What would Jesus extract?
October 22, 2007 6:21 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend books, articles, etc., that (a) lay out religious (preferably Christian) arguments in favor of conservation or (b) give a history of the church-based environmental justice movement?
posted by kittyprecious to Religion & Philosophy (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
posted by hjo3 at 6:26 AM on October 22, 2007

Evangelical Environmental Network
posted by nnk at 6:52 AM on October 22, 2007

Best answer: For Catholics, here is the relevant section from the recent Compendium of the Social Doctrine of The Church. These documents typically draw on Scripture and prior encyclicals for their arguments; the footnotes throughout the document will point the reader to the various and sundry source documents.
posted by jquinby at 7:12 AM on October 22, 2007

Best answer: It's 11 years old now, but Redeeming Creation: The Biblical Basis for Environmental Stewardship is probably about as good an evangelical argument as there is. Not sure about where to look for the history of the movement, but searching for 'Christian environmentalist' at the NY Times will land you at least a few helpful articles
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:21 AM on October 22, 2007

Best answer: Okay, here's a helpful article that lays out a little history, but also discusses in depth several different models of Christian environmentalism. Looks like maybe just what you need. Laurel Kerns. "Saving the Creation : Christian Environmentalism in the United States". Sociology of Religion 57 no 1 Spr 1996, p 55-70. If you want it and have trouble finding it, email me and I can get you a PDF.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:28 AM on October 22, 2007

Disclaimer: I work for a different department of this publisher. Ecologies of Grace: Enviromental Ethics and Christian Theology by Willis J. Jenkins. Due out December 24th. (?!).
posted by xueexueg at 8:48 AM on October 22, 2007

Best answer: E O Wilson's The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth
posted by hydropsyche at 9:40 AM on October 22, 2007

Response by poster: hjo3, I know how to use google; I was just looking for recommendations.
posted by kittyprecious at 9:43 AM on October 22, 2007

Best answer: I've been meaning to read Serve God, Save the Planet since the author, J. Matthew Sleeth, came and spoke at my church (Mars Hill) one Sunday last July. I haven't actually read it yet, but the guy was interesting and gave a really compelling talk. He was a doctor who saw that a whole lot of diseases coming through the hospital he worked at were not only preventable, but oftentimes a direct result of what we're doing to the planet. So he quit medicine and has devoted his life to studying the environment and how we can undo the damage that we're doing. He's the real deal - in order to leave less of an impact on the earth, he sold his doctor-sized house and bought a house equivalent to the size of what his garage used to be; sold his 3 ferraris or whatever and bought a hybrid; owns something like a total of 3 outfits that he wears; doesn't own a clothes dryer and uses a clothesline instead; etc. I can't say for sure because I haven't read the book yet, but I think he outlined a lot of this stuff in his book.

Mars Hill (which, incidentally, is the coolest church I've ever been to, except maybe for The Journey in St. Louis) did a 4 week series this summer called "God is Green", the basic premise being that as Christians, if we believe that God created the earth, then we ought to be doing way more to protect and preserve the environment than we are currently doing. They podcast all their teachings; if you were interested, you could probably go back and find the audio files - I think it was in July. Seriously, their lead pastor, Rob Bell, is a really powerful and relevant speaker. It was a really, really cool series.
posted by Quidam at 9:52 AM on October 22, 2007

Best answer: It also looks as though the subject has come up on APR's Speaking of Faith series. There are lots of interviews/transcripts and essays here.
posted by jquinby at 11:53 AM on October 22, 2007

Best answer: I took a course on this very subject (loooong ago).

The first thing to read is Lynn White's famous essay The Historical Roots of our Ecological Crisis, published in the journal Science in 1967. This touched off a wave of controversy and has been widely cited. Wikipedia gives a good overview.

We read an older version of this set of essays by Hessel, which I'd suggest as a good introduction to varying points of view.

The Travail of Nature by Paul Santmire was a good historical overview of post-biblical writings about nature by Christian theologians which I'd recommend.

You might also look into the Ecofeminism and Deep Ecology movements, which I believe have some Christian adherents.
posted by lorenzism at 10:19 PM on October 22, 2007

Oh, check out Fugitive Faith. It's a bunch of different interviews on this topic. Some were so amazing that they've stuck with me for years.
posted by salvia at 1:14 AM on January 26, 2008

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