10 March 2022
CHRISTIANS will be asked to consider critically their role in caring for the environment in a series of online conversations featuring academics, agri-business leaders, theologians and mission leaders.
Among the topics will be an examination of the evangelical approach to the environment, run by Sally Shaw, the director of an international Christian conservation organisation, A Rocha Australia.
It will be among the 10 topics explored in the conversations run by the Institute for the Study of Christianity in an Age of Science and Technology.
Ms Shaw said she received a calling from God in 2010 to talk to the church about the environment and justice for his creation, particularly to evangelicals.
She said misinterpretations of passages from Genesis where Adam is instructed to “subdue” the earth and “rule” over animals had led to environmental neglect.
Ms Shaw said from the time of the Enlightenment, there had been an idea that nature was just valuable for its utility, whether that was money or pleasure, rather than something to be cared for.
Instead, Ms Shaw said people should care for God’s creation, in the same way God cared for them.
She said this meant curbing the use of fossil fuels, curbing consumerism, and curbing greed and selfishness.
Ms Shaw lives in the Aldinga EcoArts village in South Australia, to the south of Adelaide, an intentional community with sustainable housing.
There the community grows their own fruit and vegetables, and members have a meatless diet.
Part of Ms Shaw’s discussion will focus on a one-day workshop she ran in 2021 which had “mind-blowing” results.
The workshop examined the relationship between God and creation using art, poetry, songs, discussion and organic food. It also involved visits to Rundle Mall in Adelaide and the nearby Adelaide Botanic Gardens.
“We explored the Botanic Gardens which is the most amazing oasis and spent time there reflecting on what nature look like in a very commercial area,” she said.
“There was lots of reflection, discussion, people writing their own poetry, drawing pictures.
“It was fascinating just seeing the depth of what people had drawn but the way they had interpreted it.”
Ms Shaw’s presentation will also include interviews about the environment with 25 ministers from different denominations.
Ms Shaw said there were three key ways Christians could care for the environment: reading the Bible from God’s point of view rather than a people-centred point at view, critically examining their lifestyle and how they could live more simply, and by falling in love with God’s creation.
The Creation Care in the Climate Change Century series will run on Thursday nights until 12 May, from 6.30 to 7.30pm.
The ISCAST presentation is being jointly hosted by NZCIS – New Zealand Christians in Science. To register for the sessions, visit: bit.ly/367yZGv.