Skip to main content
Episode 116 | September 20, 2023

Can a Christian be an Environmentalist? with Sandra Richter

How Tribalism Taints the Truth About Environmentalism

Like everything else in today’s society, the environment has become a subject of the culture war. Is there really a climate crisis? If so, whose fault is it and what’s the most effective way to respond? And why are so many Christians hesitant about the environment altogether? Today’s guest, Sandra Richter, author of Stewards of Eden, is here to shatter some stereotypes and issue a call for Christians to take environmental concerns more seriously. She backs up her argument with the Bible, citing...

Read More
00:00 / 00:00
Ten Minute Bible Talks Episode Thumbnail



Sandra Richter  00:00

My name is Sandy Richter and I choose truth over tribe.

Keith Simon  01:06

Like everything else in our society, the environment and environmentalism has become the subject of the culture war. It's just hard to know who to believe. Is there a climate crisis? Is that crisis caused by human beings? And if there is a climate crisis? What's the best way to respond? Since tribalism has made it hard to find the truth about environmentalism? It doesn't surprise me that we've gotten requests to talk about it on the podcast. Today we're going to talk with Dr. Sandra Richter. She's a professor of Old Testament at Westmont College, her PhD is in Hebrew Bible. And she got that from Harvard. One of her areas of specialty is environmental theology. She's written a book called stewards of Eden, what Scripture says about environmentalism and why it matters. Today, we're not going to get into the science of the climate crisis, or even how we should live in light of it. But we are trying to set up conversations with people who can help us sort through those kinds of issues in the future. Instead, today, we're going to talk about something more fundamental. We're going to ask what does the Bible teach about creation? There's no better person to have that conversation with than Dr. Sandy Richter. Dr. Sandy Richter, welcome to Truth over tribe.

Sandra Richter  02:26

It is wonderful to be here. Thanks so much for the invitation. Environmental

Keith Simon  02:30

issues seem like they're always in the news cycle. Every time I look at paper, there's something about the environment, about global warming, about weather patterns, something And lately, it's been activists who have been, I guess, like gluing their hand to the wall of these art galleries in Europe. Have you seen this? No, I missed that one. Really? Oh, no, it's a thing. Or I just saw yesterday, there's a fountain in Rome, a very famous one, and I've never been there. So I'm unfamiliar with the exact name. But they took charcoal, and they fill the fountain with charcoal to turn it black. They're blocking streets. So traffic can't get through. And this is all part of Awakening people to this climate crisis. Does that make sense that there's a climate crisis. And we've got to do whatever we can to get people's attention, even if it is kind of obnoxious. So I wanted to talk to you because you wrote your book stewards of Eden, what Scripture says about the environment and why it matters. So let's just start here. Is there something that attracted you to think hard and biblically about the environment? Is there something in your past? Or what drew you to this topic?

Sandra Richter  03:41

Yeah, that's a great question. Although I am still distracted by the gluing their hands to the wall, what is the function of that I'm just trying to, it's not the

Keith Simon  03:50

Mona Lisa. But imagine some famous artwork, and they are attaching themselves in a way that's really hard to get them off so that they can't be drug away, and then by the security, and so then they can tell people about the bad environment, what we're doing to the environment. It's to kind of take things and ruin them. But I think in their mind, they're justified because there's a crisis. That's at least how they see it. Right?

Sandra Richter  04:12


Keith Simon  04:13

Did you grow up in nature or of all the things you could study out there? Why put an emphasis one of your emphasis you have many but one of your emphasis on the environment.

Sandra Richter  04:21

And when I started this case, I was considered super edgy, which was intriguing to me. So where did my passion for it come from? It probably did come from my upbringing. But unfortunately, no, I was not raised on a farm. I did date a guy in college whose family were dairy farmers, and I loved going to that farm. And maybe in a second or third life, I'll get to be a farmer, but not yet. So what was it about my upbringing that influenced me that direction? intriguing to me is the fact that when I taught a Bible in biology class at Wheaton College, my story got not repeated by every student in the class. So this is apparently a bit of a paradigm. And that is, for me, my family spent a lot of time outdoors. We were a military family, navy, we moved at least every two years, sometimes every 18 months, sometimes a couple of times a year. And when we moved because it was Navy, we would get transferred from Norfolk, Virginia, to Alameda, California. So we would camp all the way across the country, it was the cheaper way to do it with five kids. And it also gives a chance to get a financed vacation, basically. So I did spend a lot of times outdoors as a kid, and I got to see all the great national parks. And somewhere in that mix, a profound level of respect, empathy, celebration of God's creation, was a part of my story. Now, this, interestingly, will be all before I'm a Christian. So when I came a Christian, I still had a very deep passion for these things. I had worked with horses, I had worked with farm animals. In the words of VeggieTales, I have kissed a chipmunk, it is true. But I was told when I first became a Christian, that there were more important things to do. Rather than saving trees and raccoons, I needed to be thinking about saving souls. And so I put many of those passions and empathy to the side, and believed I was doing the right thing. And as my expertise grew, and part of my expertise is in the early agrarian culture of ancient Israel, the book of Deuteronomy, the settlement period, I spent a lot of time studying the way Israel interacted with the land, the wild creature, the domestic creature, and found out that the environmental theology that was deeply embedded in my soul is actually all over the Bible. So it was the intersection. So

Keith Simon  07:13

roughly how old were you when you became a Christian was this in college or in your 20s 15

Sandra Richter  07:18

was How old was and so kind of my later teenage years, and I went into a little Christian College in Pennsylvania, trained for ministry, and really kind of a fairly narrow focus. And it was during my Ph. D. program that I really started pursuing. The smallholder diversified agriculture that is characteristic of Israel's experience in the land.

