out of MSP), I know I’m finally here when I spy Pete Illyn’s bearish hulk from across the terminal. Had already met Paul Steury from Goshen College in the boarding line in Minneapolis, who pointed out three other guys also on their way to Boise. All of us were looking a little grizzled and sheepish but ten minutes together on the other end waiting for bags were enough to start melting the ice.
Next to Peter stood a warmly smiling Ben Lowe from A Rocha USA. Was great to see him finally. When the conference was announced back in May or June Vineyard was hoping to get Matt Sleeth (author and A Rocha Director) out to speak. His schedule wouldn’t permit it. I offered to Matt’s wife Nancy to go and present his slides on his behalf, but when events in my life over the summer made it doubtful I’d even be here Ben stepped in. I have no doubt God has used this for His good, and it’s going to be a privilege to help Ben present A Rocha’s portion of the conference. Also wanted to acknowledge Nancy’s help with the plane ticket. Wouldn’t be here without them.
By 2:00 a.m. or so we were on the road. Last year I was graciously put up by a family here at the church. This year’s accommodations are a bit more – ah – rustic. In the headlights of Pete’s Lincoln we saw a long row of tents he had set up for us in a ball field next to the church grounds. It’s been way too long since I slept outdoors, down flat on God’s good earth, breathing the chilly moist air. Somehow that seems completely appropriate. If we are inclined to worship on our feet and pray on our knees, perhaps God inclines us from time to time to simply recline against his world and let it support us.
Supported, without needing to take anything from it as we do.
Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? [Exodus 15:11]
ANDY AND THE WORSHIP team, with Jessie Nilo (Vineyard Arts League Director), kicked off with prayer and singing. Gotta admit this is my favorite part of the whole experience. Great hearing from the different speakers and attending the workshops and networking, but worshiping God takes this to a whole ‘nother level and nobody does this better than the Vineyard folks. After some admin remarks from Jason Chatraw [from Tri Robinson’s book publisher Ampelon] and Peter, Pastor Tri lead the speakers with an update on the significant events of the past year.
Highlights of his introduction:
– He recapped several meetings with environmental groups on behalf of evangelicals and building trust and friendships. People are still very timid, he said, particularly senior pastors, with the issue of ecology. But he believes this is going to change over the next several years. This conversation is becoming "more valid" as he demonstrates that he can be a senior pastor of a "significant evangelical church," be green, and live to tell about it.
– The conversation is "way out there" in a more powerful way than in the past year. Success is not defined by bodies in the pew (i.e. body counts) but by who’s here for two reasons. First, we’re pioneering something [environmental ministry] that is unique. Second, lots of folks are connecting via the Internet. The workshops will be online this time, because all the workshop information was heavily used last year. Workshop leaders [he addressed them directly] should teach like they’re teaching to a thousand folks.
– Lots of friendships and relationships were built last year. Fellowship, he says, is a common cause, "community with a purpose." A fellowship is developing around the common cause and purpose of Christian ecology, and transform the attitude of Christians. He sees that fellowship caring for creation right until the Landlord comes at the Second Coming.
THURSDAY MORNING SESSION – The Evangelical Awakening to Environmental Concern: A Pastor’s Perspective. Ken Wilson, Senior Pastor, Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor, Michigan.
– [placeholder for audio clip]
– Creation Care for Busy Pastors booklet, available online (.pdf file).
– Website: CreationCareForPastors.com
– Wouldn’t it be odd, he says, for people who have a heart for the Gospel and impacting the world and who believe that God has made all of Creation, for these to also have a tendency to ignore (doubt) environmental problems among the other global issues evangelicals are addressing. In the 17th century Christians had gotten used to slavery. They missed the whole narrative of the Bible of bondage to freedom, and justified slavery with a couple verses. They were partial to their sugar and other material comforts slavery provided. Why did it take American Christians almost a hundred years to join their British Christian bretheren? But by the 19th century modern evangelicals wrestled the truth free, and Charles Finney (evangelist and abolitionist) and others helped transform the nation and, by extension, the world.
– "What doesn’t fit with God’s heart eventually has to go." If only for the brute fact that He can outlast us.
