Category Archives: Missions

Just water.

Photo credit: Erik NessFreshwater can cause entire nations to celebrate or mourn; water can transform a desert overnight into a cacophonous shout of color and life; a steady stream of water can become the anchor of commerce and community for centuries.  Water isn’t just the rain that falls or the lakes, marshes and rivers that define our geographical regions; but the groundwater, the aquifers, the glaciers, and polar ice caps.  Water means life.

Freshwater, though a seemingly abundant resource for those of us in the Midwestern United States, is quite precious and rare.  Do you know how much of the world’s water is freshwater? Less than 4%! Of that tiny bit, over 65% is trapped in glaciers and snow caps.  That leaves only 0.76% of the world’s water available to humans in rivers, lakes and underground aquifers. Think of the world’s total water (fresh and salty) as a gallon jug.  About ⅔  cup of it would be all the freshwater, but people can only drink, irrigate crops, and manufacture with ⅛ cup. Continue reading

Here am I, an environmental scientist. Send me!

Building homes and other structures with common materials in Malawi.
Building homes and other structures with common materials in Malawi.  By creatively recycling materials on hand, people divert trash from being burned and creating pollution.  This could be the work of an environmental missionary!

Environmental missionaries are those sent cross-culturally to labor with Christ-the Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer of all creation-in caring for the environment and making disciples among all peoples.  ~pg. 17

Lowell Bliss, Environmental Missions: Planting Churches and Trees.  William Carey Library, 2013

In 2009 I was a college student attending my first Urbana Missions Conference, and the book “Environmental Missions” was a twinkle in Lowell’s eye.  I was not interested in overseas missions because I was studying wildlife ecology, and enjoying it very much.  I thought that I would need to be a medical professional or pastor in order to be a proper missionary.   I thought my wildlife ecology studies precluded me from missionary work.

However, the idea of environmental missions is exactly the opposite: we can care for God’s good earth and His very good creation: people…at the same time.  Join me as I reflect on a few quotes from Lowell Bliss’ book, Environmental Missions, and explore the possibility of expanding our current understanding of missionaries to include those who love God’s world.
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Connecting Missions with Climate Action and Creation Care

Originally posted on yecaction.org. 

Read our previous post about Urbana Here.

Brittany Urbana 2015 booth_smallIt might be too early to tell what God is doing in and through the hearts and minds of over 16,000 college students who participated in the Urbana Missions Conference in St. Louis a few weeks ago. However, I left the conference hopeful for the Church’s participation in the restoration of creation, specifically in addressing climate change. I had the opportunity to exhibit at the conference through my work with Care of Creation and was able to support a range of conversations on creation care and climate action among conference participants.  Continue reading

Politico: “Christian. Conservative. Treehugger.”

It’s not about Paris as such, but this feature length article by Chris Berdik in Politico today hits all the same themes, and provides a remarkably insightful look at the modern evangelical Creation Care movement in the US.  Worth the read…

The shorthand for faith-based environmentalism is “creation care”—the notion that people have been entrusted by God to care for the Earth. But the common perception is that creation care was a concern of liberal congregations, ones far more concerned with social justice talk than fire and brimstone. [John] Murdock and [Allen] Johnson, however, are among a growing group of conservative Christians who draw bright moral lines, know their Bibles, and make connections between the environment and other social issues such as their opposition to abortion. Rather than joining the liberal ranks, they want to revive a heritage of belief they trace to the founders of the modern religious right.

Building on the work of believers overseas, a small but steady drumbeat of environmentalism has begun among America’s conservative Christians. A number of conservative churches have invited climate scientists to speak to their congregations, and others are making sustainable development part of their international missionary work. Polls of American evangelicals, particularly the younger ones, show increasing numbers of them believe that the planet is warming and the people are the cause.

If there’s a chance at bridging the gap in this polarizing issue, it could start here, in small gatherings like the one on Kayford Mountain. Faith has a long history of changing minds and pushing broad social change. And in America, the most potent nexus of faith and political power remains with the Christian right. The weaving together of religion and the environment could be one of the most important factors in how America and the world respond to whatever climate commitments are agreed to this week in Paris.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/12/christian-conservative-environmentalists-213417#ixzz3tkLBCwBk

 

Missionaries Changed the World Once – Can they do it again?

This is article is a repost from InterVarsity’s Emerging Scholar’s Blog.  Thanks to Tom Grosh for permission to cross-post.

The topic of a recent cover story in Christianity Today is shaking up not only the world of missions, but also academia. The World the Missionaries Made is a report on the work of Robert Woodberry, a sociologist currently researching at the Political Science Department of the National University of Singapore. CT’s Executive Editor Andy Crouch calls it the CT cover story of which he is most proud. Its thesis and Woodberry’s work support a remarkable conclusion – that a generation of “conversionary protestant missionaries” (see note) laid a foundation for democracy around the world. Continue reading