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Missional Matters #15 - Churching the greens (or greening the church?)

I’d love to see ‘greens’ in church, worshipping the Creator.

By ‘greens’, I mean people passionate about the environment. We’ve seen huge cultural shifts towards environmentalism. Issues of sustainability, green energy, biodiversity, eco-tourism and climate change, are pretty mainstream now.

What is our Christian response to the green shift? Ignoring it, risks further alienation from society. Pretending to be green (green-wash) won’t work, as people see through it. Do we have something unique to offer, or are we happily encapsulated in our concrete, steel, glass and plastic?

A missional response starts with Genesis 1, beautifully describing God creating all things - galaxies, the natural world and humanity. Humans are part of the rich, complex and interdependent community of created creatures, but also have a special role to use, enjoy and care for creation. Genesis 2 presents humanity as gardeners, tasked with growing and gathering food, while studying and naming the animals. Even after separation from God and the ensuing chaos, Colossians 1 tells of God’s plan to reconcile all things to himself, while Romans 8 describes creation waiting to be restored by God’s children - that’s us.

Both Christians and greens have a mutual interest in sustaining the natural world. Environmental decisions require prayer and spiritual consideration just as decisions about life and morality do. A creation-care spirituality challenges mass consumerism and the god of unsustainable economic growth.

As we seek to ‘church the greens’, are we prepared to ‘green the church’?

Julian Doorey




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