Keith Simon  07:48

Well, it's kind of interesting that you had this appreciation or love for the natural world, are told no, that's not Christian, we have more important things and then really dig into the Bible and go, No, I think those instincts were truer than maybe some of that teaching that said, it was not so important. And I think you do a good job, even there of just kind of putting us in this position where Christians, on one sense, say, when you're outside, that's sometimes the way they feel closest to God, like you'll hear people say, in a national forest, or in a national park, or on top of a mountain or at the ocean. And yet those same people are cautious about loving the environment too much, or the environmental movement, or they don't have a good theology to support why they feel so close to God in nature. And it's almost seems like we're schizophrenic. In our approach, do you see that? And if you do, do you have any idea of why we are that way? Yeah, I do

Sandra Richter  08:45

see it. And I love that you just named it this business of folks who have nothing but respect for the general revelation of God. We're in Romans Now, which of course, is God's creation, where he displays his character to humanity, even lost humanity that would have no access to special revelation. So we'll recognize that God is revealing himself in nature, and then we'll pull back at the idea of stewarding or caring for that nature. And I do ask that question in the book stewards of Eden. And I asked the question, how is it that the church who I would describe as the moral compass of society, I think the gospel puts it Salt and Light, right? That we've become so paralyzed on this topic? Where's that come from? Because the church at its best, has been the force that has led society toward issues like abolition, and civil rights and the care of the widow and the orphan. We are the group that steps out into society and says, No, you're destroying yourselves. But when it comes to environmentalism, we've been super hesitant And so in the introduction, I talk through what I've learned, because I've been presenting on this topic for oh my gosh, 1015 years at this point in time. And what I found is the church typically stumbles over three issues. One definitely is American politics. And I need to say American politics, because the Brits don't have this issue. So a number of years ago, I was doing the Endowed lectures for the London School of Theology in London, obviously. And I had just published stewards of Eden, and they wanted me to speak on my new topic, you know, my new book. And so we put out this lecture for the general public entitled, can a Christian be an environmentalist? And before the lecture ever began, I got all this feedback of what are you talking about, of course, Christians are environmentalists, but where's your title coming from? So for the Brits, their political candidates are fighting over who can be more green so that they can win the Christian vote. Whereas in American politics, what has happened in our very polarized approach to the current environment, where the Republicans and the Democrats are as far away from each other, as I think they've probably ever been, historically, is that the traditional political allies of the church are perceived to be the Republican side of the ticket. And therefore, since environmentalism is traditionally on the Democratic side of the ticket, environmentalism has become guilty by association.

Keith Simon  11:41

It's this tribal eyes approach where we don't think through an issue. But instead we say, which team has what position? And then we come to our position, because that's our tribe, not because we've thought through it or looked at the science or in our case today, look through the Bible.

Sandra Richter  11:58

Right, yeah. Which is why I liked the title of your podcast,

Keith Simon  12:02

overdrive, maybe we're trying, we're doing our best. So

Sandra Richter  12:06

that's a big issue, right? The political environment, and folks are afraid of the topic, because it seems to be with the wrong tribe. And then I remind folks that, hey, you know, what, we're actually citizens of the kingdom of God. I mean, we are citizens of the United States of America. But our moral stance should not be driven by the politics of this nation, but by the politics of that other nation. And so I asked folks to sort of hold their political party a little loosely as we talk through the politics of the kingdom of God. So that's one issue. A second issue, I think, is common to all issues of social justice, which is we and when I say we, I mean, the American West, we don't see the impact of environmental degradation. We're protected from it, by our wealth by our Environmental Protection Agency by our government. So we don't look out the front window and see Madagascar 90%. Deforestation, we don't see that. Very few of us look at our front windows and seeing the missing mountains, in the beautiful West Virginia Appalachian mountain range. Because of mountaintop coal mining. We don't look out our front windows and see and smell the Ganges river system, which due to unrestrained pollution, and industry, and sewage constraints has become according to the UN, a dead river system, which is crazy when you think about that. So we don't see it, we don't see the impact on the widow and the orphan. So it seems very far away. So it's

Keith Simon  13:45

more of an idea that we can debate. Because we don't have to experience all the negative harsh consequences that come with not caring for the environment. And our wealth. Like you said, you're not just talking about the super rich, you're just talking about people in the West who have some resources don't have to endure the hardest parts of it. So that's why we can kind of keep it as this topic that we debate. But we don't really have to engage. Like maybe people who live in different parts of the world

Sandra Richter  14:16

  1. Yeah, and particularly for the church. We are the first defenders of widows and orphans. I think historically, there's a reason that most of the orphanages and hospitals in this world have the word salvation or cross are Christian in the mix in their title. We don't see how environmental degradation creates refugee populations, how it creates and abuses the widow and the orphan. And one of the goals in writing that book is to help connect the dots. Because the good people, the church, the ones I know they'll stand up and fight for the widow and the orphan. They just don't recognize that so much of the creation of those Poppy emissions comes from environmental degradation.

Keith Simon  15:02

Well, because the topic of environmentalism has become so tribal eyes, it's just hard to know what I even believe on it, right? It's hard to know what's true. And not just in this area, but anything out there. There's all kinds of information, but I don't know what information that I can trust. And when I think about the environment, I don't know if this is where I should be it just where I am, I look and say, well, people want me to take these steps and change my lifestyle. But China, India, some of the biggest countries in the world, they're not signing on for the same kinds of things that you're trying to get me to do. So what are my little choices is going to make a difference, as long as the two biggest nations in the world are still polluting. And so I guess for me, I'm not going to get super motivated by saying this is going to be successful. If you recycle. If you drive a hybrid car, or an electric car, then the world is going to be changed. Doesn't feel like that's true. So I thought, Well, what I need to do then is kind of maybe come up with a different approach and say, Let's don't think about what's going to be successful. Let's just go and say, What does the Bible say about this? Because if the Bible teaches it, then it should be binding on me whether or not it pragmatically makes sense or not, if that makes sense. It

Sandra Richter  16:14

makes perfect sense. And when I present on this issue, we always wind up here, we always wind up here. So whether or not I'm successful, in my persuasion, or unsuccessful, I will wind up with someone raising this issue. And those who are convinced are desperate. They're the ones gluing their hands to the museum wall. And the ones who are not convinced are kind of trying to poke a hole in the paradigm, what difference does it make if China is going to keep doing this, then the other thing, and the answer to that, as citizens of the kingdom of God is holiness, sanctification, living as a citizen of another planet. And we specialize in this reality. And we specialize in being the alternative community by being a peculiar people, right. And with our lives and the way we live our lives, we stand as a testimony to the kingdom we cannot see yet. And a testimony to the gospel. One of the issues here with folks blowing their hands to the side of the museum is this is a topic that our neighbors care about desperately, both locally and globally. And yet the church is being silent on it. So not only are we further endangering the widow and the orphan, we're also not serving as the testimony of the character of God on this planet as we ought to be.

