Should Christians Recycle?

While walking to work the other day I passed a car with a bumper sticker which read “This is not my home, I’m just passing through”. What is it that this bumper sticker is saying? Could it be that while trying to communicate a message that there is another life to be lived after this life, it in fact communicates a message that this world is not important because I have a better place to go when I die? Or not so mildly putting it, who gives a stuff about this world and all of you stuck here because I’m going to be going somewhere better. Could it be that as Christians have focused so much on converting people and church roof projects that they have in fact missed a major command back in Genesis?

The gospels never paint a picture of life after death on some distant cloud or realm off this planet with pearly gates almost like the plan is to break out of this place, but the bible claims that heaven will be coming to earth.

Revelation 21 paints a picture of a new earth coming out of the sky to renew and rebuild this earth. It claims that this earth will become the heaven we will live in for eternity. It was never about us going to God but about a God coming to us. When we have a theology that says this place is not our home but we are just passing through this communicates to those living around us that this earth has no value to Christians. If we were to read the Lords prayer in Matt 5 it reads that “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven”. The Lords speaks of Gods kingdom on heaven coming on earth. Another word for kingdom is the word government which speaks of a locality being ruled and governed by a certain power, and that this power will be coming here to change the way this world works.

It says in Romans 8:20 that “the creation was subjected to frustration”, the word in the Greek here which we translate as frustration is the word ‘metaioteti’ which could also be translated as brokenness and frailty. So in other words creation is broken and later in verse 22 says that the creation alongside us is too waiting to be liberated from the bondage of death. The interesting nugget of this text is that it tells us who is going to play a part in this liberation of the earth, it says back in verse 19 that ‘creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. The text says son’s as in plural not singular making it clear that it’s not just Jesus the earth is waiting for. Who are the sons? The son’s are Gods children who are going to play their part in restoring the earth with Jesus. We are people of Jesus’ resurrection who are to therefore bring resurrection not only to other humans but also a broken damaged world.

But what is our role in caring for Gods creation? Has God called us to be recycling environmentalists or just people who are to watch how we use the earth?

It says in Genesis 1 that Elohim created the world in 6 days and said it was good. The word good communicates that it was never perfect and that God expected it to grow and change with age and because of this in Genesis 2:15 Elohim commands man to look after it.

“Elohim took man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it”.

The word work is the Hebrew word ‘ovd’ which can also be translated as ‘to serve’ and ‘to dress’ in the sense of making presentable in the same way a servant would serve and dress his master. The word care then is the Hebrew word ‘shomr’ which can be translated as keep, preserve, protect, watch and bring justice to.

A good analogy of what God is communicating here is that of a baby. The baby can’t feed itself or wash itself, neither can it dress itself, the baby needs 24/7 care with someone looking over it constantly. The baby can’t protect itself or stand up for itself and on occasions may need someone to speak out and bring justice to the child as it has no voice of its own.

In essence God is calling mankind to serve the earth and dress it in the same way we would do with a young baby. The earth cannot care for or bring justice to itself it is the powerless and this is why God calls Adam to do this work.

Which means that right at the dawn of time Elohim commissioned mankind to be the parent or representative of the hole of creation. Which means that we need to be aware of the way we interact with creation. Do you give any thought to the products you buy? How much energy has been wasted in making this product and its packaging? What did it cost the environment in flying it or boating it to your local store? There isn’t just the cost of buying the product we have to be aware of the greater cost to the world. Every bit of energy produced to power machines and vehicles produces carbon dioxide, which raises the amount of green house gases produced.

Some interesting facts

If you in your family changed one normal light bulb for a energy saving bulb you would save ¾ of the energy used. In other words you can power 4 energy saving bulbs for the same power as one normal bulb.

A Xbox 360 uses the same amount of energy while being played as 4 normal light bulbs, on stand by and the little red lights on it still uses 2 bulbs.

A PS2 uses 3 bulbs while being played and 1 while on stand by.

