With a new year comes a new version of the Bible. Well not exactly new, but fairly recent. This past summer, Harper Bibles published an eco-friendly version of the Bible known as The Green Bible . In addition to being printed on recycled paper using soy-based ink, The Green Bible highlights all the passages that encourage people to care for the Earth in, of course, green ink. While the verses themselves are not new (the text comes from the New Standard Revised Bible), the focus on the Earth is. And this version also includes an introduction from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, as well as essays by prominent theologians and information on how to get involved.
This newest Bible has been met with mixed reactions from Christian leaders. James Taylor, a founding elder of Living Water Christian Fellowship in Florida and, incidentally, a policy fellow at the Heartland Institute, has expressed concerns that “These groups don’t have a religious focus; they have a desire to spread their environmental message.”
However, other Christian leaders see this as a welcome contribution to a growing movement called Creation Care, which essentially urges all Christians to respect the Earth that God created. In 2005, the Church of England published Sharing God’s Planet, a brief volume that summarizes the current state of the environment and climate. In addition to offering prayers and reflection, the book encourages churches to perform environmental audits, and their members to work reduce their carbon footprints.
What these publications show is an increasing awareness of climate and environmental issues in the Christian community, even as some scientists dismiss religion as anti-science. This is the latest in a wave of actions from religious leaders of all faiths to acknowledge climate change. Let’s hope that (informed) discussions of climate change continue to occur in increasingly unconventional and unexpected realms.