Keith Simon  17:45

And I think sometimes Christians overreact to the other side. In other words, there are some I'm sure you would agree, at least I think that some parts of the environmental movement have, and we'll get to this in the Bible, I've almost made the environment more than people, like people are the problem, right? And so it's easy to not pick right, find some crazy person the other side, and then say, well look at them, and I'm gonna run to the opposite side. The reason I wanted to talk to you is because I know you can just take us back to the Bible and say, what does the Scripture teach here? And in my reading in your book, I've been just trying to read and become acquainted with this issue from other theologians. I keep coming across a paper written by a man named Lynn White, I'm hoping you can kind of shed some light on this, if I understand it, right. He was a UCLA professor, he wrote in the 1960s. And essentially, what I understand is, he said, Hey, look, the Christian worldview is causing the environmental crisis. Can you give us a little background? How important was that paper? What am I missing? Help us understand why a lot of our neighbors or at least the activists blame Christians for the current problems as they see it. So

Sandra Richter  18:55

Lynn white historical roots of our ecological crisis was the name of the essay it came out in 1967 in science 155. And he assessed Christianity as quote, the most anthropocentric religion the world has ever seen. The idea that Christianity is so focused on humanity, so focused on humanity, that it has therefore abandoned the natural world. So he spoke of how Christianity and its world view bore a huge burden of guilt for the philosophical and ethical framework that fueled the modern technological exploitation of nature, and I'm bouncing in and out of quotations here. But largely what he's mad at is the Industrial Revolution, and how the outgrowth of the Industrial Revolution resulted in the technologic called exploitation of nature, and was turning kind of his sights on the Christian worldview. And one of the things he's after is the idea that Christianity separated humanity from nature. And you are familiar with this, as is probably every Christian listening to your podcast, the idea that the God of the Bible is not embedded in the natural world, the God of the Bible is not a nymph, or Gaia, the mother goddess, that the data bible actually stands outside of the natural world and speaks it into being. So we're not pantheists. And the argument is that when humanity was pantheistic, we took better care of the planet. And it's actually a very weak argument, because there's nowhere on this planet that you can go, there is no religion, you can cite, there's no nation, you can find that has treated the Earth with the level of respect that it needs to sustain itself. One of the quotations I pulled into an old article is that the human tendency for greed and exploitation supersedes every religious and national commitment. Now, we're a race that needs to repent. Although Lynn white brought some interesting things into focus. The idea that Christianity is responsible for this is very short sighted. Indeed, I

Keith Simon  21:39

know this probably isn't what you were thinking when you wrote is I don't mean that you actually wrote a rebuttal to Lynn white, but in another sense, a broader sense. You're correcting this misconception that the inaccurate understanding of the Bible leads to environmental degradation. And you're building a biblical case for why Christians and human beings, but especially Christians, should care about the environment. And so what I want to do is just kind of do a little bit of Bible study, and I've read your other book a couple times epic of Eden, and recommended it to people, if you're looking for just a big picture of what's the Bible about from beginning to end, I would pick up epic of Eden, if I were you and read that. But I know from that, that you're gonna say, Okay, if you want to see what the Bible teaches about this, you got to go all the way back, where everything starts, everything starts in Genesis one and two. And if you cut those off, you're going to have bad conclusions, you're going to come to wrong conclusions. All right? So if we go back to Genesis one and two, and we get to specific verses here in a second, I want to read some and just have you kind of expound on them. But if we go back to Genesis one and two, look at it, just a macro level of what's happening there. What are some big things that we learned about God creation, ourselves all in relationship to one another?

Sandra Richter  22:51

All right, yeah. Let's dive in to Genesis one and two, which you already know from having read epic of Eden, I would describe as God's blueprint for His creation. And this is indeed where all biblical theology starts, and certainly where environmental theology starts. And let me just say briefly, that the Lynn white conversation and some of the formulations of her response to the environmental crisis, I deal with those much more in my technical stuff, but in stewards of Eden, I'm writing to the church, and I am writing to those college students who sat in front of me at Wheaton College and said, You know, I've always loved the outdoors. I've always loved hiking, I've always loved camping. But I felt like I wasn't allowed to love those things and love Christ at the same time. So Stuart is much more addressed the church, it's

Keith Simon  23:48

very readable. I mean, you take your scholarly education and all of your technical work, but you put it on a shelf that any of us can understand in this book. I agree. Well,

Sandra Richter  23:57

thank you for that. That was the goal. I used to joke with my students that if you can read this book, and be reassured that your bible actually does address this stuff, I've won my first goal, if you can take it home and give it to your parents, and they can read this book and be reassured that the Bible actually addresses this stuff, um, to down and if you can hand it off to your grandparents, and they're still convinced so. All right, so let's take a look, creationist God's blueprint, the macro argument here is that when humanity was created on the sixth day, humanity was set up, not simply as this beautiful illustration of the image of God. Humanity was also established as the steward of the cosmos. And I use the word Cosmos because so often Bible believing Christians don't recognize that creation is about the galaxies. It's not just about Idaho, Indiana. So, Adam and Eve are set up as as as stewards of this planet, and specifically, the command that is offered to them in Genesis 215 Is that their job is to tend, and D fend the garden itself, God bless them and said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth take possession of it, yes, all of that is true, but in their taking possession of it, they are also commanded to tend the garden and to defend the garden. And I make this macro argument that this was our responsibility in God's creation of us. And all we have heard is this business about dominion and rulership. The church has forgotten the part about tending and defending

Keith Simon  25:55

in just one second, I want to read those verses about the ruling and subduing because I think that's where I've gotten off track in the past. But I'm just big picture of Genesis one we know that God creates and then at the end of each day, he says it is good. But after he creates human beings, he says it says very good, right. And so what I think I've heard in the past is, especially right after I became a Christian in college, is that human beings are kind of the pinnacle of creation.

Sandra Richter  26:22

Yeah, I totally agree. And I think the way the week is set up in Genesis one is intended to highlight that, as you've read, In my past work, what God is doing is he's creating habitats and inhabitants. He's creating kingdoms and rulers. So the ocean is filled by the fish, the sky is filled by the birds, the dry land is filled with the land animals, and humanity is set over all of that as the pinnacle of God's design, but also as his steward, over all those kingdoms that have come before.

Keith Simon  26:59

And so then the part of the environmental movement that says human beings are the problem, like Paul Ehrlich in the 1960s wrote this book called The Population Bomb, and it became this huge thing. I mean, Paul Ehrlich was on Johnny Carson, the late night, King for, like, 3040 times, and the whole idea was human beings are destroying the world. And I guess you'd push back against that and say no, because it was almost like he was putting creation over human beings. And it sounds like you're saying, No, that's got the order wrong somehow. Is that right?

