Last week, Brian Kaylor – assistant professor of communication studies at James Madison University and contributing editor at CBF-partner EthicsDaily.com – blogged about attending a gathering in Washington DC announcing the launch of a new faith-based advocacy organization called Creation Justice Ministries.
Baptists, most notably Owen Owens of American Baptist Churches USA, played central roles in the founding and leadership of the EJP. The group was formed to focus exclusively on environmental issues with social justice implications or eco-justice.
Owens and several of his American Baptist colleagues have been credited with coining the term “eco-justice.” These Baptists judged that ecological issues and issues of human justice were interrelated and inseparable.
Although the language of eco-justice is not as popular as it once was – as evidenced by the launching of Creation Justice Ministries – I was interested to read this EthicsDaily.com column just a couple of days later by Mitch Randall, pastor of CBF-partner NorthHaven Church in Norman, Oklahoma, titled “As Climate Changes, We Must Seek Ecological Justice.”
In the second creation narrative of Genesis (2:4-25), we witness the Creator placing man into a garden with the instructions of “cultivating” and keeping” it (Genesis 2:15). The Hebrew word translated to cultivate is abad, which literally means to work or to serve.
These two accounts and words complement each other, as humans are called to cultivate and care for the world as its ruler and steward. We are not given the right to do with it what we want, raping and pilfering its resources for our gain without any regard to consequences.
The earth, like us, was created by God. Therefore, it too is a living organism.
As I listened to the rain drift away, I was thankful that the storms were nothing more than a nice rain with a noisy entrance.
However, the weather is changing globally. As I have recalled before, you can ask all the scientists and meteorologists in the world, but I will always return to that Kenyan farmer looking out over his field.
Looking out over the dust collecting on his crops, taking an occasional glance toward the sky, he told me, “Pastor, the weather is changing. The rainy seasons that have watered our lands for generations are no longer. The weather has changed.”
For my Kenyan farmer friend, I hope to do what I can to help apply an ecological justice to this world for which I am called to be its steward.
Be sure to read the entire column here.
What does ecological justice mean to you?
What does caring for God’s creation look like on a day-to-day basis in your life, the life of your congregation and in your community?
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