The Crucified Earth
Earth is a resource, right?
But we are taking more than we need ...
Deforestation at an unprecedented scale
Working alongside the Geography department of a secondary school exposes me daily to information, facts, figures statistics and the consequences of our actions as humans on this planet.
Have we really become so infected with consuming that it has blinded us to the consequences?
Or have we become the infection; the virus crippling creation?
On the 1st May, the U.K. government became the first in the world to declare a climate crisis.
Do we care?
Or is it so overwhelming that we no longer stop to think of the consequences of our actions?
I have discovered Earth Overshoot Day. It is the day in a calendar year when we will have used more from nature than our planet can renew in a whole year.
In 2018 it took us seven months.
Humankind’s evil is so great that we not only crucified the Creator but we are continuing to crucify creation.
Every single day.
As Christians we know to love our neighbour, even love our enemy, but do we know to love our earth?
Do we have a theology for this?
We should...it is throughout scripture.
Genesis 2:15-20 is a great start: Lisa Sharon Harper writes in The Very Good Gospel 'God calls humanity to till (abad = to serve) and keep (shamar = to protect) the earth and to serve the animals by naming them. Humanity's most basic vocation is exercise dominion (to serve, protect, and cultivate the wellness of) the rest of creation.'
Are we serving this incredible gift of Earth?
Are we protecting it from exploitation, from pollution, from destruction?
Are we cultivating its wellness?
Animal agriculture 'is one of the leading causes of deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water pollution.' (The Guardian 4th Dec 2017)
Not only that, think of the treatment of animals, part of God's good creation we are meant to protect and serve. Many, bred for our consumption, are treated in the most horrendous, inhumane ways.
I have firsthand experience.
In the late '90s, when I lived in Canada, I went to a chicken farm. The team I was working with had to remove chickens from their cages and put them in batteries to be transported to wherever they were going to be killed.
This was not a free-range farm.
Multiple rows of cages reached the entire length of the barn, three high. Chickens in the lower cages were covered with the excrement of the chickens above. Some had broken legs, many had bald patches, all of them were at the end of their 'usefulness'. The noise and the smell were overwhelming. Fear caused the chickens to urinate and defecate spontaneously and by the end of the day I was exhausted and covered from head to toe in chicken excrement.
Why do I include this story?
To acknowledge that I am part of the problem. I have not loved creation well.
Was I serving creation? No.
Was I protecting creation? No
Was I cultivating its wellness? No
Do you know what I did afterwards?
I went to KFC.
Because I didn't have a theology of creation.
No-one had told me that it was my responsibility as a Christian to serve, protect, and cultivate creation.
If an animal has to die for us to survive, does it also have to suffer?
Does an animal have to die for us to survive?
Or could we start with one day a week where no animal has to suffer for us to survive?
Do we have to add to landfill or the Great Pacific (600,000 square miles) and North Atlantic garbage patches?
Or could we recycle, use refillable bottles etc.?
Could we engage with the information so readily available to us regarding the climate crisis? Could we learn, and grow, and change?
But most of all, could we commit to engaging with a theology of creation and our responsibility as Christians to serve, protect, and cultivate the wellness of this incredible Earth?
You see, 'Love binds all creation together.' (Harper)
Love it well.
By Jodie Ellis - Image: “The Crucified Land,” by Alexander Hogue (1939)