With more than 30 short essays (averaging 8 pages each) in an accessible paperback edition, a recent title from the Sierra Club's faith partnership initiative provides the groundwork for further stimulating thought and discussion about the environment.
The broad range of authors and their perspectives (Mormon to Eastern Orthodox, Protestant to Buddhist, evangelical to nature writers) is sure to engage the reader, in one way or another, in the book, Holy Ground: A Gathering of Voices on Caring for Creation, edited by Lyndsay Moseley.
Four main themes include "the biblical call to stewardship, the concept of creation 'groaning' under its burden of abuse, our human relationship with animals, and the growing movement for environmental justice as an expression of the commandment to love others as oneself."
As the essays are arranged alphabetically by the names of the authors, here is an alphabetical list of some specific topics addressed:
- animals as companions on earth or exemplars of sacrifice
- baptismal water imagery and meaning
- building hopeful activism in congregations
- childhood insights into creation that grow in power with maturity and study
- the grace by which we live and our obligatory thanks for our sustenance
- green energy in American churches
- the life and teachings of Jesus (baptism, testing in the wilderness, garden parables, the exalting of the poor and marginalized)
- putting our beliefs into practice
- the Samaritan story and Jesus's promise of "abundant life"
- shattering boundaries around whom and what we should care for
- teaching the young about endangered cultures and creatures worldwide
- trees as rooted angels or messengers, living things that reach to heaven
- why did God make humans so powerful?
Founded in 1892, the Sierra Club is the largest (1.3 million members and supporters) and most influential grass-roots environmental organization. A Club theme is encouraging people to "explore, enjoy and protect the environment."
To see their 2008 report highlighting one exceptional faith-based environmental initiative in each of the 50 states, "Faith In Action: Communities of Faith Bring Hope For the Planet", see http://www.sierraclub.org/ej/partnerships/faith/ .
Somewhere it has been written: "If you take care of creation, creation will take care of you." Does your vocation, your "calling", include taking care of creation?