Faculty Offer Solutions

The topic of creation care often boils down to a question of “What should I do?” Here are four responses:

Lisa Graham McMinnLisa Graham McMinn

Former professor of sociology, author of book Walking Gently

“Climate change is irrefutable now,” McMinn said. “The scientific community is not divided on this. It will require some sacrifice, but Christians will be more ahead of the curve because sacrifice is something we are familiar with. Some things are as simple as using efficient light bulbs or using less air conditioning.”

Other steps may require more effort.

“We need to rethink our diet,” she said. “People don’t often make that connection. That pound of beef – how many acres of grain did it take to support that? Eat lower on the food chain. And we need to think about population. A new way to look at the Genesis passage “Be fruitful and multiply,” is to bring earth to its flourishing potential. That’s very different than just filling it with humans.”

Dan BrunnerDan Brunner

Professor of Christian history and formation at Portland Seminary.  GreenFaith Fellow  

“More and more Christians are being called to a new aestheticism, a new simplicity of life,” Brunner said. “The Earth is in trouble, but the people who will suffer the most will be the poor. Christians need to be on the front edge of this. Look at Jesus. Do we imagine him accumulating like we do in this country? Do we imagine his life as individualistic? He cared for the least of these, and all of those things are marching orders for the Christian community today. Evangelicals should be living life more simply. It will require more community and interdependence. We have all the reasons biblically for doing that. We have no choice but to simplify ourselves.”

Corey BealsCorwyn Beals

Professor of philosophy and religion

“There is a lot of green guilt out there, but the flipside is green goodness,” Beals said. “The better I relate to the rest of creation, the more I enjoy life. Sticking your hands in soil has been chemically proven to make you less depressed. It releases endorphins in your brain. The best argument for growing organic food is to taste a tomato that’s ripe off the vine. Actuality is the best proof of possibility. People say it’s not possible to live [with a creation care mind-set]. I just say: ‘Look at the people who are doing it. They are smiling. They’re happy, and they’re making it work.’ It totally dispels arguments of it being impossible. There’s no big solution to our big problems. It’s easy to recognize the problems, and the temptation is to look for the silver bullet. Each of us needs to work on small solutions."

Denny Lawrence

Denny Lawrence

General manager of Bon Appetit at George Fox

“I’ve started to appreciate the need for [creation care] to become a cultural change rather than doing it when it’s convenient,” Lawrence said. “Some people look at sustainability as token changes. It has got to turn into a way of life. Don’t take such a long shower, recycle, turn the lights off. Every little bit you can do helps. It takes education and time.”