Below is an expert from the excellent book “Encountering The Mystery” written by the current Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Church. It is something of a mix between biography and exposition on his view of the faith, overall a good read. Interestingly he devotes a long section of the book to environmentalism and the responsibilities of christians. This can be something of a hot topic in Evangelical circles (and sadly is something of a political issue as well) but he approaches it with a calm rationality that denotes his sincerely held beliefs. No matter where you fall on the topic I think you’ll find this illuminating.
The first two paragraphs are (in my humble opinion) a shockingly accurate critique of Western Civilisation. In my opinion this is a result of the reformation (which itself is a result of the Schism of 1054 A.D.) and it’s reactionary independent philosophy. Wholesale invention and expurgation are a systemic result of this illegitimate independence. Notice that not just protestants but ALL of Western Christianity can be indicted for this crime. An imbalanced view of the world (spiritual AND material) are the inheritance of ANY denomination in Western Christianity today.
The other point that I ABSOLUTELY love is the idea that the issue of the environment is not a moral or ethical issue, but one of ontology. How we view our position in the world (and our relation to God) deeply influences everything we choose to believe or act. The material world is not something that is Evil and should be shunned. God looked at his creation and proclaimed it “Good” (which in the hebrew denotes the idea of something being fit for a particular purpose). God choose to use things of the physical world to bring salvation to mankind, Christ’s body was flesh and blood, he physically healed the sick and impaired, he instructed us to commune with him through physical food and drink. We are Stewards of this world and so should show honor to the one who made it (and still owns it btw).
I find this incredibly moving and thought provoking. It challenges most of the notions I was raised with (which is probably true of anyone living today in our culture). I don’t believe that we should try to “save the environment” merely for the sake of “the environment”. Above all else I think we should seek to lessen human suffering and help the nearly one billion people who have not benefited from the resources of our modern world. I see this as a call to arms, a call to love more deeply, to show honor to God and a practical way to walk out the faith we claim to hold so dear.