This edition of our “Why I care about the environment” series is by Charles Scribner, an Anglican living in Birmingham (Alabama, not England).
Charles is a member of the Cathedral Church of the Advent, which he represents on the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama’s Task Force for the Stewardship of Creation. Charles is also executive director of Black Warrior Riverkeeper, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to improving water quality, habitat, recreation, and public health throughout the Black Warrior River watershed. This vital river basin is entirely contained within Alabama, America’s leading state for freshwater biodiversity. The nongovernmental organisation identifies pollution problems and works on cleaning them up while increasing public awareness. Black Warrior Riverkeeper is an independent member of Waterkeeper Alliance, a global network of over 300 water advocacy organisations including London Waterkeeper.
In this piece, Charles reflects on his Christian faith and how it informs his care for creation. You can also download this in pdf form: Charles Scribner Why I Care
As executive director of Black Warrior Riverkeeper, I constantly witness fossil fuels polluting Alabama’s water, air, wildlife, and communities. Switching my home to solar was a naturalreaction to that ubiquitous problem, as well as a way of saving money over time. Far more than professional or financial considerations, however, my Christian faith as was the main factor.
I have been enriched by many Bible verses related to the care of God’s Creation. Restoring Eden, a Christian environmental group, has compiled a good list at restoringeden.org/bible–verses. But above all, I am inspired by God’s grace, that undeserved gift surpassing all others.
This gospel focus finds the cross and resurrection of Jesus ever and only at the center.
What does stewardship of creation mean in light of the Good News? How do I keep Jesus Christ my redeemer as the focus of this endeavor?
Being good stewards of creation is an example of bearing the fruits of the spirit. As I live in light of the gospel, I am increasingly concerned about the two great commandments that Jesus gave us: love of God and love of neighbor. As the poet Wendell Berry says, “Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.”
Humanity was not called to maintain creation in entirely original, pristine form. God created us as a part of nature, so we will have an impact on it. What kind of impact should we have?
In my opinion, we are called to utilize the great gifts God has given us for our own survival and enjoyment in ways that do not diminish our current and future neighbors’ opportunities to do likewise.
This piece is one of a series entitled ‘Why I care about….’ in which Christian experts write about what motivates them to care about their particular area of concern, and how their Christian faith informs that passion. We hope that these deliberately short essays will be used for personal reflection, small group discussion, reproduced in church magazines and used in church services. Please feel free to share them with your friends, colleagues and congregations; we simply ask that you quote and attribute them fully. If you want to reprint this reflection and would find a Word version helpful, please email us.