– Pastor Ken’s testimony on how God finally led him to understand the ministry of creation care through a small conference with Cal DeWitt at Ausable Institute among others, and his personal research on environmental science, is well worth your time! – It’s not understanding and responding to scientific issues – climate, pollution, etc – that will solve environmental problems, he says. "Pride, apathy and greed are our real environmental problems." Even scientists realize our nation needs a spiritual and cultural change, and that Church – not science – is uniquely equipped to do that.
– It was a mistake on his part to think God’s love was limited to dealing with abortion but not protecting wildlife. He also admits a long-standing gap between stereotypical environmentalists who didn’t have any consideration for his faith, and talk radio hosts (Limbaugh) et al) who didn’t have any consideration for ecology. [Side note: Tri mentioned Limbaugh too. At the risk of being his apologist, I’ve listened to Limbaugh’s use of the term "environmentalist wacko" for years. More often than not it’s an appropriate tag for sky-is-falling activists whose environmentalism is a secular religion more than informed stewardship. He also says their militancy is counterproductive to doing good things. Easy to assume he’s zinging everybody concerned for the health of the environment. I just don’t read him that way. db]
– He gave an overview of the latest national efforts to draw a consensus on climate change and other issues, encouraging us not to pretend they aren’t something about which we should be concerned. The possible solutions for global warming, for instance, are things we should be doing anyway. He also notes (I’ve known this for some time) that evangelicalism has "peaked" – we are weary of becoming culture warriors – and aren’t as influential as we were at one time, but that there are enormous opportunities to reach out into the world through the cause of the Creation.
– Using ecology to bridge the divide between the sacred and secular rather than "inflame" it is an opportunity we must not fail to jump at. Pastors are demonstrating that they’re not afraid to engage in the scientific debate, and by doing this, opportunities to share the Gospel are opening up. Those opportunities are approaching overseas (China, etc) too. Pastors need to lead. "Don’t be afraid of the noisy few who will resist you." Read your bibles and read your science.
– "The Gospel brings hope to the environmental movement." AMEN! It’s a sacred trust. We should be prepared to study, pray and act. Question from the floor: What’s the age of the earth and what does the Bible say about it? Ken’s answer is that this is irrelevant; that we will be judged on what we do. Interesting bit of grace-filled cross talk between the two on the truth of scripture and the origins of the earth. Ken notes evangelicals are a diverse group and the creation-evolution debate shouldn’t derail our loyalty to Jesus or our accepting each another as brothers.
Tri joined him on the stage and says these discussions are needed so we don’t kill off "forward movement." He closed by leading the congregation in prayer.
SPOTLIGHT: Rusty Pritchard, Evangelical Environmental Network. Another guy I’ve wanted to meet since listening to his debate at FRC earlier this year. Seems he and I think a lot alike on many green Christian issues. Nice to see him here helping moderate some of the afternoon breakout sessions. And boy, would I love to get Rusty blogging…
THURSDAY AFTERNOON WORKSHOPS – Here’s the lineup for this afternoon. Will post any audio clips, links and handouts as I get them.
2:00 to 3:15
"Creation 101" – The basics of how nature works. Learning from God’s design principles in the creation and using them as a template for technologies and projects that bring healing to the nations…and the earth. Real world examples of projects. Discussion Leader: Scott Huffman
"Alternative energy options" – A look at building a clean energy economy and the proposed nuclear plant in Idaho. Discussion Leaders: Rhys Roth, Climate Solutions; Don Gillispie, Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc. [Comment: Fruitful discussion, although some folks noted the lack of frank discussion on limitations and problems of both conventional and alternative energy sources. db]
“Campuses that Care” – Strategies for engaging your campus in environmental stewardship. Overview of the Evangelical Youth Climate Initiative and the Campus Climate Challenge. Discussion Leaders: Alexei Laushkin, Evangelical Environmental Network; Ed Johnson, Au Sable Institute; Paul Steury, Goshen College
“Environmental Service in Your Community” – an open discussion on ways to partner with local environmental and governmental agencies for environmental service opportunities. Lead by Vineyard Boise Let’s Tend the Garden ministry leaders.
