Earth Day has been around a while, but evangelical churches are just recently getting more involved. In the last year, the environment has received more focus and attention from mainstream evangelicals like Rick Warren, et. al. Recent articles about church involvement are from Ethics Daily here
and another from Religion and Ethics Newsweekly here.
I think many mainline churches have done a good job emphasizing the need for better care for creation, but most evangelical churches I have known have not addressed it. I was once a hearty dispensationalist with a focus so sharp on the return of Christ (too heavenly minded to be any earthly good) and the explosion of this here world that I didn’t care much for the world. While I wasn’t out dumping chemicals in the stream out back or setting out to burn a bigger hole in the ozone, I wasn’t all that concerned about the world because I believed it would be burned up with fire one day soon anyway, without me on it at the time of course. My guilt was more from omission that willful commission (I’ve always loved being outdoors and never even one to litter). I, for instance, get a sick feeling in my stomach every time I go to my hometown of Tyler (piney woods of East Texas) and see more stands of pine trees cut down to make room for shopping centers and their concrete. My sick feeling has never moved me to be a voice for protecting the trees and what they add to the city and our lives. Now that I live in a land without real trees, I have learned to appreciate each one all the more.
I no longer subscribe to such an end times view and find it hard to believe that I cared so little about God’s good creation. I have always believed that God intends for humankind to be stewards of creation, but I never put much thought to being proactive about protecting what we have by doing anything from the small–recycling–to the big–helping put pressure on politicians to protect wildlife, forests, our air, etc. I am not sure if I will remember to celebrate Earth Day, but I do intend to thank God for the beauty of His creation around me, treat that which He has entrusted to me with a greater level of responsibility, and be a voice in the world against the things and people who are bent on consumption without renewal.