How to care biblically
Reading for this study Chapter 2 of Cherishing the Earth
Key point: Exploring the idea of Stewardship
Take some photos of your local area. Pick shots that show things of human origin and also ones that have natural elements. Take a large piece of paper and rough out a plan of your local area, giving roads, areas of housing, shops, parks etc. You will need some felt tip pens.
Ask people first of all to describe how they look after nature themselves (this might be a garden or even a houseplant).
1. What are the important factors in making your bit of nature flourish?
Read Genesis 2:1-15
2. How did God ask Adam to care for the Garden?
You can clarify this question with the explanation on page 30 of CTE. You may like to look up Numbers 18:7, Genesis 28:20, Psalm 37:28 and Numbers 6:24 for other uses of the key words.
3. What are the important implications for our own approach to the care of the natural world and our use of natural resources?
See especially pages 33-35 and 42-43 for help with this question.
Read Genesis 1:26-2:3
4. What does biblical dominion entail?
(see also 1 Kings 3:5-10)
5. The word ‘Stewardship’ is often used to explain biblical dominion. How does this help in our understanding?
See pages 29-30 of CTE.
Read Deuteronomy 8:6-19 and Leviticus 19:9-10, 23-24
6. How does biblical stewardship focus on God while balancing the needs of humans and the natural world?
7. This is the theocentric approach to the world – what does it look like?
See pages 35-36 and 38-43
Place your local area plan in the centre of the group and pass around the pictures of your area. With green felt tip pens mark in areas where there are plants and animals. These might be individual trees or parks or rough areas at the sides of roads. Discuss how much the natural aspects of your area enhance or detract from the attractiveness of your local area.
How could you apply biblical stewardship principles to your local surroundings? Who would you need to involve? How could you develop a plan and practically see it through to completion?
See pages 131 to 133 in CTE for examples
You may like to do a survey of the organisations and groups in your area to see if they are motivated toward sustainability and environmental concern. Is there a meeting point for those with these interests? If not you may think about starting one!
Points to consider
How should Christians work together with others in the community to help Cherish the Earth? Is this mission and if so in what way?
You might like to consider the Five Strands of Mission (CTE p.193). How do these different strands interweave and support each other?