With the nation’s economy on better footing, will more attention be paid to environmental issues such as climate change in 2013? Will churches and denominations once again discover that climate change is a challenge that is not going away? Will all involved begin to move from words to action? Will Baptists begin to collectively make good on their past promises and commitments to care for all of God’s creation and be active participants in the search for solutions to environment-related problems?
I am hopeful that the answer to all of the above questions is yes. And when speaking up, we Baptists should recover the language of eco-justice. Forty years ago, American Baptists coined that term after attending an historic United Nations summit on the environment in Stockholm, Sweden. American Baptist leaders such as Owen Owens and Jitsuo Morikawa invested much time and energy in the early 1970s to giving eco-justice theological meaning rooted in the Baptist tradition and our commitment to individual freedom. Merging the concepts of ecological wholeness and social justice, American Baptists pursued an effective form of environmental engagement.
This type of environmental engagement would again be beneficial to Baptists looking to transform verbal commitments of days past into concrete action in the public square. It is time for Christians in general and Baptists in particular to be leaders rather than followers when it comes to caring for God’s creation.
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