• Ethan Hardin

Getting Creative with Creation Care




Last Wednesday, we gathered for our third Table Talk. While the first two ventures helped us frame a space for diverse unity and become aware of our interpretive processes, this Table Talk waded into a specific issue. Envisioned as a space for Christians to find common ground amid difference on polarizing topics, we began with the hot topic of climate change.


Things did not get as heated as one might expect (Confession: I made too many temperature puns). Despite my relentless youth-minister humor, I believe something beautiful unfolded that night at the Valle Crucis Conference Center.


In my college years, I was one of two professing Christians in the sustainable technology program at App State. I felt isolated in my interest in this topic, assuming my fellow Jesus followers were unconcerned with the environment. Apparently, it is more of a myth than a reality that Christians are disinterested in the care of creation.


theHeart church family busted that myth with poise and compassion. It was a dream come true to hear attendees share their deep concern for God’s creation and desire to steward it well. While climate change is often seen as a hot-button, the issues we explored expanded well beyond it. Seeking to address the brokenness between humanity and creation requires a broad and interdisciplinary approach. Our church family carries a milieu of insights, concerns, and strategies that aim for the mending of the myriad issues related to climate. Where we expected some great divide, we found a wide common ground. And that, in these days, is something beautiful to celebrate. Indeed, this family of Jesus followers is seeking shalom in the community of creation.

If you missed this Table Talk, the conversation is continuing. We have lots of resources posted on the Table Talk III page - Study Sessions, podcasts, book recommendations, and spiritual practices. But we also wanted to share the fruit of our conversation. The evening ended with a brainstorm of ways we could be more responsible stewards of God’s creation. Our church family is brimming with ways we could put our shared desires into action:

Educate/Experience

  • provide helpful resources on our webpage

  • attend indigenous plant workshops and walks

  • host outdoor worship events

  • spend more time outdoors and help others connect with this place

  • learn from biblical principles of self-control and confront materialism

  • continue to be shaped by the Bible’s teaching on creation and its value

  • read from Indigenous Christian authors who address this topic

  • go on a prayer walk to develop a sense of place


Choose/Practice

  • garden

  • reduce/eliminate plastics from church functions, households

  • reduce water use with the “if-it’s-yellow, let-it-mellow” principle

  • add some cans to your grocery cart when shopping for the local food pantry

  • recycle

  • pick up litter

  • use reusable shopping bags


Volunteer/Serve

  • clean a local river

  • give time to tend local public gardens

  • participate in local weatherization projects to reduce home energy use

  • serve those who are food insecure or impoverished


Collaborate/Organize

  • with area churches already engaged in creation care ministries

  • with resource sharing programs or host our own co-op

  • with local conservation organization

  • to find ways to make composting accessible

  • carpools

We are a church and we do life together. Below are some organizations that came up in suggestions that any of us can partner with in formal or informal ways. Perhaps these organizations (some faith-based, some not) will equip our church family to represent God well in the wide field of creation care. Let us empower one another to follow God’s mandate that humanity steward his creation well. May we live with humility, care, and responsibility in the community of creation.

Hunger & Health Coalition

volunteeringhhc@gmail.com


Blue Ridge Conservancy

https://blueridgeconservancy.org/

NC Interfaith Power & Light

https://ncipl.org/

Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery

https://dofdmenno.org/about/



If there is another organization or resource you recommend, one that could help Jesus followers better steward their time, money, resources, and space in Kingdom ways, leave us a comment. Let us keep the conversation going as we seek shalom in the world around us.

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