Suggestions for action galore in Chapter 7 -- individual, communal and governmental! This post simply offers a platform for comment and discussion for the remainder of this year's discussion series.
Can't resist one striking quotation, though:
We could all...spend time, money, and energy, to make personal sacrifices, to repent of our ultimately unsustainable ways of life. And if we did, not only would we dramatically reduce our carbon emissions, but we would also reinvigorate local communities, reclaim public space for the public, and pry ourselves form the grip of consumer culture. Few other changes in behavior would signal so powerfully the Christian determination to live according to God's ordering of creation, rather than our present notions of unrestricted personal freedom (177-178, emphasis supplied).
"If (...Part 1) climate change is real, caused by humans, potentially catastrophic, and driven ultimately by our unsustainable levels and patterns of consumption, travel, and domestic energy use; if (Part 2) the command to love God and neighbor presents Christians with the duty to care for all creation as part of our worship of and obedience to him, as he makes 'all things new,' then what..." (147, emphasis supplied).
The CCCSL authors begin the "then what" in Chapter 6 by proposing eight principles for guiding implementation of the biblical social vision. These principles for ordering society are at the same time guideposts for "environmentally sustainable living" because, in line with their exposition of Scripture in previous chapters, the authors here keep in view the "intricate link" between social, economic, and environmental well-being.
The Sabbath, like the Jubilee, was a multilayered law, encompassing cultural, religious, social, economic, and environmental concerns. As such, it represents well the practices that sprang from the biblical vision of sustainable living, gesturing simultaneously in the direction of the environmental principles that marked the people's (intended) engagement with the rest of creation and in the direction of social and economic laws and attitudes that were intended to shape the nation and make it a light to the Gentiles (140-141).
Sabbath and Jubilee are two of the six themes or concepts that the CCCSL authors work with in Chapter 5 in discussing biblical practices for sustainable living. In some instances, such as the rest for animals prescribed in the Sabbath commandment (Exodus 20:10) and for the land in the Sabbatical year (Exod. 23:10-11), the injunctions in the "law and the prophets" point to a direct environmental impact.
When the poor and needy seek water,/ and there is none,/ and their tongue is parched with thirst,/ I the Lord will answer them,/ I the God of Israel will not forsake them./ I will open rivers on the bare heights,/ and fountains in the midst of the valleys;/ I will make the wilderness a pool of water,/ and the dry land springs of water./ I will put in the wilderness the cedar,/ the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive;/ I will set in the desert the cypress,/ the plane and the pine together,/ so that all may seek and know,/ all may consider and understand,/ that the hand of the Lord has done this,/ the Holy One of Israel has created it. (Isaiah 41:17-20, NRSV)
In Chapter 4, the authors step back from the discourse of policies, agendas, and action steps, and instead reflect on the rapturous poetry and prophecy of Isaiah 40-66. Their purpose here is not even to establish correlations between scriptural text and ethical principles, but to bring into sharper focus the biblical vision of a Creator God who, in faithfulness to that creation, promises to redeem it from the damage caused by human sin.