Saturday, February 12, 2011

Book review: Sally Dyck and Sarah Ehrman- A Hopeful Earth

A Hopeful Earth
Sally Dyck and Sarah Ehrman

In A Hopeful Earth, Sally Dyck and Sarah Ehrman attempt to convince Christians that caring for the earth is an important part of loving God and loving others.

A strength of the book is the discussion of the environmental and social impact of everyday activities. The section on over-consumption was particularly convicting. The point they make about how our environmental carelessness can particularly hurt the poor whom we should be helping is something particularly worth pondering in light of all the bible says about the poor.

The book does have some flaws in its more spiritual content. I don’t at all disagree with their main premise that we should show respect and love for God by caring for what he has made. I did however have concerns about some of the ways they stretched scripture to support that point. One example is claiming that Jesus’ refusal to give into the devil’s suggestion to turn stones into bread teaches us that we are “called to love within the laws of nature in order to find a sustainable lifestyle for ourselves”

I do not know if this what the author’s intent or theological position, but particularly in the first few chapters I tended to get the impression of environmental stewardship being the litmus test for being a faithful Christian or church. This is a problem because the bible doesn’t teach that. Discussion of everything we should do without an equally strong discussion of what Jesus has done risks making the gospel seem like it is all about doing good. While such discussion is possibly outside the scope of this book, it is something to keep in mind.

This book is worth reading if you want to know how your choices might be impacting the environment and other people who depend on it. It is probably not your best choice for a sound explanation of what the bible teaches about the environment and our responsibilities towards it.

Review copy courtesy of Netgalley and Abingdon Press