Introduction by Derrick Peterson
When Lynn White penned his famous essay on The Roots of our Ecological Crisis, he blamed Christianity. "Especially in its Western form," says White, "Christianity is the most anthropocentric religion we have ever seen." Certainly there are aspects of truth to his diagnoses--many in the church even today maintain the curious position that since God is going to "burn everything down" anyway, we shouldn't bother with ecology, just saving souls. Of course by the same logic one should shut down hospitals, counseling clinics, water purification for drinking, even our gyms wouldn't be safe. We are all going to die anyway--why bother?
Be that as it may--and putting aside for the moment what may generously be called White's ham-fisted handling of Western church history--he was right to point out the importance of ecology in Eastern Christianity. Well, this is perhaps putting it too generously. White actually represents the East as too busy contemplating God to ravage the world. As such, it seems even at its best for White, theological clarity is not for the world, so much as not against it.
But by such description, White not only mangles history, but avoids the true theological richness contained in scripture and tradition in regards to care for God's creation. As such, it is with great pleasure to place here for your convenience, a presentation given at New Wine, New Wineskins by Father George Gray on Creation Care in Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Father Gray is a Professor at the University of Portland, and has received degrees from St. Vladimir's Seminary in New York, and Mt. Angel Abbey in Oregon.
In short matter matters because Christ became flesh. But don't take our word for it, without further ado here is Father Gray's presentation: