The next nine of these are going to focus on the United Methodist Social Principles relating to what the Discipline calls the Natural World. Today’s reflection is on the introductory statement, which you can read here.
Water, air, soil, minerals, energy resources, plants, animal life, and space are to be valued and conserved because they are God’s creation and not solely because they are useful to human beingsSocial Principles – Natural World, Paragraph 1
Humans are selfish. Particularly, industrialized civilizations are selfish. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am writing this article on a laptop computer while sitting in a Starbucks. I am fully aware that there are any number of ways I am about to be a hypocrite. From the paper waste produced from my coffee cup to the insane amount of electricity consumed just in the past hour since I have been sitting in this place to the gas it took to get here in my fuel inefficient minivan. I recognize that I am the recipient of all that industrialized civilization has to offer. I recognize my selfishness in this as well.
My point is not that we shouldn’t use the advances that humanity has come up with throughout history. My point is that we should be more intentional in our awareness as to how the resources we use are connected the very creation we take for granted because those resources do not exist strictly for human pleasure or consumption.
Especially as people who follow the biblical God, we need to realize – and the UMC Social Principles affirm here – that every single part of this creation that we use and abuse is for God. We just get to borrow, play with, and care for it for a little bit. And just like it would be ridiculous for me to allow my child to use my property with no regard to how it comes back to me, it is unconscionable that we should think that we can abuse creation with no regard to how it goes back to God.
Christians have confused stewardship with ownership for far too long. It is time that we remember that this shit does not belong to us and start taking better care of things we have been lent.