Sandra Richter  27:28

Well, I would argue that view is adversarial the idea that it's humanity against all of the flora and fauna of nature. And that is not what the blueprint says. What the blueprint in Genesis one says, is that humanity is indeed the pinnacle. Humanity is the embodiment of God's authority on this planet. So humanity was designed as a gardener, let's put it that way, in order to bring this earth to the height of its productivity, the heights of its purpose, he was indeed to rule it. But as we all can see, the sixth day is not the final day, the seventh day is the final day. And the seventh day, of course, is the enthronement of the Almighty the Creator. So how is a DOM supposed to rule? A Dom, humanity is supposed to rule the way he's been ruled, I use the metaphor in the book of a landlord and a renter. If you are renting an apartment, you put down a security deposit and that security deposit is to ensure that you do not destroy the landlord's property. And that landlord is perfectly happy for you to use the bathroom and the kitchen and the refrigerator and put your furniture in his apartment. But if you start knocking holes in the wall and pulling up the floorboards, you're going to pay for it. And that really is a good metaphor for humanity's relationship with the cosmos, under the authority of the

Keith Simon  29:02

Creator, under the authority of the Creator, and scripture says in Genesis one, God says, make man in our image and our likeness. And then here's the key thing that I want to focus on is so that they may rule over the fish of the sea, which you talked about God, creating habitation and then inhabitants. But then in the next verse, and 28, Be fruitful, increase in number of fill the earth and subdue it, rule over the fish. So I guess what I've always heard is, look, creation is there to serve people. And we are the rulers, we subdue it. We can do whatever we need to do with creation to make our human lives prosper. And prosper can be defined in many ways, but usually people mean economically for themselves that they would do better. So mining or deforestation, well, we're ruling creation. What's wrong with that?

Sandra Richter  29:55

Well, there's several responses and keep keep me on target here. One of those responses is that there's been this thing called the fall, we've heard of it where humanity's position in creation not only has been compromised, but humanity themselves have been perverted, listed. So that it is broadly known that in our ruling of the nations, our governments, our political officials, even our parenting and our neighborhood relations, we abuse power, as opposed to using power. One of the great challenges I put forth in this book is that we the church recognize that humanity abuses power, and we are the voices in the wilderness, you are standing up saying, hey, defend the widow defend the orphan, hey, creating refugee populations is not okay, hey, genocide, immoral, stop it. And we're willing to step into the spaces and be a prophetic voice. One of the things I believe we have been blind to, is we have a very similar relationship with creation. In the blueprint, we were entrusted to steward God's possession, according to God's intentions. And instead, we have deployed our superior gifts to use and abuse. And whereas we would look at broken relationships, and we would say, that is not God's intention. We failed to look at the garbage Island, twice the size of Texas, loading off the Pacific coast, and say, that is not God's intention. Stop it. Okay.

Keith Simon  31:41

We're just following the storyline of the Bible, then Genesis one and two, God's blueprint for creation for humanity, all that we're supposed to attend in the garden, defend it. And

Sandra Richter  31:51

we are supposed to rule I have no trouble, which most environmentalists would get very upset with words like subdue, and rule subdues, not a great translation, actually, of 128. It shouldn't be take possession of, and the closest echo is when Joshua hands the promised land off to the 12 tribes. And he says, Okay, I've broken the back of Canaanite power, but you need to get in there and take possession of your territory, start farming it, start raising your animals on it, build your houses, etc, etc. So that's what's being commanded to Adam and Eve, get out there and make it great. And one of the things I say in Epic is that without the fall, who knows how long it would have taken us to reach Mars, maybe three months, because we would have been ruling this planet according to the wisdom of God instead of creating Adam's world. And I think everyone listening to us would agree that Adam's world is not doing very well. So

Keith Simon  32:47

human beings have been created by God to rule and subdue, take possession of it in a way that honors God. And that reflects or mirrors or images, his rulership, the way he rules the world, but because of sin, we have taken the power and authority God has given us and we've used it to serve ourselves and ruled over it in a selfish way. exploitive way. And so the way that God wants it done. So I think you're arguing that stewardship is the key. That's the right way to think about how we should be ruling. Is that right? Yes, and

Sandra Richter  33:24

not just how we should be ruling but what God's design and command was. And if we are in rebellion in any other area of our life, our first step is to repent. Are we in rebellion against the great blueprint? And in our rebellion? Just like our rebellion in relationships, yeah, we want our sexual freedom. Therefore, adultery, divorce, decimating our families, based on our own sexual appetites. That's our freedom. It's our right, isn't it? And then do we see the fallout afterwards, in a generation of children where coming from a two parent home is the exception, not the rule. And if you're involved in social work, you know that the first domino that falls in a failed life is often a single parent home? And can I get any dice here? But the point being that in our rebellion, we're destroying ourselves. In our rebellion against the blueprint of humanity's responsibility to care for creation. It's us we're poisoning is interesting,

Keith Simon  34:34

because some of the people who had pushed back some of the Christians who would maybe not have much time or interest in the environmental movement, see that sin has corrupted sexuality so that people pursue their own interests, their own appetites, like you said, and the harm is done. But we have a harder time for some reason, maybe because of the tribal eyes politics. We mentioned earlier. Seeing that the same thing has happened with the environment sin has corrupted our relationship with the environment so that we are We're using it in an exploitive way. I want to keep reading in Genesis 129. So God said, I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth. And every tree that has fruit with seed in it, they will be yours for food. I don't wanna spend too much time on this. But does that mean that we were created to be vegetarians?

Sandra Richter  35:20

That's a great conversation that no way at covenant in Genesis nine would encourage us to think, yes, we were created to be vegetarians, not vegans, but vegetarians because it is with no is covenant that the idea of the red table is introduced. And I don't have a strong opinion on that. But I do know that being a vegetarian is very good for one's health. And I also know that it can be an important step against the industrialization of agriculture and the food crisis on this planet.

Keith Simon  35:56

When we get to the end, and revelation, I want to ask you, if there'll be cheeseburgers there or not,

Sandra Richter  36:00

I know wouldn't be such a bummer of in and out doesn't exist in the New Jerusalem.

Keith Simon  36:07

I want to keep going. So God says I'm 29, just to remind us, God says in 29, here, human beings, I've given you all this seed bearing plants, the trees, they have fruit on them, that's yours for food. And then he tells the human beings, and to the beasts of the earth, and all the birds in the sky, and all the creatures that move on the ground, everything that has the breath of life in it, I give every green plant for food, and it was so so what I find interesting there is he tells the humans, I've given this for you for food, but then he tells the humans, I've also given it to the animals for food. Why does he tell the humans what the food for the animals is? Like, you know, this is for you. But it's also for them? Is it some message there?