Heard in the discussion:
– When reaching out to the community "be humble."
– Recognize we’ve neglected this area for a while, and may need to "earn the right" with some folk to help out.
– If you’re going to volunteer to help, you’d better show up!
– No passing out tracts, and avoid confrontational evangelism. Be real. Your work is your tract.
– Be responsible to the reason your volunteers are there [i.e. don’t hijack their ecoministry either.]
– Vineyard Boise has an open invite to other area churches, but gets more cross-congregational involvement when they hook up at EarthDay and other community events; gotta get out and meet them where they live. VB does travel around and teach Sunday School lessons for those who ask.
– "A lot of it is just doing it."
3:30 to 4:45
“Thinking ‘Christianly’ About Creation Care” – Do an "in-class" exercise that helps Christians examine environmental issues rationally and biblically. Led by Dean Ohlman of Restoring Eden.
See a new documentary highlighting Floresta’s work among the indigenous forest dwellers of Oaxaca Mexico, and hear some of the details of Floresta’s methods for caring for creation while serving the poor. Facilitated by Scott Sabin, Executive Director, Floresta. (Scott’s also a blogger…)
“State of the Earth” – An overview of the pressing issues facing creation – Water, biodiversity, oceans, amphibians, birds, habitat loss, toxins. Led by John Cossel and Rob King of Northwest Nazarene University
“Bridging the Divide” – How creation care can help Christians find common ground with secular environmentalists. With Lyndsay Mosely, Sierra Club; Rhys Roth, Climate Solutions; Vineyard Boise Ministry Leaders, and other local environmental groups [Comment: Thought Lyndsay Mosely’s bit was terrific. A conservative Baptist with some frank thoughts on knocking down pre-conceived notions about (and held by) liberals and evangelicals alike. Likewise, it was great to see Rhys Roth’s participation and his thoughts on common economic and social goals we have. Two folks from Vineyard blamed "dispensationalism" (i.e. the world is ultimately going to be destroyed upon the Day of the Lord) for environmental damage, and essentially apologized. Another member of the congregation defended "dispensation" as correct, but said it didn’t impact her belief God wanted us to take care of creation. Not sure whether this is helpful here. Building common ground with secularists by criticizing foundational – and Biblically-sound – beliefs held by a large number (majority?) of evangelicals is unproductive. At worst, folks who aren’t accustomed to friendly family doctrinal disagreement could easily misconstrue this as a sort of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" strategy to gain their trust. At best it’s divisive at a time when more unity among evangelicals is needed, not less. The point is the stewardship mandate is there whether Christ reclaims or He destroys/re-creates the earth for His millennial kingdom (see here, for instance). db]
“Building Green” – converting your facility into an eco friendly one, led by Vineyard Boise Staff and local green building specialists.
SPOTLIGHT: Nick Laushkin, Climate Pro Mechanical. Nick’s son Alex is speaking tomorrow, and I found Nick wandering the halls checking out the sessions. Nick helps churches and other small businesses in Southern California by doing energy audits and updating their air conditioning and lighting. He’s branching out into residential services now. If you’re in the market to save money on your utilities, consider giving him a buzz at 1-800-841-1021 or visit them online at www.4climatepro.com
The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. [Romans 8:19]
THURSDAY EVENING SESSION: For God’s Sake: Caring for Creation Richard Cizik, Vice President, National Association of Evangelicals
Resources: – [placeholder for audio clip]
– An Evangelical Call to Action on Climate Change
– The Sandy Cove Covenant and Invitation
– For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility
– Website: www.nae.net
– Cizik opens his talk with a segment from Keanu Reeves and Alanis Morissette’s video "The Great Warming."
– If I understand him correctly, he sees Job as an example not of a man living through trials in the world but an example of how man fits into the greater cosmos. (Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding…) Though he is made in God’s image, man is still made from the stuff of the earth. Man is not the apex of Creation, but Jesus. This world was not made for man but for Christ; all are subject to Higher Authority. God does not have a man-centered view of the world. Fascinating. I’d encourage you to listen to the audio when it’s linked and judge for yourself where he’s coming from on this. His discussion on Daniel and Abram is equally interesting. – Most engaging bit for me, and what seems to be a theme of this year’s conference, was this: Love of creation is an extension of our love of God. Conservation and stewardship are biblical values. There is "a calling and a promise" by loving what God has created. Science and Christianity have been in conflict since the Scopes Monkey Trial over evolution. Today the enormous social power of evangelicals must be freshly aligned with [the knowledge of? the credibility of? the rationality of?] secular environmental scientists, who are themselves subject to natural law, to drive the changes that are needed to mobilize humanity against climate change and in other environmental catastrophes. And God’s Spirit is awakening the Church on this particular issue at this particular time in history.
– Cizik closed with this often-quoted poem by Wesley:
To serve the present age My calling to fulfill – O may it all my powers engage, To do my Master’s will. Arm me with jealous care, As in thy sight to live; And O, thy servant, Lord, prepare A strict account to give. Help me to watch and pray, And on thyself rely, Assured, if I my trust betray I shall forever die.
His final application is that God is calling the Church to serve the present age, and to take on the charge to restore the climate specifically and the planet generally. No disagreement with that. Allow me a parting thought, though. Maybe I missed when Richard said it, but I didn’t catch any the first two bars of the first stanza, which I found when I googled Wesley’s original poem:
A charge to keep I have, A God to glorify; A never-dying soul to save, And fit it for the sky. To serve the present age, My calling to fulfill…
Isn’t Wesley saying that attending to the eternal destiny of men’s souls is his transcendent charge? It was, as many have said, the charge Christ left us with.
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. [Matthew 28:18-20]
Or maybe Wesley sees three callings to fulfill: Glorifying God, saving souls, and serving relevantly. Have we read the Great Commission to narrowly, seeking only the salvation of men and missing Christ’s call for stewardship (among other things He commanded)? Regardless, praise God that in all of this, I Am is with us always.
THE WORSHIP TEAM opens with one of my favorites:
Lord of all creation Of the water, earth and sky The Heavens are your Tabernacle Glory To the Lord on high God of wonders Beyond our galaxy You are holy, holy The universe Declares your majesty You are holy, holy
Already been a great morning. A little quiet time. A great discussion on how to introduce your local Church to climate change issues while cleaning up with the other campers at the communal bathroom sink(s). A nice chat with Pastor Tri. And something I’ve wanted to do since first chatting with him by email three years ago, a quick visit with Rich Cizik. Very gracious and engaging guy.
FRIDAY MORNING SESSION: The Advent-ure Tri Robinson
– The hope is the Church. From Romans 8:18, "all creation is waiting eagerly for that day for God’s children to be revealed…" Be it original sin or current generations, creation suffers because of man’s sin. Shared his testimony that all of the times God guided him, gave direction in his life, came during time in the mountains. Also observed that without the experience, you don’t value it. We don’t often value creation (or see what’s happening to it) unless you make time to experience it.
– The "groaning of creation" is used by God to lead us in a direction that we don’t always understand. But it impacts the environment of a man’s heart. The pollution of a man’s heart pollutes his mind, creating self-centered and self-serving attitudes. If this pollution is cleaned up, the rest of his life is changed. Your life brings reformation beyond yourself. Many Christians get to the "transformation of the mind" phase, but they never let God take them to the point where they care about themselves. [Romans 11-12, "transforming" the mind…] Again, the root of the issue is sin. And the Christian environmentalist is in the business of this sort of toxic cleanup – getting them to the place where God can do that work on their heart. Without this happening, Tri says, "I don’t have a lot of hope…"
– It’s not a guilt thing, he says. It’s not an ethics thing. It’s a moral issue – getting in touch with the heart of God, so that we’ll be motivated to do something about it. It’s not about you, it’s about through you. Eventually, these hearts join up and start working together and start transforming the world. Be in the world but not of it, sure, but be in it! There is crisis in this world, tribulation, and we are supposed to be right in the middle of it.
– New book in the works from Tri and Ampelon: Larger Handprints, Smaller Footprints, or something close to that. Already pinged the publisher for a review copy when they’re done with it.
– Interesting idea: Tri’s going to sell solar panels the way other churches sell pews and bricks w/their names on them to solarize the Vineyard Boise campus.
– "I want to get caught in the act of compassion and mercy…" The Great Advent-ure is serving in the gap between Christ’s first advent (coming, death, resurrection, assention) and the second advent (His second coming). God put you on this earth for a purpose. The first is to find Him, the second is to be transformed by Him, and the third is to be used by Him to transform the world. But first you’ve got to believe there’s a crisis (the warming of the world is going to mess people up).
– "There is hope – I think we can make a difference. That’s my prayer."
FRIDAY MORNING PANEL – Workshop on Climate Change including Rich Cizik, Ken Wilson, Suellen Lowry, Rhys Roth, and Lyndsay Moseley.
Highlights from introductory remarks:
– Rhys Roth, Climate Solutions provided a 10-minute overview of climate change science. He makes a very good point: The climate change discussion has driven a great deal of collaboration between scientists who have traditionally lived in their own areas (geologists, climatologists, oceanographers, soil conservationists, etc), contributing a great deal to what we know about the world. [unless/until I can get a copy of his slides, here’s my version of climate change science issues that is close to what he’s sharing. db]
– Suellen Lowry provided a couple slides on the impact of climate change on species, including the shifting of habitat and ranges, the proliferation of invasive species (pine beetles for ex.), sea level rise reduces coastal habitat (particularly marshlands and costal mangroves), increasing acidification of oceans from CO2, loss of sea ice, modification of spring events too quickly to allow for adaptation (timing of breeding behaviors are being thrown out of sync with availability of food sources), and alterned patterns of rain/snowfall (salmon runs, amphibians). There is hope when we get involved, which includes public policy.
– Lyndsay Moseley noted that while there are some beneficial impacts on biological/socioeconomic impacts (public health, agriculture, forest, water, infecious diseases, etc), on balance the impacts are detrimental. Some areas will become wetter, others drier, some only slightly warmer and some much warmer (especially at the poles). Environmental impacts are also completely linked to human conditions. Provided examples of extreme drought and flooding in China and sea level changes from 3-35 inches (Bangladesh) in areas that don’t have the economic means to respond. Interesting that she uses "habitat" and "vulnerable population" to describe human communities, not just critters. She notes that these are trends, and that detailed models can’t predict specifics. "If we change our ways we can avoid the coming crisis…"
– Ken Wilson said if we’re going to be useful to God, we’re going to need to become adept at communicating global climate change issues in the local church, and we need pastors here (at Boise) to facilitate that. We do that by laying out the human capacity for global impact and its capacity to be negative (Gen 1:28, Gen 5:1-13). Preach the gospel by extending the warning of impending distress, and then lay out the hope. We have to make the case for science as a God-given tool (Gen 1:28 implies technological and cultural growth are inevitable), and to get their science from scientists, not political pundits. Strategically, build common ground on climate change actions (energy conservation, dirty energy, dependence on bad actors for supplies, etc) whether or not you accept the science. And in the long term, influence politics and policy and treaties to address climate change.
– Richard Cizik added to Ken’s word on collaboration in the political process, sharing how often he is attacked for taking political stances he’s never taken. The issue is not about what’s being said, but who is saying it. Rich says he’s a Reagan free-marketeer, and collaboration between Christians, scientists and environmentalists is vital; overcoming the "fear of association." The needle on stereotypes is changing fortunately. 10 principles that are beyond politics: (1) Keep in mind Christian moral imperatives; intergenerational equity, scriptural truth and respect for sacredness of human life (2) Research and development is critical; growth in the developing world requires new technologies; kudos to Bush admin on this (3) International coordination/cooperation is vital; not "control" but collaboration to solve problems. National legislation to deal with national problems, and the US should lead (5) Policies that sustain the world/US economy and address environmental problems. (6) Long-term problems require immediate action, particularly due to impending feedback loops and abrupt climate changes (7) Uncertainty must be factored in, but it can’t be used as an excuse for doing nothing. (8) Can’t sign on to a program that will cause harm to the US economy more than other nations, but we can/should at least lead. (9) Human intelligence is one of God’s variables; we got us into this problem, and we’ve gotta get us out with God’s help. (10) Stewardship rather than subdueing; economic solutiosn rather than onerous regulation. Mandatory reductions in CO2 would mitigate enough to make the consequences non-catastrophic at a cost preferable to the cost of non-adaptation. The critics are afraid of a runaway regulatory scheme that would cripple the economy, and big government.
