A Lived Ecotheology

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During the month of September, my church focused on ecotheology. That is, our worship themes and mission projects emphasized caring for God’s creation. It so resonated with the congregation that we plan to do it again next September.

The Iona Community, where I am on retreat, focuses on peace and justice. Within these foci, environmental justice isn’t just something they talk about. It’s how they map each decision. From heating the building to cooking and making purchases, members of the community weigh the environmental impact of every decision.

One way people at Iona reduce their environmental impact is by making themselves use less water. When renovating the bathrooms a few years ago, they installed shower timers. To take a shower, one must push a button. This turns on the water for approximately 10 seconds. You can push it as many times as you want, but you cannot get more than 10 seconds at a time.

At first, I thought it would be unpleasant to use such a shower. I wondered how many times I would push the button or if the little button mechanism was judging me for pushing it too many times. What about trying to push the button for 10 more seconds with shampoo running down my head?

As it turns out, using the shower at 10 second intervals is easy. By the second day, I was used to it. It’s also easy to see how the button mechanism saves water. At each shower, I push the button fewer times. And that’s the point.

To have a lived theology means practicing what one believes. If I profess God‘s care for the world, then my life should reflect that belief. Caring for creation means using fewer resources.

Changing the shower faucet might be expensive, but if more people did it, the cost would go down and the impact would be extensive. People would just use less water. In places that face desertification, using less water is essential.

By making ecotheology one of the filters through which we make decisions, Christ-followers can testify our beliefs through the way we live. We believe God cares for the world including the trees and fish and everything else. Practicing a lived ecotheology means more and more of our decisions could be green.

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