Sandra Richter  36:47

That's a great question. And I've honestly not pondered it before, I would say that one of the umbrella answers is God's telling his supervisor, his manager. By the way, this is where you're supposed to get the food sources for animals as well. So it sort of reinforces the idea that Adam and Eve stand above the animal kingdom and are responsible for the animal kingdom, which is going to get reiterated, as you know, throughout the rest of the biblical text,

Keith Simon  37:17

okay, throw an idea and see if you think I'm onto something, or maybe I'm in heresy, I don't know. But it seems like when he tells the human beings that is for you for food, but it's also for the animals, that there's some implication there that human beings are supposed to limit themselves share this, recognize that God cares about these creatures. And just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should do something. I mean, Eve could eat the fruit, but she shouldn't have. And just because we can do something in our society, doesn't mean that we should do it. And I think we have a hard time with that anything we can do we think is okay to do. Do you think that's a decent idea? Or no,

Sandra Richter  37:54

I think it's a fabulous idea. And I'll wind up picking that up later when it comes to sustainable land use. And the law that's offered to Israel basically, is what you're saying that I know, you can farm this land 24/7. But God is saying, If you farm this land 24/7 I know that 50 years from now, you're going to come up with sterile fields, and you're all going to starve. So although you can do that, you should not do that. Rather, you need to allow this land to lie fallow so that it can keep producing for generations following. And I come up with a little proverb in the book that makes the statement that the Bible is declaring that a populace should not take everything it can from the land, rather, it should only take what it needs from the land. And another proverb that jumps in there of my own creation is that the earth is lords and all it contains, he has ordained that humanity should make use of it in his need, but not abuse it in his greed. And I am completely convinced that our current environmental crisis is not the result of need. It is the result of greed.

Keith Simon  39:09

I want to jump forward a little bit to other parts of the Old Testament and one of the areas that you have spent a lot of time in is Deuteronomy in the laws we were talking about. There's that command to not muzzle the ox. What should I take away from that? You know, don't muzzle the ox, it seems like okay, am I supposed to care for animals in a humane way? Or is there more to it than that?

Sandra Richter  39:31

So as we move through the Bible and through the book, so that first chapter is the blueprint, the second chapter is the people of the old covenant and their land lord, and talks through the very strong scriptural presentation that the Promised Land neither the Garden of Eden nor the Promised Land ever belonged to humanity. It always belonged to Yahweh. And Yahweh was giving his people the privilege to live on that land as long as they adhere to his covenant. And a big part of his covenant was the fallow law, treating the land with respect sustainable agriculture, sharing your income with the impoverished by allowing them to use the land as well, all of these principles that we celebrate at a distance, but we're not necessarily willing to celebrate up close and personal, when it limits my privilege. But you know, that's kind of the bottom line of our identity as citizens of another kingdom, that God has indeed limited our privileges for the sake of the other. So you're moving on to the domestic creatures that are entrusted to humanity. And that would be chapter three, and review a bunch of issues in here and the general posture of the scripture that a wise man cares for his beast, a wise man is kind to his beast, the Sabbath ordinance, which is huge. I mean, the Sabbath ordinance is one of the big 10. Right. And with the Sabbath ordinance, Israel is commanded to allow their working animals to rest, you know, ponder that these folks are living in a subsistence economy. They're barely making it. They're living just making ends meet. And they're being commanded to allow their working animals to rest on the Sabbath. And that command is coming straight from the Sinai covenant. So this command for rest is given to humanity. It's also given to the beasts which sets us up for the idea that these animals deserve humane treatment as well. And then I land on this one passage that you've spoken of, to not muzzle the ox while he's threshing the grain. So we wander back to asking what is the role of the oxen the deal is that these massive bovines are very strong, so they do all the heavy lifting and Israel's agricultural work and one of those tasks is threshing grain. So you bring in all the grain at the end of the harvest, you strap a threshing sledge onto your oxen. And he drags the sledge for hours upon hours upon hours, as the stalks are being separated from the grain, and then you clean the grain and you store it, and everybody lives to see another year. So in the midst of this process, which I can define with way more detail than you want to hear, the farmer is commanded to basically allow his oxen to eat everything they want during the process. And this is not a capitalist idea. This is not the height of consumerism. Because whatever that ox eats, my children don't get to eat this winter. And as I detail in the book, we've demonstrated archaeologically that the hunger season in ancient Israel ran for a good 60 days. And the hunger season is that space between when last year's harvest runs out. And this year's harvest comes in every family, every Israelite, are looking at 60 days when there's no food supply. And the way they're going to handle that, of course, is by compromising their intake in the other months of the year, maybe some hunting, you know, maybe slaughtering an extra animal from the herd. But it is a fragile balance. So when God commands the Israelite farmer, to not muzzle the ox while he thrushes his grain, he's talking to a guy who's hungry. And a guy who knows that every quart of grain that doesn't go into the storage bin is going to wind up with another day of hunger during that hungry season. This is a radical command. And so I take that passage in light of the Sabbath ordinance and the wisdom passages about kindness to animals. And I say, here's the deal. Israel's animals are being given the joys and comforts of enjoying their lives. Now they're going to work themselves to death, literally. And when that ox is old and can't pull a threshing sledge anymore, they're going to slaughter him, and they're going to eat him. Yeah, we know that's coming. But essentially, the law of Israel is allow that animal, the space and dignity to enjoy its life while it Labor's on your back. And then I take that parallel, and I compare it to what we're doing in mass confinement, animal husbandry, in producing food in the States.

Keith Simon  44:32

That command did not muzzle the oxygen, you put it in its ancient historical context, it means so much more because I read it as a westerner who goes to the grocery store and has tons of food options. And I'm like, Well, sure, give the animals some food, right? Because it doesn't cost me anything. But it really says a lot about how much God cares about even animals. When you realize that human beings are going to have to go a little hungrier than they want. They're gonna have to do without they have to make a real sock. purifies in order to feed their animal. So it's not just that God cares about, you know, the mountains and the oceans and the pollution. But God cares about these creatures that he has made. And you have a whole thing on the wild creatures. So these are the domesticated creatures, but then there's the wild creatures in the book a job. And in Psalm 104, you have this whole idea of God confronting job through the whirlwind and asking him these questions about were you there? And do you know how many mountain lions are out? Or what you know, whatever it is, I don't remember all the details, you know it better?

Sandra Richter  45:32

Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Have you ever commanded the dawn to take its place? I love that line. It seems

Keith Simon  45:39

to like dissenter, human beings, like human beings are the pinnacle. I mean, like you said, of the creation, and we've been given these responsibilities, but kind of don't get so big on yourself or something like that.

