As I ambled across campus the other day, I was struck by a sign advertising some sort of ecological event that said “Jesus” and “earth” above an image of some trees. An advertisement raising awareness for environmental concerns is not uncommon at this moderate campus and I’m sure the event will be a success.
See, I go to Fuller Seminary, “the world’s largest Evangelical Seminary” and the young Evangelical wind blows strong here: poverty, the environment, children at risk, peace, and love of neighbor are considered before atonement theories, “family values” and inerrancy. At the very least, there is a balance between the ethical and the theological, the practical and the theoretical, the left and the right, etc that is rarely seen. Here, divisive binaries are unhelpful.
The best part was that as I walked by the next thing my eye found was the grotesque statue of Jesus that prominently sits at a crucial and high-traffic point on campus. The statue depicts Jesus thrashing around on a cross while two Roman soldiers nail his arms down. Pleasant.
So, yes, let’s treat the environment just like we treat Jesus. Let’s torture and kill and then overlook the graven image of the tragedy on our way to class. That will help out in the long run. But, who cares about the long run when you have resurrection? Who cares about ethics when you have redemption? Who cares about statues and trees when you have a ‘new earth’ on the way?
Submitted by Tim Haydock