Monday, September 20, 2010

CCCU's Green Awakenings Critiqued

by Kathleen Nielson

A booklet recently came my way, distributed through the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). Titled Green Awakenings, the booklet offers a report from “Renewal”—a movement of “students caring for creation.” Introduced as “stories of stewardship and sustainability” from Christian colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada, Green Awakenings celebrates the quickly growing attention to creation care among the rising generation of Christian students. Before peering at this booklet’s version of creation care in the light of the gospel, let me briefly and straightforwardly affirm the sincere efforts of students to deal responsibly with the God-given gift of the earth. Consider these activities, all described in the booklet: cleaning up local highways and waterways, finding creative uses for discarded clothes and paper products, creating and supporting local organic gardens, restoring prairies, conserving water and electricity, re-using landscape and kitchen organic waste products. . . there’s nothing wrong and a lot right about such stewardship of God’s creation. As one who interacts regularly with college students, I wholeheartedly appreciate their efforts to undo some of the habits of waste and excessive consumption they have observed in the generation before them.

The language of this booklet, however, quickly reveals a view of these efforts as far more than a diligent, worshipful response offered by believers in the gospel of Jesus Christ. These efforts are described on a number of pages as gospel enterprises in themselves. Here are four observations, in light of the biblical gospel, concerning the presentation of creation care in Green Awakenings.

Read the whole column.


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