Speakers Address Economy and EcologyAccording to Preston Manning, Christians could serve as peacemakers between those with competing visions on energy and the environment.
The current economic downturn could have the benefit of forcing us to consume less and reflect on our style of living, according to Preston Manning, head of the Manning Centre for Building Democracy.
Manning was one of three speakers on “Energy, Environment and Faith”…
At a recent forum in Calgary he asked the Christian audience whether we “only [cut back] when we’re forced by economic circumstance or is it something we should be building into our lifestyle?”
Manning was one of three speakers on “Energy, Environment and Faith” at an event at Rocky Mountain College. Also on hand were speakers from the two Vancouver organizations that sponsored the event, economist and theologian Paul Williams of Regent College and ecologist Markku Kostamo of A Rocha, a Christian conservation organization.
In his presentation Manning said Christians could serve as peacemakers between those with competing visions on energy and the environment. “The mediator in the Christian view doesn’t remain aloof but is intimately identified with both sides: that is what incarnation is about.”
He also encouraged Christians to be involved in the media, the marketplace, politics and regulatory boards to effect change related to energy and the environment.
Williams, who heads the Regent College Marketplace Institute, argued that North Americans with high consumption habits are squandering God’s gift of non-renewable energy supplies.
“Despite all of the talk about energy conservation,” he said, “the only thing that has reduced the rate of oil consumption has been very sharp increases in price.” Both consumers and producers need to stop relying on the State to act as their conscience before changing behaviour, he said. Christians in particular should set a collective example by “enjoying enough instead of pursuing constantly more things.”
Kostamo added that Christians should be driven by gratitude rather than guilt in their approach to the environment. “To live lightly and to steward creation well is just a normal part of our Christian discipleship. It’s not just some sort of fringe activity or fad,” he said.
He also expressed hope that Christians today would be in the forefront of protecting the environment, just as they took the lead in overturning the slave trade 200 years ago.
Originally published in Faith Today, January/February 2009.
Used with permission. Copyright © 2009 Christianity.ca.