Colson Reviews Go Green, $ave Green; Upsets Folks

May 9, 2009


Chuck Colson has never been one to mince words.  Political opponents found this to be true with the unregenerate White House “hatchet man,” and those seeking guidance in the Christian life have affirmed this during the 35 years since his celebrated conversion.

I saw this up front and personal as his senior aide during my dozen years at Prison Fellowship Ministries.

Now he is treading into the complexities of Christian responsibility in environmental protection, of particular interest to me in my role at Flourish and specifically during this week of our first national conference.

On his daily Breakpoint radio program, he has been dealing with the environment, and on May 8 his commentary lauded the new book Go Green, Save Green by our friend and partner Nancy Sleeth, who will leading a workshop on the book at the Flourish conference Thursday.

It was gratifying to see Chuck underscore the importance of principles that are the thesis of Nancy’s book and also central to our purposes at Flourish.  He writes:

Environmentalism doesn’t need to be about a radical political agenda. It can be about our own behavior, informed by values like good stewardship, protecting family time, self-restraint, and helping others. That’s not radical. It is common sense and, most important, thoroughly Christian.

Don’t get me wrong. I think that the political issues surrounding environmental protection are very important—and I know Chuck does, too.  But they are secondary to the priorities of value-driven personal behavior, and the actions of our churches and communities.  These are the building blocks.

What Chuck Colson has found is that discussions of creation care in the church can be lively and pointed.

He writes that “some of our [blog] commenters were bothered by our bringing up a subject that’s largely considered to belong to the left wing.”

On the other hand, one of our friends criticizes Colson for limiting his commentary to personal frugality and wishes that he would deal with “such issues as air pollution and acid rain, deforestation, groundwater pollution and depletion, species and habitat destruction, dwindling topsoil and poor farmland management, illegal poaching and trading of animals, and animal cruelty in general – all of which affect the quality of lives on this planet, including people and the poor.”

But controversy has never been a deterrent to Colson’s consideration of complicated issues, and although I haven’t agreed with all he has written on the topic, I for one am glad that he’s dived into Christian responsibility on creation care.

–Jim Jewell

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