Q & A DISCUSSION (moderated by Jason Chatraw)
Q: Great Global Warming Hoax and others are countering Al Gore’s movie. What about sunspots? Who do I believe? A: [Cizik] Sunspot theory regarded by Harvard scientists as cockamamie nonsense.
Q: How do we as Christian leaders deal with those who advocate ignoring climate change? A: [Lowry] Vast majority of scientists believe it’s human caused; join in the collaboration, decide as intelligent people as to where to put our time, and I wouldn’t spend a lot of time arguing. [Cizik] Mentioned the Aspen meeting where he got scientists together with Baptist evangelical leaders, and they eventually came around. You have to face the truth which drives out falsehood. Pray that critics would be converted. Gave some examples to show the evidence is persuasive. [From the audience] If people believe that the temp is rising, the question is what are we going to do about it? We’re going to need some sort of resource to deal with it.
Q: Isn’t abundant CO2 good for trees? How do you deal with limited understanding? A: [Moseley] "If some is good, more is better" is an old saw, but that doesn’t necessarily apply in a "delicate" system such as the atmosphere. [Cizik] Yes, some agriculture areas will benefit, but it’s more than offset than the lost of soil moisture that comes from warming. Wildfires have increased dramatically.
Q: With all the social justice issues needing to be addressed, why spend money on climate change? A: [Moseley] Her friends doing work in Development are saying that one major climate-related disaster can wipe out decades worth of work. [Roth] There’s another story that needs to be told. It’s a transformation from fossil fuel-based economy into a renewable energy economy. We need to get out in front of new technologies and make the world a much better place rather than debating scientific details. Change the frame and have a forward-looking view. [Chatraw] Iceland aiming to be fossil fuel free.
[Comment: Matt Anderson of CreationCareFund.org and I are chatting after the roundtable. We both strongly agree that Christians have to guard against false either/or delimas. Do we feed the poor or take care of the environment? Truth is, God is big enough and the Churh’s power in the Holy Spirit is completely sufficient to do all of this and more. We are also easily prone to hopeless doom and gloom. "The wages of sin is death" yes, BUT "The free gift of God is eternal life through Christ our Lord." We shouldn’t limit ourselves or God in any of this, and this is one clear distinction from the "secular" environmental movement (sort of a redundant term when you think about it). The power of what we do lies fully at the foot of the Cross – the redeeming love of God – and we’re way too prone to disconnect from that. Keeping ecology in the context of the Gospel is absolutely essential to preventing this. Similarly, I realized as we were talking that I have not once heard anyone assign blame for ecological disaster to the enemy of God. He has been at the heart of the destruction of God’s work since the beginning, and he will be accountable for it at the end of time. Since we are given authority and power over the enemy, we must also rise to the call for prayer, fasting, and the spiritual warfare associated with doing battle with the destroyer. db]
Q: What about population related to the environment? A: [Cizik] We need to look at population growth. I oppose population planning that includes abortion, but saying this, do we need to look at population issues that doesn’t involve going against the sanctity of human life? (Yes). We need to meet people where they’re at. Talk about contraception, since we practice it. He supports the Mexico City policy (funding for abortion), but we need to think through with a Biblical world view. We can do this, even respectfully, and demonstrate that we can have a conversation. [Moseley] In the interest of disclosure, Sierra Club has a policy of "full" family planning to address population growth. Important to say that abortion is tragic, and that the single biggest factor in moderating births is educating women around the world.
FRIDAY AFTERNOON SESSIONS
2:00 to 3:15
"Questions Evangelicals Ask About Creation Care" – addressing typical questions that often come up in evangelical circles surrounding the Bible, the Gospel, Economics, Globalism, and Politics. Dean Ohlman, Restoring Eden
See a new documentary highlighting Floresta’s work among the indigenous forest dwellers of Oaxaca Mexico, and hear some of the details of Floresta’s methods for caring for creation while serving the poor. Scott Sabin, Executive Director, Floresta
"From safety to sacrifice" – the true cost of creation care and why it’s worth it. Discussing the role of diversity and community in creation care. Ben Lowe & Don Bosch, A Rocha USA [Ben and I had a lot of deep discussion with our group. The bottom line of our particular message was (1) Be humble as Christ was, and be willing to "step out and down" to meet issues the way Christ did (2) Be intentional about building community with others, and (3) Let everything be done in sacrificial love. The group brought out a number of different ways to do these, from starting a recycling program at a local park to dealing with child abuse and supporting free-trade agriculture in places like Peru. The former is a good example of how simple, straightforward ideas can make a big difference. The latter reminds us that how we treat the environment usually parallels how we treat people, and vice versa. db]
“Affecting Public Policy” – how individuals can make a difference in federal, state, and local climate change policy. Beth Doglio, Climate Solutions and Suellen Lowry, Noah Alliance
"Passing It On" – an open discussion on educating your congregation in environmental issues. Vineyard Boise Let’s Tend the Garden ministry leaders.
3:30 to 4:45
“Missions and Creation Care” – taking the value of creation care beyond our borders. With Tim McFarlane, Vineyard Boise Missions Pastor and Scott Sabin
"Women, Children and the Environment" – A look at how environmental degradation greatly impacts women and children and strategies to help them. With Suellen Lowry
"Living the Green Life" – Finding balance and walking with integrity while sharing your passion for the Creation and the Creator on your campus. With Alexei Laushkin, Evangelical Environmental Network and Chris Elisara, Creation Care Study Program
“Environmental Justice and Global Warming” – a look at the impact of mountain top removal coal mining and other effects of energy use on residents in Appalachia. Led by Lyndsey Mosely.
FRIDAY EVENING SESSION: Creation Care in Service to the Least of These Scott Savin, Executive Director, Floresta USA
Resources: – [placeholder for audio clip]
– Website: www.floresta.org
– Floresta recognizes that one of the root causes of starvation around the world is deforestation, and Scott’s first-hand experience with poverty and deforestation in Haiti changed his heart. – In Asian countries, especially the poor, 40-90% of energy comes from fuel wood, or charcoal made from hardwood and exported. In Somalia they’re fighting over the charcoal trade to the Gulf states. He visited a town in Majaca, sat down with the mayor up in the forest, and asked about the economy. The only thing they’d ever taken to market that they could remember was charcoal. It’s their number one source of income. Solar cookers couldn’t solve this.
– Slash/burn agriculture is another chapter in deforestation. Actually it’s age-old, and when the land can lay fallow for a decade or two (population densities are low), it’s a sustainable behavior. But with higher populations the poor are pushed into slopes where erosion takes over quickly. The effects and how deep this goes are stunning.
– The solution is economic development, education, discipleship, and agriculture all done by the indigenous people with support as needed from groups like Floresta.
Pastor Tri Robinson wrapped up the evening session, and the conference, with prayer.
I CAN’T SAY WHAT the full impact of these past two days will have on the Church generally or evangelicals specifically. With the modest number of folks (about 100) that showed up it may be a while for many of these issues to gain traction. But lots of business cards have been exchanged, new relationships have been forged, a bit more trust has been developed, and more knowledge has been shared.
As these notes and audio clips hit the web and people read them, my hope is Christians and environmentalists will both acknowledge we have much to learn from each other, and together can significantly influence our communities to be better stewards of God’s green earth.
Paul is crystal clear on this point: When men fail to acknowledge God as revealed in nature they become "foolish" and "futile in their thinking" (reasoning). – – Joe Carter, EvangelicalOutpost.com
Grace and peace,