Yes folks, it's Earth Day once again. In commemoration of this illustrious occasion I offer five reasons for conservative Christians (not traditionally known as being among the first guard of radical environmental activism) to care about the earth.
1. Just to spite those "liberals"
Here's the scene. You're at a stop light in your Dodge pick-up (the one with the Jesus Fish and Bush/Cheney 04! bumper sticker). Suddenly a Prius pulls up beside you and the granola cruncher inside sarcastically asks: "That thing got a hemi?"
His moral superiority irritates you, no doubt. So imagine if you could trump him with this:
"Actually it's a zero emissions vehicle. The engine runs on solar energy in the day and at night it switches to compost from my organic garden."
Now wouldn't that be a satisfying way to heap burning coals on the head of that tree hugger?
2. To get in with the Emergent (and Emerging) crowd
You know who I'm talking about. They read Brian McLaren and wear Birkenstocks to church. They have a sheepish grin and their coffee comes from that independent fair trade roaster in the back of a bookshop. (Needless to say they would never be caught dead drinking Dunkin Donuts java.) They call themselves "Jesus followers" and their doctrine is a nebulous cloud of positivity. But they're cool. And now they'll think you're cool too.
3. For the love of neighbor
You don't have to love the earth to save it. You just have to love people. Watch the documentary "Gasland" to see how poor environmental practices lead to unsavory results like flammable water flowing from your taps.
(Of course, all bets are off if you're a Gnostic. In that case you believe human beings are flittering spirits locked in meaty corpses. With that kind of anthropology a good case of human induced climate change might be just the thing to shake our spirits free from their present entombment.)
4. For the love of the earth
God declared what he created good. So why would you think it is okay to trash it?
5. For the redemption of the earth
Most importantly, it is time to get over the platonic theology that views the redeemed state as an ethereal heaven "where time shall be no more" even as this material coil is consumed in a cosmic furnace. Newsflash: scripture makes clear that our future hope is not "heaven" but rather a new heavens and earth (Isa. 65:17; II Pe. 3:13; Rev. 21:1-3). Equally important, this new heavens and earth is not a replacement for the present creation but rather the redemption of the present creation (Rom. 8:19-21). As surely as God redeems our bodies in resurrection so he will redeem his world.
And when he does, who do you think he'll put on clean-up duty?