My relationship with Kale

18 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.
Romans 8 (NRSV)

It’s Earth day and I’m sitting here chomping on a stalk of kale.[1]  It just got me thinkin’ that maybe I should write a quick blog about faith and creation. See, this kale is chalk-full of nutrients that my body needs—that’s why I’m gnawing on it. It is serving me right now. By a similar token a team of farmers raised this kale, serving it with water and proper soil.  It’s a bit of a cycle.  We rely on creation for a gigantic number of things and creation can benefit greatly from our care for it. This is what pops out to me about Genesis 1 and the rest of the Old Testament, creation and humanity were always intended to live in a mutually beneficial relationship.  Never more so than here in Romans. [2]  Paul writes that creation is desperately waiting for the sons and daughters of God to take action in the world.[3] Have you ever forgotten to water your garden for a few days and then notice how droopy your poor dry plants are?  It’s sort of like their groaning for your attention.[4]

Even my wife thinks I'm weird when I chew on this stuff.

I know some Christians who think that Earth Day is some leftist neo-pagan conspiracy.  I have no idea; I imagine there are some interesting characters out there celebrating Earth Day in ways we wouldn’t appreciate.  But that seems rather beside the point.  I also know Christians who I love and respect who think that creation is a dispensable inconvenience.  God’s going to burn it all up anyway, they say.  And, Jesus is coming back soon let’s not waste our time on such a frivolity.[5]  

It is true that 2 Peter 3:7-10 says that the Earth will burn, but God creatively designed the earth to renew when it burns.  But, for the sake of argument, let’s say that this apocalyptic fire will indeed destroy the current Earth.  Does that in anyway negate the calling of stewardship in the meantime?  What if Jesus doesn’t come back for a hundred years and we’ve created a toxic atmosphere for the three generations between now and then?  Not to mention the many, mostly not in the U.S., who are suffering intense consequences because of horrible environmental practices in their homelands.  Do you suppose God’s going to say in the end, no worries about all those kids you made sick with the water you polluted, I came back pretty soon so they didn’t suffer long.  Or, I don’t even care about that species I designed before time, declared good, and watched out for, I was just going to burn ‘em up anyhow.[6]

Naw, no matter how you look at it, we play a significant role in the midst of a creation God designed and loves.  So, go gnaw on kale!  Plant a tree!  Love God’s earth!  

[1] Don’t judge me!
[2] It is instructive that this passage comes in the midst of Paul arguing that the Spirit is at work redeeming and restoring in our world.  So that it is the Spirit of God who intends to use us to restore creation and that bringing creation to fullness is part of God’s work through his Spirit in our age.
[3] I admit that it is a bit of a leap from “revealing,” to “take action.”  I’m certainly open to other interpretations.
[4] I imagine that what Paul’s talking about is on a much grander scale than us watering our tomatoes.
[5] Another common argument I hear is that we are strangers in this land.  I would contend that that concept has to do with culture and not so much dirt.  We are, indeed, to be citizens of Christ’s heaven, not to be shaped by the values and intrigues of governments and pop culture.  I don’t think that has much at all to do with clean air, water, deforestation, or species survival.
[6] Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?


  1. When God puts someone in charge of something, never in the history of the Bible has that meant, do whatever you darn well please. It is always couched in divinely imparted responsibility. Sip away!


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