The new book Green Like God: Unlocking the Divine Plan for Our Planet, by Southern Baptist leader Jonathan Merritt, is likely to ruffle more feathers and garner both more praise and more criticism than any book by any other Southern Baptist author in 2010. That’s because Merritt holds the unusual position of being Southern Baptist and environmentally friendly, or “green” to use the popular term. Southern Baptists, long suspected of being the chaplaincy arm of the Republican party, have never been mistaken for Greenpeace. Their idea of recycling tend to be making sure all the fried chicken buckets get stacked up properly so there will be room in the dumpster for the mashed potato boxes.
Personal confession: Years ago I regularly harangued my mother for recycling her aluminum foil. She would wash it, dry it, fold it and put it in the laundry room to take to the recycling center with the old newspapers. Now I clean the aluminum foil, fold it and put it in a kitchen trash can to take to the recycling center with the natural plastic, the clear/green plastic, the tin cans, the clear bottles, and the brown bottles to take to the recycling center with the old newspapers.
How times have changed.
With the current emphasis on going green that emblazons the cover of many magazines, is the emphasis of many documentaries and, because of the global warming debate, maintains central focus on television talk shows it might be easy to write off Merritt’s efforts as a mere riding of a wave or jumping into the middle of an already comfortable swimming pool. You’d be mistaken.
For the Christian, Green Like God holds an important allure: It’s based on Scripture more than science. In fact, Merritt does not argue that we should be environmentally conscience because the Sierra Club demands it, but because God does. God loves planet Earth; the Discovery Channel did not create our terrestrial home, God did. The Department of the Interior did not set humanity as stewards over the planet, God did. Al Gore was not the first to address environmental issues (whatever his motive and however accurately) God did in the earliest days of humanity and as long as He spoke to His people.
Merritt does address statistics behind the polluting of the planet and quite convincingly so. He uses wide and thorough documentation to build his case, while relegating the global warming controversy to an appendix. His approach is not to convince people to be good stewards of the earth’s resources because of statistics, but because of the commands of God about this stewardship and the concerns of God about His creation.
For conservatives who really are concerned about the environment, but were afraid of being pigeonholed as “tree huggers” or “environmental wackos,” this book is, so to speak, your salvation. Armed with the theology behind the position, one might find that trees are not what the arms are wrapped around–God is.
Green Like God can be ordered through the link below. You pay the same low Amazon price and I get a small commission.