Here at Care of Creation our reason for existing and the vision and mission that drives everything we do is ”to mobilize the church to care for God’s creation.” But what is this “creation care” thing all about? To put it slightly differently, why do we do what we do? And why do we think it is important enough that we want you to join us?
We believe that creation care is a “gospel issue”.
The “gospel” (“Good News” in Greek) is a way of speaking of the teachings at the heart of the Christian faith. At Care of Creation we believe that, in the words of the Call to Action, creation care is and should be “an integral part of our mission and an expression of our worship to God for his wonderful plan of redemption through Jesus Christ. Therefore, our ministry of reconciliation is a matter of great joy and hope and we would care for creation even if it were not in crisis.”
Please understand: The crisis in creation is real. People, animals and plants are dying because we human beings have abused God’s world. But this is not the primary reason for our work. This is what makes us different from every other “environmental” organization you have encountered: We do what we do because we love God and his world. If there were no environmental problems, we would still be tending his world with compassion and gentleness – and asking you to do the same.
Our goal: To see the global community of Christians accept the premise that caring for God’s creation is a core part of our identity. Love God! Love your neighbor! Love God’s world…
We are convinced that the crisis in God’s world today is serious and must be addressed by everyone in society, including the church.
Again, citing the Jamaica Call to Action, we see people and God’s entire non-human creation “being devastated by violence against the environment in multiple ways, of which global climate change, deforestation, biodiversity loss, water stress, and pollution are but a part.” We are called therefore to “urgent and prophetic ecological responsibility.”
Our work at Care of Creation takes us all over the globe. We have seen suffering and devastation that is directly tied to human activity. Some of the damage we have witnessed is directly caused by those who are suffering as when poor farmers abuse their land in a futile attempt to wrest a little more food from already exhausted soils. Much of the suffering we witness, though, comes not from their own actions but from that of others. Excess consumption in the richer parts of the world is creating great problems among people who have had nothing to consume.
We are also aware that we are failing in the sacred trust given to us by God to care for his creatures. In the last 40 years we have lost half of earth’s entire stock of wildlife, according to the World Wildlife Fund. This should bother any human being; it should devastate those of us who are Christians.
We think the Church of Jesus Christ has a unique role to play in guiding human society toward a healthier and happier relationship with creation.
There are some very practical reasons why we might want to see the global church respond to the environmental crisis. The church has global reach – a truly multinational network. The church has political influence. The church has money. And the church has people – billions of them. All of these are reasons why anyone who cares about God’s creation or the environmental crisis should want the church to be involved.
But there is another deeper but more important reason why the church needs to take on this task. One of our favorite sayings at Care of Creation is this: “Environmental problems are sin problems.” What we mean is that the root causes of every environmental issue in some way gets back to flawed human beings and sinful hearts: Materialism, greed, selfishness, fear. All of these lie at the root of the things that we do as individuals and as a society that have produced the crisis we now find ourselves in. So real solution to the crisis in creation is to find a way to heal human hearts.
Jesus said, “You must be born again.” We think this applies to environmental problems as much as it does to any other – and that is why we want to mobilize the church to care for God’s creation.
[Note: These thoughts are based in part on a vitally important document that we were privileged to help create, the Jamaica Call to Action. Aside from the Bible itself, this document informs our direction as an organization as it the Lausanne/WEA Creation Care Network of which we are a part, and we encourage you to read it for yourself.]