Posted by: rogermitchell | March 12, 2011

kenarchic politics (2) care for creation

The direct connection between Jesus’ life and the creation is clear. In the beginning God made the heavens and the earth. Given that Jesus reveals God as fully characterised by love that pours itself out as gift, this is where it began. The creation is God’s loving gift. So we are its stewards. Paul says that the whole of creation groans in wait for the mature children of God to be revealed. Apocalyptic language needs to be interpreted in this light, that the shakings of the earth, such as we are experiencing in the Japanese Pacific right now, are not intended for the destruction of the creation, but are longing for its healing and resurrection.

Faith in the incarnation, that God became flesh and took everything unleashed by humankind against God, each other and the creation, into actual physical death and out into resurrection, clearly signifies a future fulness not only for humanity but the whole of creation. Jesus’ relationship with the creation shows that the political  priority for kingdom people has to be to journey with the creation towards this fulness. His intimate relationship with the Father and Spirit took place in and through the creation. He prayed on the mountains and in the garden. His concern for the multitude was in the context of a peripatetic connection with the land which framed his individual friendships and conversations.  His healings were the result of a holistic synchrony between the creation and human bodies as part of it, and his miracles were the same. The only points where his signs were apparently destructive of creation was when he was showing the interconnection between human selfishness and its consequences for the creation. And so we could go on.

The terrible fall of the ecclesia from its loving stewardship of the earth to embrace empire as the means to peace has meant that the church and its theology has abused the scientific knowledge that a positive focus on the creation brought. Instead it has been subverted to the rape of the earth and the theft of its wealth to the advantage and profit of the rich and powerful. This is a tragedy of colossal proportions and the cause for public shame and repentance by the people of God. Repentance without a change in priorities and behaviour is meaningless. So being in the frontline of healing, protecting and caring for the creation is essential for the future ecclesia. Without this, we will fail the children who are the first priority of kenarchic politics. Hardly surprisingly, this is the second priority.



  1. Oh Roger, of course I agree wholeheartedly with you. But I find myself feeling despair over this one. Maybe today is a bad day. Here in North America – the population that most abuses the environment on a daily basis it seems that the Republicans in the USA are intent on returning to the 1890’s. The governor of Pennsylvania recently chose to hand all power over all contracts for all departments in the state to his coal baron buddy who can kill any contract or law that gets in the way of his pursuit of wealth through coal no matter how damaging.

    Congress, at the federal level, has decided to wage war against the Environmental Protection Agency, to hamstring its ability to protect Americans from polluted skies, water and land. Elsewhere in 32 states there are various measures to restrict voting rights so that older white males are priviledged (they overwhelmingly support the Republican party), to break the unions completely (already passed in Wisconsin and Ohio despite massive ongoing protests) and to allow the governor to declare an emergency, fire all elected officials in a town and install a highly paid corporate crony to take it over and run it as they choose (Michigan). Amazing. Depressing. Recent hearings in Congress on climate change affirmed that ideology rules no matter what science and even common sense says.

    Things are really no better here in Canada. Our Christian Prime Minister is more attuned to his corporate backers than the rest of the population hence his unwavering support for the Tar Sands in Alberta – a development that is ripping out the boreal forest. That should concern everyone in the world, more so than the Amazon rain forest, the boreal is the lungs of the planet. And I note that Canadians as a whole remain opposed to the development. It is our shame as a nation.

    I watch all of these people bow low to their Baal, their corporate gods (declared in law to be persons but also more than persons) to whom they happily hand over their offspring (and yours) for destruction for the promise of . . . of what exactly? What do these corporate gods give us in return?

    Today, I saw the the UN has a new report out. The way to feed 9billion folks on this planet is to get rid of corporate agriculture and utilize ecologically minded and sustainable small farmer managed farming. Amazing. Fabulous. Do we have any hope of overthrowing the 6 companies in the world that manage and own the world’s food? What happens to a Monsanto in that scenario?

    The church leaves me in even greater despair. How is it that great swatches of Christian believers can read the first few chapters in genesis a not see a mandate for creation care but rather one for creation use and abuse? In some circles it is almost considered anti-God to care for creation for it is understood that His word clearly gave creation to humans for their use. So we should USE IT! And generally that is understood as really we should use it all up. I have been ridiculed by pastors when I have spoken up about the environment and hassled by good Christian climate change deniers. Repentance is not needed or desired by these folks. They understand themselves to have nothing to repent of. I am the problem in bringing forward such ungodly stuff. They are often proud of their contrary ,and therefore, necessarily godly stance.

    Okay so today I am depressed about it all. The dinosaurs so often appear to be winning. The empire has struck back and it aint pretty. I have read that optimists tend to be folks who see the big picture and miss the details. Pessimists tend to see the details. The good news is that hope is not the same as optimisim. Hope goes much deeper, it acknowledges the details and does not rest on ignorance of them. So I remain hopeful. My God is bigger than Baal and has overcome and will overcome. I guess that leaves me a hopeful pessimist!

    • You give powerful substance to the imperative exposed by this exercise of identifying guidelines for a reconfigured political gospel. As I move on to the other guidelines the question of the urgency of the call to confront the existing authorities and powers will become increasingly clear.

  2. Well Cheryl that explains a lot in our household, I’m the optimist who frequently gets frustrated with the pessimistic husband but he sees the detail, that is why he was so good at his job, and I see the big picture. Thanks for helping with that insight. Both insights of course are needed

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