Stewards of Creation

Each of the Abrahamic religions recognizes a responsibility to care for creation. But just what does that mean? What should religious folks do to protect it, and at what cost? After reading a few recent articles like the one below, I’m curious to know what others teach.

Ottawa-area Anglicans overwhelmingly vote to sell $1M in oil, gas stocks

*Local Anglican congregations have a combined stock portfolio worth $30 million, which is administered centrally, and although the oil and gas stocks are a relatively small portion, Friday’s vote is seen as a major statement on climate change.

Bishop John Chapman supported the decision.

“When a person is being baptized in the Anglican Church, they promise that they ‘will live to safeguard the integrity of God’s creation, and respect, sustain and renew the life of the Earth,’ ” he said. “I think our obligations are quite clear.”

Montreal Anglicans took a similar path two weeks ago, as did the United Church earlier in the summer.*

Read more: ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/ottawa-area-anglicans-overwhelmingly-vote-to-sell-1m-in-oil-gas-stocks

Will the Anglicans pledge to stop using oil and natural gas?

Being a stewart of creation to me seems to be expansive, in taking care of the God given nature around us. I don’t think there is any explicit commands on exactly how to do it. On the simplest individual level, a good way to do this would be acts like not littering, or polluting. In more communal ways it could mean trying to protect endangered animals, or the environment…or accounting for more nature when humans have a tendency to pour asphalt and concrete all over the place.

I’m thinking it means “first, do no harm.”

Since we seem to be trapped in modern-day structures of environmental harm – unlike most of the people of 2000 yrs ago – it means striving to reduce that harm as much as possible.

When we honestly look at our products we purchase and activities we engage in and the myriads of harms they entail around the world in this global economy with global pollution, it seems like being faced with having to climb Mt. Everest and impossible to reduce our harms in any meaningful way.

So, what it means to me is calling on God’s great grace and practical help, being undaunted by that mountain of harm we are causing, and starting with baby steps – the Little Way of Environmental Healing. By being on the lookout for how we are harming creation (which includes us people) and for solutions to reduce that harm, and seeking God’s help to do the needful, eventually we may be able to make some serious harm reductions in our own lives and perhaps inspire others to do likewise.

Below is a comprehensive list of official statements related to how we are the “stewards of creation” from a baha’i perspective:

bic.org/statements-and-reports/statements?field_category_tid]=64&field_language_tid=37&field_article_date_value[value][year]=1927&field_article_date_value_1[value][year]=2015&title=&body_value=&field_bic_document__value=&items_per_page=40

Please feel free to comment or ask questions :slight_smile:

Great thread! :thumbsup:

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Below is a list of official statements related to how we are the “stewards of creation” from a Baha’i perspective:

bic.org/statements/Summoning-Our-Common-Will-Baha%E2%80%99i-Contribution-United-Nations-Global-Development-Agenda

bic.org/statements/seizing-opportunity-redefining-challenge-climate-change

bic.org/statements/sustainable-development-spiritual-dimension

bic.org/statements/sustainable-communities-integrating-world

bic.org/statements/conservation-and-sustainable-development-bahai-faith

bic.org/statements/earth-charter

bic.org/statements/world-conservation-strategy-1990s

bic.org/statements/environment-and-development

Please feel free to comment or ask questions :slight_smile:

Great thread! :thumbsup:

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It would be great to have all the religions competing with each other to be the “greenest.” Sort of like, say, Franciscan friars trying to out-humble the other as they go out a door – “After you, Brother.” “No, no, after you, Brother. I insist.” :slight_smile:

There are such groups and I’ll offer the following:

the Alliance of Religions and Conservation. Each faith has a mission statement on how they deal with issues such as climate change…

ARC works with 12 faiths world wide. These faiths and their networks embrace 85% of the world’s population: some 5 billion human beings.
Drawing on their traditions, faith communities are working in countless ways to care for the environment. Each faith has its own distinctive history and teachings, and its own unique relationship with the natural world.
This section outlines the basics of each faith’s history, beliefs and teachings on ecology. At the end of each faith section are links for further information.
Around the world religious organisations have immense influence socially, educationally, politically and culturally both at national and local levels. This influence, combined with their spiritual insight and commitment makes them one of the most powerful agents for social change in civil society. For more on this aspect of working with religious organisations link here.

arcworld.org/arc_and_the_faiths.asp

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