Not Alarmist Theology

I was listening to a local Christian radio station the other day. Unfortunately, this is not something that I often do, because the content is usually neither challenging or sound, theologically or Biblically. This moment proved my suspicions. There was a guest on this particular program who had just written a book and was discussing his theological views trying to encourage listeners to buy his book.
The host addressed concerns of the environment and questioned how Christians should respond. This author addressed this with some agitation in his voice. He said that Christians should not be like the world. The world is reacting to concerns of global warming, therefore Christians should not react to this. If Christians do they will look as ridiculous as those who chain themselves to trees. He was making the argument that all individuals who bought in to the idea of global warming were simply crazy. He was also making the argument that Christians who were concerned about the environment were going to appear just as crazy. This means that I am crazy. That is, if you buy in to his arguments.
I have a few remarks about this. My first remark is one that I have emphasized before. I think it is very sad and very disturbing that the secular community has taken a strong lead on this and the “church,” at least the American Protestant Conservative community, has been of the groups holding us back from making significant progress. We have bought so much into “conservative” politics that it has tainted the way we view God’s creation.
I also want to make another point. I think that this man created a false dichotomy. He seemed to be making the argument that you are either a sane individual who does not care about the environment at all, or you are a crazy radical who chains herself to trees. This is not true. Too often we have been taught that things are black and white and there is never any gray. This simply does not agree with reality. This type of thinking is often the culprit in extremest thinking or alarmist reactions. The truth is that we are all different and many of us react at different levels on a large scale that has two opposite points and many in between.
I agree that Christians should not do anything that will make us look crazy (at least nothing in the environmental realm), however we do have a responsibility to act if we know that something is wrong. I see this in the Bible, time after time, story after story. It seems that one of the many themes in the Bible is that knowledge equals responsibility. If we know that we are supposed to be taking care of God’s creation and we know that it is in a bad state, then we have the responsibility to act. I’m not going to tell people who chain themselves to trees that they are necessarily wrong. I am going to argue that this is not the message I am trying to convey nor the theological conclusion I am trying to come to. I am arguing that we are called to act, that may be different depending on calling and conviction.
Not all Christians who believe that we should take care of this creation agree with the alarmists who preach gloom and doom. Another theme throughout the Bible is a strong theme of hope. Grace offers beautiful hope of redemption for those who are completely broken. I believe that God offers that same beautiful hope of redemption for a fallen creation.

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