Another excellent update from Paris by John Elwood…
It’s clear why the countries of Asia are desperate for an agreement on climate pollution. The principal water source for countries from China to Pakistan is the frozen Tibetan Plateau — the “Third Pole” — and it’s melting fast in our warming world.
Vanishing glaciers raise urgent concerns beyond Tibet and China. The 46,000 glaciers of the Third Pole region sustain 1.5 billion people in 10 countries — its waters flowing to places as distant as the tropical Mekong Delta of Vietnam, the hills of eastern Myanmar and the southern plains of Bangladesh. Scattered across nearly two million square miles, these glaciers are receding at an ever-quickening pace, producing a rise in levels of rivers and lakes in the short term and threatening Asia’s water supply in the long run. Continue reading →
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
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.
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 →
A Conversation about God, His Creation and Our Role in Creation