However, while passing through Utah, I was listening to Chris Fabry Live, and he had a segment on the oil spill as well. He referred to an editorial in Christianity Today titled "Judgement in the Gulf: Woes and Blessings of the Oil Spill" by Mark Galli. Before continuing on, go read the essay and maybe listen to the show.
Now, I'm not going to say that this is a perfect piece of environmental literature. There are a lot of things that I don't agree with (e.g. the part about how only the Lord can destroy the Earth, the part about how He will destroy the Earth, and the fact that Galli and Fabry continually use the word "Dominion" to express our relationship with nature). However, I do find some encouraging things in the statement and in the show. There is a recognition in the essay that our way of life is harmful to the Earth, and that we need to change. This is a far cry from the Bush era doctrine that the world will be destroyed soon and all of God's children will be raptured, so we should get as much as we can from it while we're here. It was also clear in the radio show, though not so apparent in the essay itself, that the idea is not that God caused the oil spill to punish us for our sins (i.e. gay marriage, abortion, etc. - the usual conservative Christian fare), but that our way of life is harmful to the planet and we are feeling the consequences of that way of life in the oil spill.
I also found this section interesting:
Woe to you, O environmentalists, who lose sleep over shrimp that will vanish and do not remember the eleven created in my image who died in the explosion, who wax eloquent about the suffering salamander and are blind to the plight of those who suffer most when my earth suffers.Of course environmentalists do care a great deal about the people who have been killed or otherwise harmed by the spill, and it is precisely this concern for human lives that drives us to protect the environment. But this is, like it or not, how we are viewed by a large portion of the population. Clearly, we could do a better job of showing that environmental problems are human problems.
All in all I think what this essay and the program represent is not the kind of environmentalism I practice or endorse. But it reveals the potential for an environmentalism that conservative Christians might be able to relate to. There were a lot of positive calls on the radio program, and that is encouraging. Perhaps this oil spill has a silver sheen after all.
Addendum 6/13/2010: I'm listening now to Speaking of Faith on NPR. Krista Tippett is speaking with Ellen Davis on her new project of examining the bible from an agrarian/environmentalist perspective. It's not in the same vein as the article mentioned above, but another view of Christianity and environmentalism.