God Made Us Stewards of the Earth For a Purpose

God made us stewards of the earth for a purpose. These have been challenging times for those of us who are concerned about environmental issues . . . Whether it is President Trump pulling the United States out of the Paris Accord, or the removal of pages of data about Climate Change from national web sites. In the Biblical world we read about prophets who cried out begging people to change direction. Warning of the consequences of continuing on a destructive path, too often they were either ignored or persecuted. Today we need to ask if we are willing to listen to the prophets God is sending us about the danger the earth is in, or will we persecute them instead? Parts of Christianity has gotten twisted into a warped religious belief that recognizing and acknowledging climate change caused by people is somehow un-Christian. It’s hard for me to fathom the logic of that reasoning. This strange philosophy thinks that if there is a real problem, God will save us from environmental damage we do, because that is what God does. Most often though, God acts through us. In other moments, deep challenges have been times when people have come together looking for solutions. Scientists discovered cures for deadly diseases. Nations were born. Life saving procedures were discovered and perfected.

Yesterday, new data came out which indicates there will be significant losses to coastal cities in the United States by 2100 if our current trend continues. Already some Alaskan villages are slipping into the sea. Today’s children will grow old in that environment. Living in the upper Midwest, the global warm up will have both positive and negative impacts on daily living. Diseases that affect trees will be moving northward at a faster pace and some plants we are not accustomed to seeing will make their homes among us. People living in 2100 will not miss those minus 20 and 30 degrees of my generation. A changing pattern of rain fall may alter what can be grown. The impact of global warming will be more consequential along the coasts. Today’s flood zone will be tomorrows daily tide. Major cities will either have to relocate or build massive flood walls to protect themselves.

God must groan over us when we blindly assume it doesn’t matter what we do. God must weep over us when we mock the very scientists God has raised up. Climate science is not an opinion to be decided by our political bent, but a conclusion based on rigorous studies. God made us stewards of the earth for a purpose – not to destroy the earth but to care for it. God gave us minds so we would search for the truth. God sends us prophets so we will pay attention to their wisdom. God gave us an intellect to use. Our role as people of faith is to listen, to respond as we able to and set a direction that will be healing to our planet. For God wants us to pass on to our children and grandchildren a world that is healthy . . . a world where they can live to grow old in peace. To do that will require all of us working together for an healthier environment.

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About Shirley Hobson Duncanson

Rev. Shirley Duncanson is a United Methodist Pastor. She is a graduate of United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, Metro State University in Minnesota and Cleveland High School, in Cleveland MN where she grew up on a small fishing resort. Retired in 2013, she has served churches in Owatonna, Fairfax, Morton, Winona, Homer, Mounds View and most recently Hillcrest United Methodist Church in Bloomington, all in Minnesota. Shirley currently is a volunteer pastor at a nearby church. She is the mother of seven and grandmother of seven. Shirley enjoys photography, theological discussions, political discourse, book studies and reading.
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