Green Jesus

Please bookmark this module:   Facebook   Twitter

Richard Chartres – Bishop


Richard Chartres is the 132nd Bishop of London. He founded the St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace, a unique meeting space in the heart of the City of London devoted to promoting understanding of the relationship between faith and conflict. Richard is the author of the book, Tree of Knowledge, Tree of Life, and has written many articles and essays on faith and the environment.

image
 Richard Chartres – Bishop of London

How was Jesus in touch with the natural world?

Jesus Christ was brought up in a place that was dominated by the agricultural year. Many of his parables have to do with agriculture, and some of his healing miracles are very earthy – I think of him picking up some earth and spitting on it, and then putting it on the eyes of the blind man. So here we have somebody who is profoundly close to the earth. That’s not very surprising, because to be humble is to be very close to the humus – the Latin word for earth.

What do you think was green about what Jesus said and did?

He lived in the context of the Jewish scriptures, which not only have covenants between God and the chosen people, but also have a cosmic covenant. We are here, says the Book of Genesis, “to dress and to keep” the creation. We’re not to tyrannise it – we’re here as stewards. We are to balance development and preservation, and this is summed up in the covenant that was made with Noah, the covenant symbolised by the rainbow. Jesus Christ comes as the one who opens the door to the new creation and says, “Behold I make all things new”. He comes to refresh, restore and redeem not only human individuals, but also the whole creation. We see that particularly in the vision at the end of the Book of Revelation, where there is “a new heaven and a new earth”.

How concerned are you about the state of Planet Earth
(on a scale of 1-10 where 1 = not worried at all! and 10 = extremely concerned)?

I try to learn from really competent scientists. In most areas of life, I find that lay people are more alarmed than the professionals. But this is one area where I find the professionals are more alarmed than lay people. Their alarm is based on actual observations – the acidification of the seas, the destruction of the base of the food chain in the oceans, the rate of melting of the Antarctic ice sheets. While I think we can’t contemplate the kind of scenario James Lovelock holds out to us – because if we believed what he is saying, we’d be totally immobilised – I think there is nevertheless very considerable cause for alarm.

One of the mysterious things is that until recently all this evidence has signally failed to translate into real energy for change. I was at the Lambeth Conference in 1998 (the Anglican Church’s 10-yearly conference of bishops worldwide), and I was in the environment section. Only one American bishop was with us, and he very soon revealed that he did most of his pastoral visiting by private airplane. Meanwhile, in the section next door, huge numbers of Western bishops were traipsing into the section on sexuality. Our section was full of people from the Philippines, from Africa, those who really understood what the consequences for the poor were of the environmental degradation we are facing.

What practical things do you do to help the environment?

Increasingly I change the way I travel. In every respect I’m trying to change the way I conserve energy. I think restraint is not only an economic question, it’s also a question about one’s cravings, fundamentally. So I think that going slower, celebrating enough-ness, doing all those things that people are very sorry they haven’t done when they are about to die – these are very practical ways of responding to the real emergency we’re in.

If you were a plant, what plant would you be? And why?

I love trees and I don’t see enough of trees, but I wouldn’t want to be any tree. I’m not an uncritical tree-hugger. I would be flowering cherry tree. Not very useful, but standing for the truth that the meaning of life is not merely utilitarian, but there is also a major place for the celebration of beauty and sheer joy.

Back to the top
Bookmark this page: del.icio.us Favicon  Digg Favicon  Facebook Favicon  Reddit Favicon  StumbleUpon Favicon  Technorati Favicon

Search rejesus

About this module

We asked a number of Christians in different professions some questions about Jesus’ green credentials and how they follow Jesus today, in the light of environmental impact, climate change and all issues green.

We also asked them what plant they’d be, hence the images to the left.

We would still like to hear from a: Walker, Flower Arranger, Organic Restaurateur, Farmer, Vet, Architect, Travel Agent and any other relevant professionals. Contact one of the editors if you’re interested.

Categories: Lives, Interviews,

Facebook

Module contents

arrow Introduction and index

arrow Evan Cockshaw – Astrophysicist

arrow Richard Chartres – Bishop

arrow Dave Bookless – Ecologist

arrow Chris Sunderland – Theologian

Related modules

RJ is hiring

Rejesus is looking for new content contributors: artists, writers, thinkers, coders, film makers, creatives. If you have a great proposal get in contact.

Categories

arrow Art & image

arrow Articles

arrow Biographical

arrow Downloads

arrow Experiential

arrow How to

arrow Interactive

arrow Interviews

arrow Poetry

arrow Reviews

arrow Seasonal

arrow Sound & vision

If you've found something useful on this site, or use it regularly as a resource, please make a donation here to help us continue.

Latest Blog posts

Time out in the quiet lane

I never cease to be amazed at the wisdom which politicians seem to be able to draw on after they… more

Conkers and faith

Horse chestnut seeds, high vis jacket, goggles, gardening gloves - it means just one thing: the conker season is here.… more

The last thing we need is more hate

What is your first thought when a stranger comes towards you? Is it friendly or fearful, hostile or welcoming? Do… more

Seeing things differently at www.mysticchrist.co.uk

christian prayer christmas faith abolitionist auschwitz celtic text message foodball forgiveness timeline simon taylor photo quiz poverty cross sayings interaction workplace jerusalem amen happiness office slum friar golf veronica theology artist nun animation global warming war poor quotable bishop pdf mother teresa saint nature interview poet exercise course freedom astrophysicist clouds photographer plants mark
© copyright
rejesus 2002 to 2017
Powered by ExpressionEngine
Design by Embody