Learning and practicing respect for the earth

The book, Serve God Save the Planet, has helped teach me some things. I read the first chapter and set the book aside for over a month. I wasn’t ready to change and I didn’t want to be convicted about my lifestyle. I thought I was living a life with a relatively low carbon footprint. I didn’t think I really needed to change things. When I picked it up again, I read it like a novel until I came across things that hit home — I definitely cannot say I know more types of trees than types of cars! After reading that, my self-righteousness started to dissolve. I knew I had a lot room for improvement. The book was challenging and thought provoking when I really began to dig into it. I had looked into creation care many times before but it is often difficult for me to move past the stage where I say I care about the environment but do nothing different in my daily life. I think the best part of this book was the fact that the author was living it out. He isn’t rattling off things that are wrong with our consumer society, explaining why it is bad, demanding that we change, and then leaving it at that. He makes it very personal by attaching it to Christian faith and explaining how his faith affected him and helped him change. I cannot help but be compelled to change after reading about the way it affected his life. The author visits a woman who is writing about taking care of the environment and yet she is not living the lifestyle that she speaks of. Dr. Sleeth is dead on when he says she cannot possibly expect people to believe what she is writing when she, herself, doesn’t believe what she is writing. Dr. Sleeth is living it out, which makes his writing honest, applicable, and inspiring. It was motivating for me to think about the positive effects of hard work instead of pursuing ever-increasing comfort and

convenience — finding new opportunities to worship God in those little things like hanging laundry. I really appreciated the appendices and intend to continually go through the checklists in order to see how I am doing and how I can improve. Coupling this with a summer in the National Parks is a good idea. Change is a slow process and, for me, living in the parks brings my expectations of creation care to a high level. The longer I live in National Parks, the more respect I have for the earth and more ambition to take care of it. The book offers great insight into ways of doing that. I think I will apply this back home by hanging my clothes to dry inside, turning off the lights unless they need to be on, and learning to worship God through the many seemingly menial tasks that life requires.

Les Kuiper read “Serve God, Save the Planet” during his time with A Christian Ministry in the National Parks at Mount Rainier National Park, Washington.

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