“Travel light, eat right, live well,” Speaker Tells Creation Care Conference
Participants at September 29-30 event at CMU
hear ways to help save the earth
By Dorothea Toews
When it comes to doing something to save the earth, people should “pick one
thing and do it.”
That’s the advice keynote speaker Steven Bouma-Prediger gave to the over 100
people who attended “The Good Life on God’s Good Earth,” a September 29-30
creation care conference at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU).
Bouma-Prediger, author of the book For the Beauty of the Earth: A
Christian Vision for Creation Care, told attendees not to allow the
magnitude of the problems facing the earth to become overwhelming, and not to
try to do everything—otherwise, he said, they would become “paralyzed.”
He went on to suggest that a good way to approach caring for creation is to
“travel light, eat right, live well.”
Also speaking at the two-day conference, which was sponsored by CMU,
Providence College, the C.P. Loewen Foundation and A Rocha, a Christian
environmental organization, was Peter Harris, director of A Rocha International.
In the past, he said, the church failed to invest resources in creation care
because it had based its mission work on the wrong question. “The church has
been asking, ‘What do people need most?’ rather than the proper question, ‘What
is most important to God?’” he said.
For Harris, the fact that God cares about creation should be enough to make
creation care a Christian priority. But, he stated, what matters for Christians
is not succeeding in saving the earth, but rather “living the way God wants us
to and caring about the things he cares about.”
He went on to say that the major flaw in the environmental movement today is
failing to recognize that “the roots of the environmental crisis lie in the
human heart,” and that people can only heal their relationship to the earth when
they heal their relationship with God.
Other speakers included Gus Konkel, President of Providence College and
Seminary, and Gordon Zerbe, Academic Dean at CMU. Konkel reminded attendees to
avoid the temptation to “to reduce the created order to a set of rules that we
can manage.” Zerbe talked about the book of Revelation as “a tale of two cities,
with different social, spiritual, and ecological economies.” He urged conference
participants to see the apocalyptic text as an invitation to “a comprehensive
disengagement with the evil ways of the world.”
In addition to the presentations, conference-goers participated in workshops
on topics such as species at risk, environmental refugees and the global food
For Gordon Matties, an Associate Professor of History and Theology at CMU,
and one of the conference organizers, the event was significant because how it
brought together various schools and organizations, and because “we were able to
share with the wider Christian community the biblically-based good news that we
are partners with God in caring for creation.”
The next Creation Care conference will be held in 2008 at Providence College
in Otterburne, Man.
Dorothea Toews is a student at CMU.
Posted October 5, 2006
For more information contact John Longhurst, CMU Communications Director, 500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, Manitoba R3P 2N2, telephone: 204-487-3300 ext. 630, fax: 204-889-1694, firstname.lastname@example.org (www.cmu.ca)