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July 20, 2008 / compassioninpolitics

Compassionate Christianity: Finding a Place for Honoring Creation

I read most of The Left Hand of God last July in about three days and found these three quotes inspiring…

On compassionate living:

The earth is not the backdrop of our lives, but is part and parcel with them…The earth is not something we use but something we share our lives with–something we nurture, have fun with, are stunned by, respond to, empathize with, find nourishment from, and in turn, nourish.

~ Paul Wapner in Tikkun from September-October 2003

On a creation ethic:

The earth is our common wealth, on loan from God. Instead of trying to find new ways to patent it and make a profit from it, we need to put our energies into preserving it as the shared inheritance of humanity, our commons.

~ Michael Lerner, PhD in Philosophy from Berkeley

On green labeling to avoid toxins:

Imagine if all the religious and spiritual communities of the world, working in close cooperation with environmentalists, experts on toxins, and labor-movement organizers, were to develop criteria for a wide array of products so that we could certify that particular goods had been developed, grown, picked, or manufactured in ways that were respectful of the environment and of the needs of the working people involved. Governments could participate in this process by creating a labeling system and providing funding to regulate these products.

~ Michael Lerner, PhD in Philosophy from Berkeley

Lerner writes with such an inspired vision of how our personal, professional, and civic lives could be improved if we developed a more compassionate outlook toward our fellow human beings and the earth.

I like Lerner’s notion of green labeling in the third quote, but don’t entirely agree that that religious folks necessarily need to be involved in implementing it (aka policy implementation and execution). Although, I think from a grassroots perspective, he may be right on.


Leave a Comment
  1. Skip / Jul 21 2008 7:07 am

    I couldn’t gather much from the quotes presented that related to “compassionate christianity.” It seems that if we are going to “find a place to honor creation” we need to start with honoring the character of the Creator. Or better known as Our (underline that) Father. Yes he did give creation as our place for bodily presence and expression. It certainly is more than just another commodity for us to consume by our perceived needs or pleasures. All of creation, both sentient, and insentient, came into being as thoughts or ideas, from the heart of, if you will, our Father. If we desire to praise, honor, worship or whatever term we choose to describe our response to Him, we must take into account the way things are meant to be, His idea of them. This includes how we relate to animate and inanimate creatures. Certainly this is done primarily in relationship to others like us created “in His image”, but what does it say about our worship when we don’t love other creatures He loves enough to put on this earth? Let alone when we abuse or worse yet torture them, whether it be for the apparent need for them as food sources or for so called “higher motives” of scientific experimentation. Even inanimate creation comes from the heart of our Father, so should we act like children who’ve been given a gift and who tear it apart for our amusement. I can’t imagine any father’s heart being blessed by that kind of response to a gift given to his child. We have been given oversight of all of creation, from each other, to the animals, to the flowers, trees, rivers, and whatever else has come from our Father’s heart. Let’s be thankful He is compassionate, merciful and forgiving to us in our failings, and let’s turn from everything in thought or act that doesn’t shout thanks to Him for His gifts to us. Skip.

  2. compassioninpolitics / Jul 21 2008 7:14 pm

    well put Skip…


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