Biblical Stewardship & Environmentalism

1. Biblical Expectations for Human Stewardship
Genesis 1:26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground."
Isaiah 55: 12-13 . . .The mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. . . All this will be a memorial for the Lord, a sign that for all time will not be cut off.
Psalm 96:10,12 Let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy.
Psalm 104: 25, 30 In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number—living things both large and small. . . When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the earth.
Daniel 3: 74-81 Let the earth bless the Lord;
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Mountains and hills, bless the Lord;
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Everything growing from the earth, bless the Lord;
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
You springs, bless the Lord;
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Seas and rivers, bless the Lord;
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
You dolphins and all water creatures, bless the Lord;
Praise and exalt him above all forever
All you birds of the air, bless the Lord;
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord;
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Lev. 25:23-24 The land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants. Throughout the country that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.
Ezekiel 34:2-4 Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not the shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you did not take care of the flock! You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally.
Ezekiel 34:17-18 As for you, my flock... Is it not enough for you to feed on good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet?
Isaiah 24:4-6 The earth dries up and withers, the world languished and withers, the exalted of the earth languish. The earth lies under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt.
Jer. 2:7 I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and you made my inheritance detestable.
Hosea 4:2-3. Therefore the land mourns, and all who live in it languish; together with the wild animals and the birds of the air, even the fish of the sea are perishing.
2. St. Francis of Assisi: 'Brother Sun, Sister Moon'
(Praising God in and through nature)
All praise be yours, my Lord, through all that you have made.
And first , my Lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and light you give to us through him.
How beautiful is he, how radiant in all his splendor. Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Moon and Stars; In the heavens you have made them, bright, and precious and fair.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Water, so useful, lowly, precious and pure.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you brighten up the night. How beautiful he is, how gay! Full of power and strength.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Earth, our mother, who feeds us in her sovereignty and produces various fruits and colored flowers and herbs.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through those who grant pardon for love of you; through those who endure Sickness and trial.
Happy those who endure in peace,
By you, Most High, they will be crowned.
3. Christian Mystics
St. Bernard of Clairvaux (11th C.)"You will find something greater in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you what you can never learn from schoolmasters."

Meister Eckhart (14th C.)"Every creature is full of God, and is a book about God. Every creature is a word of God. If I spent enough time with the tiniest creature, even a caterpillar, I would never have to prepare a sermon. So full of God is every creature."

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'thank you,' that would suffice.”

Hildegard of Bingen (11th C.)
"Holy souls draw to themselves all that is earthy."

"God hugs you. You are encircled by the arms of the mystery of God."
4. Mission Statement of 'Christians For The Mountains'
We are people seeking to live our lives in accordance to the teachings and life of Jesus. Along with this is a passion for life, to love what God loves, to seek harmony and peace on this earth. “Thy Kingdom come on Earth as it is in Heaven…” (Matthew 6:10).
We are Christians whose love for God thus moves us to care for God’s creation, all of it, the people and their livelihoods and communities, the animals and plants, the air, water, soil, the memory of past generations and a promise for those yet to come, indeed the entire fabric of life.
We rejoice in the beautiful mountainous region of the southern and central Appalachians, in the people and their communities, in the lush landscapes and beautiful scenery, and in the myriad manifestations of God’s creation.
But we are troubled by decades of human exploitation and abuse to many of the people and much of the land, air, water, and living things. Some of this abuse is almost irrevocable, such as certain mining processes like mountaintop removal, and the sludge ponds, and the mine acid leakage into streams. Other abuses are slowly healing, such as the total clear cutting of the virgin forests of a past century.
Some of this abuse is due to ignorance. Much of it is due to greed. Jesus said in very clear terms, “You cannot serve God and wealth (Mammon)” (Mathew 6:24).
Christians For The Mountains wants to walk with our fellow citizens to learn together how better to take care of the Earth and one another. None of us claims to know all or that we do everything right. But we want to live better. And that means we have to teach and be taught. We also want to speak clearly and prophetically to those who are so driven by greed or power that they willingly destroy the mountains and communities, that such destruction is a violation of the will of God, that it is sin. (Revelation 11:18).
We are Christians from various denominations, Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant. In certain areas we differ from each other, yet we are united together in our advocacy for God’s creation.
Labels such as conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat, right wing or left wing, are not going to divide us. We welcome diversity. Some of us will differ on strategy. We might not all walk together on some projects. Sometimes several approaches are necessary anyway. We unite in our common faith in Jesus Christ, from which derives our mandate to care for God’s creation. We do not impose a creedal statement or tenets of belief on those in our network, leaving those matters to each person and his or her own faith tradition and community.
Many people from various religious and non-religious beliefs understand the interconnectedness of all life and that humans need to live responsibly on this earth. In forming this network, Christians For The Mountains is not seeking to be exclusive or elitist. Rather, those in Christians For The Mountains want to live and act from the core of our very beings, and that involves our sincerely held religious faith. Through the foundations of our deepest beliefs we can be most effective. Furthermore, we are seeking to challenge and influence other Christian people and their churches and recognize that our being Christians may make our message more understandable.
However, we encourage the people of our network to work alongside people of other beliefs for taking care of creation. Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Native American, or other spiritualities or non-spiritualities have adherents who have deep concern for taking care of the earth. This is not syncretistic; this is responsible humanity. Indeed, earthkeeping is a common thread among essentially all religions. To our understanding, this is a primary task given by God to humanity (Genesis 2:15).
We warmly invite persons of non-Christian faith to attend our gatherings, offer insight into our work, and enjoy friendship one with another.
Please prayerfully consider walking with Christians For The Mountains for a time, and more intentionally joining us if you feel right. We are a network, so everyone is important, and there are plenty of jobs to do.
As Christians For The Mountains starts out our primary efforts will involve ending the ruinous mining method of Mountaintop Removal. But many other issues will surface and take hold as our network expands. This group is new and still taking shape as people join in together.
Thank you for taking time to learn about Christians For The Mountains. We hope we have helped you understand a bit about ourselves, and perhaps sparked your interest to pursue further involvement with us. We do wish you the peace and presence of God in your life.