Monday, May 16, 2016

Weaving Christianity with Environmentalism

Rewilding the Way: Break Free to Follow an Untamed God
Book Review
by Vickie Machado
Todd Wynward‘s Rewilding the Way: Break Free to Follow an Untamed God, does an incredible job of weaving Christianity with environmentalism. Tackling issues like affluenza, over-consumption and climate change, Wynward goes beyond the notions of a collective creation care and takes a look at individual practices and underlying themes in relation to faith. How does one follow Jesus Christ? More so—how do we as children, sisters, brothers, mothers, and fathers live in the world but not of the world? How does one negotiate the realm of work, family life and spirituality? Drawing from his wilderness experience, Wynward advocates a return to the wild. He asks his readers to go cimarron, “a Spanish term for a slave or domesticated animal gone free.” He pushes his readers to re-evaluate not just life but the paths Christians embark on as he re-invigorates scripture stories and parables.
Perhaps the most compelling aspect of this book is that Wynward provides readers with conviction. This is not the fire and brimstone conviction but rather a grace-filled understanding of life. As Christians, we must continue to strive to love God and love our neighbors. With our rapidly expanding world, this means looking at our choices and evaluating our lifestyles, while still considering how to live in the world. Wynward does not condemn the sinner or the over-consumer, but rather recognizes we all fall a bit short in this world. At the end of the day, God’s love is delivered to us all.

Vickie Machado is a member of EARTH committee and on the leadership team of Eco-Stewards.

What will happen to this place?

Poem for Creation 
by Laurie Fisher

In the vastness of the Universe there is a place.
A place with immense oceans teaming with life.
A place with forests alive with untold numbers of species of insects, animals, birds, trees, and plants.
A place with vast open spaces to grow grains and other food.
A place with rain to provide water for all living things.
A place with a nearby star to warm the air, the soil, and the water.
An amazing place, it is.
Billions of years in the making.
A place human beings call home.
Humans have done amazing things with the resources of this gifted place.
Some things have been beneficial, but others have not.
The sustainable level of fossil fuel use was exceeded years ago.
The place’s climate is losing its equilibrium. Creation is suffering.
Humans have a choice to make every effort to restore equilibrium.
If this choice is not made, what will happen to this place?

Laurie Fisher is a Ruling Elder from Heartland Presbytery. She has been very active in gathering momentum for a Fossil Free PC(USA).

May's EARTH-Keeper is Rob Mark of Eco-Stewards

EARTH-Keeper: Rob Mark
by Dana Eglinton, member of PEC Steering Committee

In June, eight young adults will gather in Seattle, where they will engage with faith communities that are taking action to combat climate change. The eight will also consider Pope France' encyclical, Laudato Si',  and its directive to care for our common home.  And they will reflect on the connection between their faith journeys and the call to steward God's earth. They will be participants in the 2016 Eco-Stewards Program. 

From their website: "The Eco-Stewards Program is a grassroots community that shapes young adult leaders through place-based experiences that connect faith and the environment."

The community is led by the leadership team of Rev Liz Leavitt, Vickie Machado, Brian Frick, Colleen Earp, Becky Evans, and coordinator Rev Rob Mark.

Rob Mark has been the driving force behind Eco-Stewards from its inception in 2006. He tells about the beginnings like this, "At a Presbyterian Camp and Conference Center Association conference in 2006, I was deeply moved by then moderator of the PCUSA, Rick Ufford-Chase who served up an inspired challenge to the PCCCA and PEC (then PRC) to get together in a more intentional way to inspire young people in the ways of eco-stewardship. Rick then sat with me at lunch and after talking, said, 'Rob I think you may be uniquely suited to help lead and coordinate this emerging idea.' And that was all the inspiration I needed to work with others to help birth the Eco-Stewards Program under our first label the Presbyterian Conservation Corps. Our first week-long experiential program began in 2007 at Westminster Woods in CA, and I have not looked back since and continue to be deeply inspired by the growing community of Eco-Stewards that continues to build." Following that first program in California, Rob has coordinated Eco-Stewards Programs in New York/Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Montana, Massachusetts/Vermont, Oregon, and Florida.

Rob is also the pastor of the Church of the Covenant in Boston, a PC(USA) Earth Care Congregation. Under Rob's leadership the congregation has divested from fossil fuels, greatly increased the energy efficiency of their historic building, and continued to provide daily lunch and breakfast to some of Boston's most vulnerable women.

Rob and his wife Becky Evans (of the Eco-Stewards leadership team) are the parents of two-year-old Rowan. Rob says, "Our motivation to do all we possibly can to better steward this wild gift of nature has grown one hundred fold since becoming parents." Thanks to those like Rob and Becky there is hope for Rowan's future and the future of God's earth.