Churches follow fads like everyone else, and “caring about the environment” is one of the latest “cause celebs” many have suddenly discovered. They change a few lightbulbs, put out a recycle bin on Sunday morning, preach a green sermon, and pronounce themselves “green” …then move on to the next windmill to tilt at. (Sorry if that seems harsh, but it’s true about a lot of things in the church, and somebody has to lose their patience for such things, so why not me, and how about you?)
We in the church need to avoid being “Eco Tourists.” I’m not talking about avoiding visits to the rainforests, *smile* …I’m talking about the church equivalent of “checkbook mission.” I’m talking about the Attention Deficit Disorder many churches suffer from. Those with “cause de jour” -ism. (I love metaphors).
How can you tell if your church is an “Eco Tourist” ??
Here are some signs. I’ll bet you can come up with more….
They are concerned with cutting the church’s energy bill but not with exploring alternative energy sources for their building -such as solar. (The tithing of dill and cummin problem)
They adjust thermostats but choke on the cost of correcting heating and cooling loss problems (such as better insulation around the ductwork). (The Straining at Gnats problem)
They choose parishioner comfort and tradition over changing the habit of what we wear to church during heating/cooling periods. (The Sabbath made/not made for man problem)
They fail to use the church’s need for change, and subsequent changes, -as an educational tool and role model for members and the entire community. (the Light under a Bushel problem)
They don’t address energy and environmental policy issues beyond their church building. (the kill the prophets problem)
They don’t address how their facility and property is affecting the environment. They recycle their Sunday Bulletins, for example, but ignore the run-off of oil and chemicals from the church parking lot and lawns, and don’t pay attention to where their trash and compostible debris ends up. (the blind guides problem)
They don’t do a lot of ‘green’ things because it will cost money, yet they seem to have money for everything else. (the Rich Man on the road to Jericho problem)
I’ve listed a LOT of ideas in this “Green Jesus” thread to make positive changes. But perhaps the BIGGEST CHANGE we in the church could make is learning to SURROUND and STICK WITH initiatives past their short-attention lifespan. Serious change comes through holistic thinking, courageous action, and dogged perseverance.