Sandra Richter  45:49

The ultimate idea that we are creation, we are not creator, we are the sixth day, we're not the seventh day. I like that. And Joe, you know, his response is, I've spoken once, I will not speak again, I put my hand over my mouth. What do I know. And in every area of our life as the people of faith, we struggle with that posture, you know, constantly putting God first letting him actually the Lord of our lives. And what I'm doing in this book is challenging us to realize that his commands involve the way we treat this planet as well. Fast forward

Keith Simon  46:24

to the New Testament. And you see Jesus using creation, to tell his story's like he causes the sun to rise on the righteous and the unrighteous or a sparrow doesn't fall from the sky unless God Wills it or Look at the lilies of the field and how God cares for them. Those kinds of things. Comment on that if you want, but there's a couple passages I really want to hear your opinion on it. One is in Mark 113. This is in the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, and it says that Jesus is with the wild animals. What's that saying? Is there somehow peace between him and the wild animals? It just feels significant, and I'm not catching the significance?

Sandra Richter  47:06

Well, again, this is a whole new question for me, no one has ever asked me about Mark, I'm going yes, just based on the gospel writers that they're trying to pick up some parallel, about Israel's experience in the wilderness, or perhaps Elijah's experience.

Keith Simon  47:23

So Mark 113 are sort of verse 12, at once the spirits sent him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness 40 days being tempted by Satan, he was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. Okay,

Sandra Richter  47:37

so I'm shooting from the hip here, references to the wilderness, to the howling wilderness, and to the wild animals, at least throughout the Old Testament are always references to moving outside of civilized space, or an area that has become so decimated by war or famine, that it loses its identity as civilized space, if that makes sense. So I'm going to anticipate this code. And it code for the fact that Jesus is far away from humanity as he can get that there is no safety net, there are no grain silos, or wills, or humans to provide for him or protect him. And this would be a parallel to the nation of Israel's experience wandering through the wilderness for 40 years,

Keith Simon  48:28

emphasizing that Jesus was alone and had to depend on the Father.

Sandra Richter  48:33

Yeah, and being alone and having to depend on the father that his security is compromised. And the wild animals are part of that compromise. And of course, he's also being tempted by Satan, which takes us back to the garden, that the first Adam was tempted by Satan and failed. And the second Adam is tempted by Satan and succeeds by having to love the fact the second Adam succeeds by quoting dude,

Keith Simon  48:58

it's your book. It's my book. Another passage, I want to ask you about this time in Mark five. And Jesus has this encounter with a gathering demoniac and cast the demons out into the pigs, who then run off the cliff. Right. And so is this Jesus trying to make a point, we're willing to save people at the expense of animals. Yeah. And

Sandra Richter  49:21

I think that is a reasonable conclusion that it was better to free this man, and have the herd of pigs run over the cliff, then not free this man, I think that would be a reasonable conclusion. But I don't think that would be the focus of the gospel writer. I think the focus of the gospel writer would be that he's in Gentile land because they're pigs here.

Keith Simon  49:49

Well, I don't know enough about the geography right now. I'm not looking at it and either you to be fair, but I wasn't sure if he was saying that. Here's a Jewish part of community but they have paid He's trying to kind of say they're a bit hypocritical, or if it was just a coincidence, so we're not supposed to read too much into it. I don't know. Well,

Sandra Richter  50:08

and I'm just kind of taking a look at the players here. Do we know that the man who is possessed is a Jew?

Keith Simon  50:15

I don't think so. Doesn't he go to the Decapolis, which

Sandra Richter  50:20

is intriguing as well, that he's freeing a Gentile. So you should have invited a New Testament person for this conversation. Although I love this conversation, I was gonna ask

Keith Simon  50:28

you about love your neighbor. But you already kind of touched on a little bit that in the sense that one of the ways we love our neighbor is caring for our environment, because the people who are hardest are the people who God loves and cares about made in His image, the poor, the weak, the vulnerable, the marginalized.

Sandra Richter  50:42

And we would want to connect that to the gleaning laws of the Old Testament. And remember that our farmer is barely making it. Remember that our farmer is going to go hungry this year, and so will his children. And yet that farmer is commanded, do not go back over your barley field, your olive grove, your vineyard, don't go back over to second time to make sure you've harvested everything. Rather, you go over once you take everything you can on the first round, leave the rest for the poor among you, that is such a huge statement and such a violation of my Protestant work ethic, right? Like, of course, I'm gonna go back over to second time, a third time, a fourth time until I make sure that every single grape has come into my barn. And the command is the opposite. Leave enough so that the impoverished among you can get out there and get what they need. I love it. And Leviticus just hammers on this with the fallow law, like the pushback, why should I let my fields lie fallow for the seventh year, I need that income. And you always response is because the land is mine. So stop, it's mine. You're renting it. And you had said earlier on Keith, about how all the different voices about environmentalism. And I totally agree with you. There are folks that are just way beyond the biblical message when it comes to engaging environmentalism. But I think there is one message in the biblical texts that absolutely cannot be contradicted. And that message is the earth is the Lord's, that this land, these animals, the flora and fauna that depend on this land, they all belong to God, not to us. And so in our posture as the sixth day, not the seventh day as the steward, not the king, as creation, not creator, we are constrained to deal with these animals, this flora, this planet, as we have been commanded, recognizing that we're stewarding somebody else's possessions. We are not the Lord of our own domain.

Keith Simon  52:55

And then we see at the end of the biblical story that God restores, renews, recreates, transforms whatever word we want to use, the Garden of Eden. Now we're in a city, but it's all a lot of the same imagery that was used in Genesis one and two is what concludes the Bible and the prophetic word and Isaiah, is that when talking about this new heaven and new earth, and Isaiah 11 talks about the animals and laying down with one another, and there seems to be peace and harmony, restored, what sin has corrupted. Now, God's grace, transforms and changes you mentioned in the book, I think it's the beginning of one of your chapters, a quote, you don't mention who but you said, a sermon in Wheaton, Illinois in 2016, said, did Jesus die for plants or animals? So asking a question, no, is the answer only the church and that's all that's left at the end? That seems to be the approach, right? And it seems to miss the biblical storyline.

Sandra Richter  53:52

And what it misses specifically, is Romans chapter eight. And the fact that God created a cosmos, he did not just create humanity. I wind up saying this to my undergrads all the time, that you know what God's goal in his great master plan is not just to give you fire insurance. This is not just to keep you out of hell. What has happened in the great fall is the perfect blueprint, that seven day design has been fractured, and it's been thrown into a tailspin. The rescue plan, which is detailed to us between Genesis three and Revelation 21 is about putting that picture back together again, by turning everything right side up and putting humanity back in the place where humanity belonged in the first place, which was as the stewards and the heirs of the kingdom. Do you mind if I read Romans eight a little bit here,

Keith Simon  54:50

you read whatever you want. I was looking up something similar in Acts three, okay, but you read whatever you'd like. I think that's what we want to do is make sure that our convictions are rooted in the Bible. So go for it.

