Tag Archives: India

People (and people groups) live somewhere

Subtitle: The Mission Field as field. . . and forest and river and mountain and topsoil

by Lowell Bliss, guest contributor

Ed has asked me to re-post this article from a recent issue of our Environmental Missions Prayer Digest, in particular as a means to discuss one way in which

Pray to Jesus for Tiger Protection: The people of the Sunderbans Mangroves (#139), from the Environmental Missions Prayer Digest

creation care can affect how the Church goes about doing missions: evangelism, discipleship, and church-planting.  “Go and make disciples of ta ethne, all nations,” the Great Commission says.   Even the Greek renderings of the words indicate that making disciples occurs among ethnic groups, or people groups.  Political nations may grant missionaries their passports and entry visas, but ministry occurs among smaller cultural and linguistic communities.  But what about ministry in something we would define as ecoregions?  To what extent should the local biosphere inform how we preach the Gospel to a particular people group?

A 1982 Lausanne Committee meeting in Chicago offered the following definition of a people group:  “A significantly large ethnic or sociological grouping of individuals who perceive themselves to have a common affinity for one another. For evangelistic purposes, it is the largest group within which the Gospel can spread as a church planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance.”  A creation care perspective looks at this definition from a number of assumptions.  One is that these “individuals” are homo sapiens, and thus not disembodied souls floating in a simple construct of culture and language.  People live, and they live somewhere.  That physical “somewhere” means something; it creates a valid “common affinity for one another.”  It also greatly affects how one hears and interacts with the Gospel.

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Managing Population – Kerala (India) does it right…

from Flickr (CC License)
from Flickr (CC License)

Human population growth – it’s one of the most controversial and difficult aspects of our environmental crisis.  In all likelihood, it is controversial because it’s difficult:  Human beings are precious, especially if you hold to the Biblical teaching that humans are ‘created in the image of God‘ – but even if you don’t have that perspective.  Really, which of us, no matter what our religious (or non-) persuasion, would put a pet or a backyard squirrel on the same plane as one of our children or grand-children? Continue reading