What a difference a month makes…
A little over a month ago I attended a Creation Care conference hosted by and CrossPoint Church. I really didn’t know what to expect. Not familiar with any of the speakers, I hoped I would not get sucked into a left-wing, liberal faction. What I found, however, was a group engaged in the honest exploration and discovery of where we are globally, nationally and locally as it relates to the issue of caring and being good stewards of God’s creation – the Earth and all its wonders.
The discussion of the obvious effects of our pollution of the earth was especially convicting. It also became clear that the lifestyle I maintain has both ripples and cost to others.
It seems a lot of what I enjoy and focus on comes at a cost to others who have a small voice or little opportunity to overcome. It was never intentional on my part; I just hadn’t slowed down in a long time to consider that every choice I make impacts the world. It sounds simple but, literally, when I use paper towels, that paper comes from trees. Usually the cheapest trees available are trees from the rain forests of Central and South America. The forests are, therefore, producing less oxygen. This directly causes less rain in regions of Africa that are already having water problems. Then, the competition for water in these areas becomes taxed. Families in Africa are forced to source water from farther locations to bring back to their homes, and children are often given the task of collecting that water. Their very safety is at risk to being captured for exploitation in armies or human trafficking. The ripples of our actions are bigger and farther reaching than we often think.
Another helpful part of the conference was a practical workshop led by Nancy Sleeth. Nancy challenged us to take a complete inventory of the consumption in our own lives.
Some of the changes I made immediately upon my return home were easy and are already producing results. Here are just a few:
- I joined a community garden in my neighborhood. I now have a time set aside to do a short presentation about creation care in our children’s program on Sunday.
- It’s been simple taking “Navy” showers and moderating my water use. For example, whatever the dogs do not drink in their bowls goes out to water plants.
- I’ve had coffee with my Pastor to go over what I learned in the conference and discussed what we might do as a church. We talked about starting a community garden on unused church property.
- I haven’t upgraded my TV for the digital transition — and I may not!
Evangelism seems to be most effective when the local church is truly reaching into and loving its community. After attending the Flourish Conference, I definitely believe creation care is one of the most powerful ways to reach into today’s community and change lives for Christ.
By Jim Williamson