Sandra Richter  55:00

Amen. Amen. Okay, so Paul, and let's keep in mind that he's a first century rabbi and probably doesn't have a subscription to the Sierra Club or Greenpeace, just China. He starts off saying, For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. So he's talking about the New Jerusalem right? Here we go for the anxious longing of the creation, waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God, for the creation itself was subjected to futility of their translation, frustration, not of its own well, but because of him who's subjected. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but we ourselves having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of the body. In the midst of this, I skip this part, it says, For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own well, but because of him, who's subjected it in hope, that the creation itself will also be set free from its slavery to corruption, into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. So what is Paul saying? He's saying that the end of the story is not simply fire insurance for the individual, but the resurrection of the created order. He's saying that that resurrection is going to come into view, when the heirs of God, the glory of the children of God, finish the adoption process, waiting eagerly for our adoption of sons, comma, the redemption of our bodies. So any theologian worth their salt would tell your listeners that the salvation process is not finished, until this flesh that I live with and in is resurrected into eternity, that it is the immaterial and material resurrection of my body that finalizes my salvation. So our adoption as sons or as heirs of the kingdom, equals the redemption of our body. And what Paul is doing is he's juxtaposing the resurrection of the planet, with the resurrection of the Fallen sons of Adam and daughters of Eve, there could not be a communication any higher of how important the resurrection of this planet is. And the point being, that God's rescue plan is not complete until this planet is resurrected, we are resurrected, and we are re established in that ideal Cosmos into which we were put in the first place. So the whole story goes together. And as a result, the cosmos is not simply disposable. As too many people have taught over the years,

Keith Simon  58:05

I was looking up, as I told you, Peter sermon and x three, were talking about Jesus heaven must receive Him until the time comes for God to restore everything. And so it's a shorter version of what you just said that the gospel of the kingdom is about more than saving souls isn't about less than saving souls. It's just more than saving souls saving bodies, saving the whole world reordering it fixing what is wrong with the world. And I do think this is starting to ground my convictions in the Bible so that even if it looks hopeless, like oh, we're never going to stop pollution. But as a Christian, I shouldn't be a polluter, right. But I just want to push back a tiny bit, I don't even know what's really pushing back. It's just things in my head that I've got to work through. And that is that there seem to be trade offs here that people aren't usually willing to deal with. So for example, one of the benefits of the way we have farmed, and modern farming, big business farming, even the way we raise the animals and all that one of the benefits is that we've made a lot of food, cheap for a lot of people, that we've not ended world hunger, but we sure have taken a chunk out of world hunger, we're able to feed more people than we ever have before in history at a cheap price so that a person's grocery budget is a smaller percentage of their overall budget than in the past in the United States. Yes, in the United States. Well, maybe around the world I truly don't know. But even like free range chicken, how can I live in a way that honors God and His love for creation, all that so when I go to the store, and since reading your book, The first time I read it a couple years ago, I go and I want to buy the free range chicken, do you know how much more expensive it is than the chicken that is right next to it? And so, you know, my wife, thankfully the two of us were able to buy that free range chicken, you know, live at our convictions, but I know there are other people who aren't. And so I Wonder if you just speak to the trade offs? You don't have to have the answer. I don't know if there is an answer. But can you say love your neighbor by having factory farms love your neighbor by using modern agricultural principles so that we can feed them,

Sandra Richter  1:00:12

I would say the motivation is not wrong. And the fellow who initiated the Green Revolution of industrial agriculture, actually won a Nobel Peace Prize for alleviating hunger in India and Mexico. In particular, the problem was that the means by which hunger was being alleviated, wound up collapsing the farm system, at least in India. And one of the case studies I do is Punjab, India, and how the breadbasket of India has been brought to the edge of disaster. By the industrial mechanisms that have poisoned the land poisoned, the farmers emptied the groundwater. And the greed of the system has also wound up with massive storage houses everywhere filled with rotting grain, instead of reaching the actual refugee populations or impoverished populations that need the food. So although there could be some good stuff in that mix, we have managed to deploy industrial agriculture in a fashion that has and is collapsing the family farm. So as you will see in the book, there are statistics after statistic after statistic, about 10s of 1000s of family farms, hundreds of 1000s of family farms in our country, where the farmers have been driven into bankruptcy by industrialized agriculture. And of course, when the farms are driven into bankruptcy, so to the small town economy that exists around them, collapse is into bankruptcy as well. Massive suicide rates, massive addiction rates, yes, in destroying the local family farm, we've not done our society any favors. And we've not done India, any favors either. The ambition of feeding the hungry is a good one. But the means by which we're getting there is not succeeding so that in Europe, for example, they have set caps on how many animals can be on a single farm, they have sent caps on how many acres a farmer can farm and how much chemical fertilizer and pesticide he can use so that that farming family cannot voice in the groundwater and poison their neighbors, which, by the way, the massive escalation in cancer in our generation is coming from our food sources, and from the fact that we're poisoning ourselves. So all of those things are not deployed. Well. Let's put it that way. And again, we have parallels in other countries where they've managed to supplement their local farmers so that they didn't collapse the family farm in moving toward a more efficient means of the unit population. So there are answers. But I want to target the moral issue here. And the moral issue has to do with consumer ism. And we in the United States of America, we are consumers, we are capitalists. And if Jeremiah was walking down Main Street, I think this is what he would be preaching about. And it's so embedded in our culture, we don't even see it right. Of course, I'm supposed to squeeze every dime out of my budget every minute out of my hour. And I'm supposed to announce my status with my diplomas and the brands on my clothes. Of course, that's normative. Okay, so I do a little review of some work done by mir Tosia chorus, who is a young Old Testament scholar, she's from Athens, Greece, and her expertise is in consumerism and the biblical text. And she basically challenges us to ask the question of, are we responsible as consumers for the chain of delivery of the product to my table, my front door, right? So she defines consumerism in her work, and then explores how a consumer mentality intersects with the holy life. And as in her published article, she states that the only true concern of a consumer mentality is getting the lowest price for the best product and just like you, that doesn't necessarily sound bad to me. It's honestly how I typically shop. Yeah. But in a particular article and a plenary gathering that she gave, and I reported in the book, the Eucharist, move the conversation regarding consumerism, out of the grocery store and into her One ministry setting and the landscape for all of us as we were listening to her changed abruptly. Because the Icarus doesn't work in retail, she actually works with young women who labor in the brothels of Athens. And her quotation was this. What is dangerous about the consumer identity is that a consumer, we're rarely asked questions about the supply chain leading up to the transaction, the consumers only concern is getting the most out of the lowest priced product. In fact, in her world, the clients prefer to maintain their traditional role as the ignorant buyer. They want to be invisible, anonymous, and free of any culpability. Well, merito changed that room, like on a dime. Because every one of us was thinking about consumerism as in how I buy my clothes, how I buy my food, how I buy my house, how I fill the gas tank in my car. And what she was challenging us to do is think about how that product got to you. Whose land was despoiled, so that you could have that product on your kitchen table, which farmer committed suicide because my bargain price collapsed his farm, which pristine region of the Arctic was decimated, so that I could have cheaper fuel in my guest guzzling car. So that's what she challenged us to do. And I think as Christians, how can we deny our responsibility to actually think through the product line? As this material comes to us?

