Spirituality and Environmental Care

by Heather Bennett

Our natural world is an expression of creative genius. We have a responsibility to take care of the creative expression around us. And, I think, in doing so we’ll learn quite a bit more about the creator and ourselves.

When I was four years old, my mother’s car broke down about a mile from our home. She went inside a convenience store to call my dad (pre-cell phones) and returned with a brown bag (pre-plastic). While walking home, we picked up trash along the road. As we collected trash, I was so confused: Why was there trash in the beautiful trees? How did it get there?

As a child, I spent a lot of time outdoors. I climbed trees, ate honeysuckle, stomped through creeks and hid while yelling at the neighbor boys for shooting at birds. I knew from a very early age that land, water, plants and creatures were special. More than knowing it, I felt it. There was something magical about the creation around me.

Growing up in church and learning about God’s word was enjoyable, but also confusing at times. In church I learned that God made everything. So THAT’S why being outside felt so wonderful! But I still felt puzzled. We talked about loving creation, yet there was little being done to actually take care of God’s creation. My questions regarding that during Sunday school were not very popular, so I stopped asking.

Twenty years later I read a book called Serving God Saving the Planet by Dr. Matthew Sleeth. I almost cried reading it. One, I was so relieved. I’ve always loved the outdoors; I’ve always felt God while outside and would go outdoors to sort through problems and pray.

Second, I wanted to cry because for so many years I’d counted on the adults in my life to know more than me, but somehow they had forgotten God’s call to care for creation.  So I began looking for answers myself in scripture.

Read the full article at Rethink Church.



Heather Bennett is the Executive Director of Blessed Earth Tennessee. Their mission is to inspire and equip Christians to become better stewards of the earth. Heather received her M.S. in Sustainability from Lipscomb University in 2014. She is married to Rev. Ryan Bennett, pastor of First United Methodist Church  in Lebanon, TN, and they have an eight-year-old son.

This article originally appeared at rethinkchurch.org.