Caring for Creation
Through the biblical idea of the interwoven created order - in both its cultivated and uncultivated parts - we recognize nature's significance and worth, and our membership in it. Our contributors commend practices to help us faithfully care for creation.
Jame Schaefer explains how early theologians valued creatures intrinsically for their unique goodness and instrumentally for the sustenance they provide to others, yet valued most highly their complex interrelation in the world. Elizabeth Theokritoff develops the ancient Christian idea that the natural world may reveal the ways and will of God, if we are prepared to read it rightly. "From the scenic wonders of designated wilderness areas to the ordinary oak forests and cattail marshes adjoining suburbs that link them in a natural tapestry," Susan Bratton agrees, "the entire network is an important spiritual resource, an interactive exercise in understanding God's will and original intentions for creation."
Caring for all of creation must begin close to home, in the particular places that we come to know and love, Jeff Bilbro emphasizes. Indeed, "The food we eat, both what we eat and how we eat it, may be the most significant witness to creation care we perform," Norman Wirzba writes. We can become more mindful of creation through activities as simple as a community garden. Elizabeth Sands Wise chronicles her congregation's first attempt at gardening to provide fresh vegetables and herbs for members, neighbors, and the poor in the community.
The study guides and lesson plans integrate Bible study, prayer, and worship to help us care for creation. The guides can be used in a series or individually. You may download and reproduce them for personal or group use.
Download the entire Caring for Creation issue and the set of five Study Guides. Or, download individual pieces by clicking the titles below.
- "Valuing the Goodness of the Earth," by Jame Schaefer
- "The Book of the Word: Reading God's Creation," by Elizabeth Theokritoff
- "Appreciating Wilderness," by Susan P. Bratton
- "Faithful Eating," by Norman Wirzba
- "Doing Good Work," by Jeffrey Bilbro
- "Becoming More Mindful of Creation," by R. Wesley Smith
- "In Harmony with Nature," by Heidi J. Hornik, on Thomas Cole, The Oxbow
- "Enjoying a Wintry Park," by Heidi J. Hornik, on George Bellows, The Palisades
- "A Mirror to Nature," by Heidi J. Hornik, on Asher B. Durand, Dover Plains, Dutchess County, New York
Hymn and Worship Service
- "Chosen in Creation's Plan," by Burt L. Burleson
- Worship Service by Burt L. Burleson
- "Allelon Community Garden," by Elizabeth D. Sands Wise
- "Women's Broken Bodies in God's Broken Earth," by Melissa Browning
- "Other Voices," Quotations on Caring for Creation
- "Reading Scripture Greenly," by Presian Burroughs
- Richard Bauckham, The Bible and Ecology: Rediscovering the Community of Creation
- Ellen Davis, Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible
- David G. Horrell, Cherryl Hunt, and Christopher Southgate, Greening Paul: Reading the Apostle Paul in a Time of Ecological Crisis
- "Christian Vision for Creation Care," by David C. McDuffie
- Steven Bouma-Prediger, For the Beauty of the Earth: A Christian Vision for Creation Care (second edition)
- Fred Van Dyke, Between Heaven and Earth: Christian Perspectives on Environmental Protection
- Noah J. Toly and Daniel I. Block, eds., Keeping God's Earth: The Global Environment in Biblical Perspective
Study Guides and Lesson Plans (Download the set of five Study Guides)
- "Valuing the Goodness of the Earth"
- "The Book of the Word: Reading God's Creation"
- "Appreciating Wilderness"
- "Faithful Eating"
- "Doing Good Work"
- The Moral Landscape of Creation issue
- "Eating Well: Seven Paradoxes of Plenty," by Mary Louise Bringle (Health)
- "Pura Vida is Way Cool: Conversations with Chris Dearnley and John Sage," by Clark Baker (Food and Hunger)
- "We Are How We Eat," by Lori Brand Bateman (Food and Hunger)
- Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal
- Sara Covin Juengst, Breaking Bread: The Spiritual Significance of Food
- Holly Whitcomb, Feasting with God: Adventures in Table Spirituality
- "The Culture of Food," by Norman Wirzba (Food and Hunger)
- Douglas H. Boucher (ed.), The Paradox of Plenty: Hunger in a Bountiful World
- Marion Nestle, Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health
- Michael Schut (ed.), Food & Faith: Justice, Joy, and Daily Bread
- "Sabbath, a 'Little Jubilee,'" by Richard H. Lowery (Sabbath)
- "Imagine a Sabbath Economy," by Norman Wirzba (Sabbath)