Published in the Summer 2009 issue of Flourish magazine
Items of interest springing up around the creation care community
5 Questions For: Nancy Sleeth
Nancy Sleeth is the author of the recently published Go Green, Save Green: A simple guide to saving time, money, and God’s green earth, program director of the non-profit Blessed Earth: Serving God, Saving the Planet, and a 2009 Flourish Conference workshop leader. We asked her five quick questions about her life of faith and creation care.
What’s the creation care-related scripture that is most meaningful to you?
“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
What is your favorite spot in the outdoors?
Gardner Mountain in Monroe, New Hampshire (population 759 humans, 1,000 cows, 100,000 chickens). Before I became a Christian, I would hike up the mountain alone on Sundays to talk with God and drink in the view up and down the Connecticut River Valley. One Sabbath, I stayed on the mountain too long, and it started to get dark and drizzly as I walked back home. Suddenly, I felt Jesus by my side–a living, breathing Jesus–and I knew He would never leave me. He never has.
Out of the changes you’ve made in your life to follow God’s call to creation care, what has been the most life-giving, community-enhancing, or faith-strengthening?
Coming to a complete rest on the Sabbath–on ALL three accounts. As the poet Coleridge said, it’s like God giving us “fifty-two springs in every year.”
Shabbat is God’s prescription for emotional, spiritual, and planetary health. All week long I look forward to cleaning the house, shutting down the computer, and welcoming the Sabbath bride. We read, nap, take walks, pray, study Scripture, and break bread with friends and family. We don’t shop, eat out, or answer email. It’s a day when my earthly pursuits of the other six days assume their true size.
What is your guilty environmental indulgence?
Chocolate. I pretty much only indulge on Sundays, and I’m trying to switch to organic/fair trade, but an open package of M&M’s is like Satan tempting me in the wilderness.
What would you recommend as a first step in starting a lifestyle of creation care?
Spend at least five minutes each day looking at nothing manmade–only what God has made. Sit on a south-facing hill and watch the clouds float by, or lie on your back and number the stars. Marvel at a patch of dandelions. It doesn’t matter what it is; it matters who made it. Getting in right relationship with the Creator is the first step in growing a grateful heart and an other-centered lifestyle.
New Reads and Must-Sees
Go Green, Save Green: A Simple Guide to Saving Time, Money, and God’s Green Earth
By Nancy Sleeth
Tyndale House Publishers, 2009
Based on her own family’s experience of taking creation care seriously, Nancy Sleeth shares practical and simple advice for living in a creation-conscious (and wallet-friendly) manner, while growing closer to God in the process.
Green Revolution: Coming Together to Care for Creation
By Ben Lowe
InterVarsity Press, 2009
Ben Lowe writes a manifesto for his generation on the whats, whys, and hows of creation care within Christian community.
As the first film in the Walt Disney Company’s Disneynature series, earth tracks—through spectacular footage and narrative—three animal families on their journeys across creation. See Jonathan Merritt’s review of earth for more information, and download the Flourish/Disneynature study guide for the film.
Numbers: Rank Your Worry
According to a recent Gallup poll, 59% of Americans worry “a great deal” about the pollution of drinking water, which topped out a list of eight environmental concerns survey participants reported on. Global warming was at the bottom of that list, with 34% of Americans worrying “a great deal” about it. This accords with a previous Gallup poll, which found that a record-high 41% of Americans think global warming threats are “exaggerated.
Source: Gallup Polls, “Increased Number Think Global Warming Is “Exaggerated” and “Water Pollution Americans’ Top Green Concern”
- Renewal: Students Caring for Creation completed its nation-wide “Green Awakening North American Tour” of Christian college campuses and church communities at the end of April. Co-coordinators Anna Jane Joyner and Ben Lowe visited 15 states and two Canadian provinces on their tour, carrying a simple mission: to “wake our generation up to the urgent call to care for all of God’s creation.”
- Floresta, a global Christian non-profit with 25 years’ experience of bringing dignity and healing to the lives and land of the rural poor, launched a new online community initative, Plant With Purpose, in April. Plant With Purpose offers visitors a closer connection with nearly 200 villages served around the world. Scott Sabin, executive director of Floresta, explained that “Plant With Purpose provides an immediate opportunity for people to transform the lives of the rural poor by restoring their land and offering them economic opportunities.”
- Global church-building mission Christar has launched a creation care branch called Eden Vigil, “to love Christ and His created through mobilizing and serving those who combine church-planting and creation care among least-reached peoples.” The organization, headed by Lowell Bliss, sees international situations of environmental degradation as opportunities to build Christ’s church, as regions that were formerly closed to outside influence open to environmental assistance and, by extension, the Gospel.
“The world is not, as other creation accounts would have it, an illusion, the result of a battle among the gods, nor the accidental outcome of itself. The universe is understood as a dance of beings united by energies binding yet distinct, like planets orbiting stars, like tides and seasons, ‘like atoms in a molecule, like the tones in a chord, like the living organisms on this earth, like the mother with the baby stirring in her body.’ The love of the inner life of the Trinity is written all through it. Creation is a dance!”
- Timothy Keller, The Reason for God
Join Flourish! For a limited time, supporters who give a minimum $100 donation will receive the Outdoor Bible, a 100% waterproof NAS bible suitable for leisurely outdoor devotions or high adventure! Learn about what level of membership is right for you in this brand new effort to encourage the church in creation care.
We want to know what you want to read! Let us know what is most pressing to you about God’s creation and his call to care for it by writing us with your questions and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org. You just might see your questions answered in a future article! You can also join the ongoing conversation at the Flourish blog.