Keith Simon  1:06:47

Yeah, it's challenging. I agree. I think sometimes living in a fallen broken world. There's trade offs, there's no obvious easy answer to some of these questions.

Sandra Richter  1:06:57

There's always going to be trade off, it is a fallen world. But for us to just put it aside, like we have no responsibility. I don't think that's a trade off.

Keith Simon  1:07:05

We got to wrap up. But I just want to get practiced for just one second, can you just give us some bullet points about how you have chosen to live in light of your convictions? Like, is there a certain kind of gas you buy, and you bought a certain kind of car? Do you ride a bike? You know, I mean, you live in California is perfect all the time? I understand. But do you buy free range? Chicken just lists some things that you've not what you wish you did? Not what you think you should do? Not what you tell other people, but what you actually do actually

Sandra Richter  1:07:33

do? Okay, so let me say about the wish I did think I did and tell other people there is at the end of the book, a couple of pages of resources for the responsive Christian. And those gives some very practical guidelines that can help you and I in our limited influence to have an impact. Yeah. Okay. So what do I do? We are major recyclers in my household, my college age daughter was mocked a few weeks ago, because someone gave her something in a plastic sandwich bag. And she took it home, washed it out, dried it and returned it to the person who gave it to her. And the person holding this now used sandwich bag said what the? And my daughter was like, Well, I'm giving you back your sandwich bag. And the person said, Why would hence the impact of my upbringing. We have enough plastic that comes to us in bread bags, and everything that comes to us from prepackaged material. I wash out every one of those bags, I keep them, I reuse them. Certainly the standard recycling happens in my house as well. So big time recyclers, yes, we drive to hybrid vehicles. And can I just say to the state of California, at this point in time in the development of the industry, hybrids are better for our environment than electric cars, we have not yet figured out what to do with those batteries that only lasts seven to 10 years. So stick with your hybrid.

Keith Simon  1:09:01

There's a documentary that I haven't seen, because I don't watch stuff, but the about the Congo and how in order to make these batteries, we're pillaging the Congo to get it. That's back to the trade offs. But don't get sidetracked with that. So hybrids, what else?

Sandra Richter  1:09:15

And I'm so there, someone asked me once, what is the primary force against moving forward on the environmental agenda in the United States of America? And my answer is the four year election cycle. We don't have any one in our government who's planning for 40 years. They're all planning for four years. And so in the state of California, again, looking at my state, I'm in SoCal right now. We're going to make it illegal to buy anything than an electric car. But is there any public transportation in the state? And the answer's no. A 40 Year Plan is public transportation. A four year plan is making gasoline driven cars illegal. makes me crazy. Okay, so we drive hybrids. We're very recommitted to recycling we reuse everything we possibly can. I plant natives and only natives in my yard for multiple reasons. One, they require less support. So I'm not using up water I'm not having to use pesticides and chemical fertilizers. But on top of that they draw and support native wildlife. They rejuvenate the soil, my little corner of Eden is made up of California plants. I have chickens, but I know that everybody can't have chickens that was as much of for each project with my daughter as it was an investment in the environment. I have a clothesline, their buckets and all of my showers. No one leaves the water running while they're brushing their teeth.

Keith Simon  1:10:40

You have a clothesline? You don't use a dryer? No.

Sandra Richter  1:10:43

I mean, I have a dryer. And sometimes the dryer is necessary. Normal

Keith Simon  1:10:47

you normally don't even in the bucket to the shower. I don't know what that means. Well, I'm

Sandra Richter  1:10:52

in SoCal. So my issue is water. Right? Your issue might be different. So the buckets in our showers collect all the extra water from showering. And I water plants with the buckets from the shower. Oh, yeah,

Keith Simon  1:11:07

I just want to say that between that, and not using a dryer and your daughter, washing out the plastic bag, you have met my standard and far exceeded it as practicing what you preach. And I mean, at the best possible way, because there's so many of us, I'm including myself, who have these ideas, but we don't actually live consistently with them. I'm not saying you're perfect and all this because of course, you'd be the first to say you're not, but you really are trying to live this out. And you're giving us some guidelines of what we could do and our local area, we have to be aware of our local context, to kind of start living out these convictions. Maybe not because you're not going to save the world. But because we're Christians, we follow Jesus. And these is what God's given us as we've been laying out here in the scriptures, and people can read more in the book, steward of Eden and you know, read the resources that you have listed at the back, like you said, this is what I wanted just a Bible study. And you're the best person that I know to do it. I really appreciate your time. Would you just close by praying for us that we would maybe have insight into the Bible, what God's called us to do? Or we would have wisdom as we make these decisions, whatever you think is best? Could you just close by praying for us?

Sandra Richter  1:12:14

Absolutely. Absolutely. Father, I want to thank you for the generous time that Keith has given me in discussing this topic that is so close to my heart. And Lord, I want to thank you that every person listening to this podcast has been made in the image of God, and that you have elevated us to the place where we are actually the stewards of your possessions. And you've trusted us with this. And you have loved us enough to give us things that bring us such profound joy. Lord, I pray for each of us as we attempt to submit to your sovereignty in these areas of our lives. We help us by giving us the information we need the support, we need the motivation we need. And Lord as we bend the knee, in this small area of our lives, would you reward us, our churches and our communities with the gifts of this great planet? Lord, we know this is a fallen world, and it is full of grief and sorrow and loss. But in our commitment to you and in our commitment to your plan for us, will help us to catch a glimpse of Eden and hear the echo of the maker song once again in our lives, private and public, and we pray these things in Jesus name. Amen.

Recent Episodes

Last Chance to Subscribe to Truth Over Tribe