A Tv uses 3 bulbs and 1 while on stand by.

A Dvd player uses 2 bulbs and 1 while on stand by and a video uses 3 while being used and 2 while on stand by.

So it you have your 360, Tv, Dvd and video player on while your using your games console you are using 12 light bulbs of energy and still 6 while its on stand by. That could be 6 rooms lite constantly for no reason.

It every house in London installed 3 energy saving light bulbs then in one year enough energy would be saved to light the street lights in London for a year.

A Mac computer power pack uses the 90% of energy as phantom energy
Your mobile charger uses 90% of the energy it would use to charge your mobile when left plugged in when not in use.

The average kiwi fruit flown in from New Zealand out of season will travel 12,000 miles to be part of your lunch. And, according to the experts, that kiwi fruit creates five times its own weight in greenhouse gases, getting here. Which might lead you to imagine that the little fruit spent the entire trip farting. But in fact it’s just because of the fuel employed in getting the fruit here. This fuel would power 1 light for 9 months of the year. Buying local stops this waist in energy.
What about some recycling facts…

The average household throws away 13,000 separate pieces of paper each year. Most is packaging and junk mail.

Recycled paper generates 95% less air pollution and uses 70% less energy.

Recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to light a 60-watt bulb for 8 hours

Recycling just one plastic bottle saves enough energy to power a 60W light bulb for six hours.

This generation in future years will be known as the shopping bag and disposable nappy generation.

Disposable nappies take 500 years to break down at the dump, which means when my sons, sons, sons, sons, sons, sons, son is alive my sons nappy will still be around (nice).

The average westerner uses 134 carrier bags a year, that’s 9,380 bags in the average lifetime, which will still be around at the dump in 500 years.

And Elohim the almighty creator God commissioned humans to dress and bring justice to the earth. I think we might have forgotten this command. Our wealth has separated us from the rhythm of creation, God formed the earth to have seasons which means something’s grow and can be harvested in only a few months of the year, but our wealth has made it that we can buy whatever food we like whenever we like it. Our wealth has separated us from the very rhythm of the garden, and God calls us to dress and bring justice to creation. I think we might have lost any sense of rhythm and relationship with creation.
God made us with the purpose of being connected with him, connected with each other and being connected to the earth. We need to be recycling, we need to be restricting our energy use, we need to be thinking about buying local. Not because it’s a fad or that its good for the environment but because Elohim took man and told him to dress and bring justice to the world.

Our faith in a creator loving God should propel us forward to bring justice to the earth he made for us. Should be recycle? Why shouldn’t we, at the end of the day isn’t God the ultimate recycler?

Any thoughts?

Salt is for poo

Within Jesus’ culture salt had a very different use to that of putting on food to make it taste nice which many of us do. It was used in the preservation of meat products and also used in being an antiseptic for peoples poo.

Here are two uses for salt in Jesus’ Galilee.

  1. When people went behind their homes to go to the loo they would dig a hole and then place large amounts of sea salt on the waist to stop flies getting to it. The salt would also aid the breaking down of the waist and would act like that of an antiseptic, this type of salt was called the ‘salt of the earth’.

Oven from the holy land

  1. During the time of the first century the people would use dome ovens made of dried/baked mud. They would then mix the salt with dried donkey poo which was a very common fuel and is still used to this day in some areas. Because of the salt mixed with the poo there was a chemical reaction which made the poo burn much more effectively. Not only did it burn brighter but also hotter and longer.

Like the salt we use today it still lost its salty taste if it became damp or was not used for a long time it lost its use and was thrown out. Jesus calls us all Christians to be like the salt of the earth…

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men”.(Matthew 5:13)

As Jesus’ followers he calls us to do several things. Firstly, to be like an antiseptic to the crap we find in the world we are in. Two, we need to mix with the donkey droppings which is the sin around us and still keep our distinctive Christian salty identity. We need to allow our mixing with the world to show Christ’s love brighter, stronger and for longer.