“Opposition to truth cannot be excused on the basis of ignorance, because from the creation of the world, the invisible qualities of God’s nature have been made visible, such as his eternal power and transcendence. He has made his wonderful attributes easily perceived, for seeing the visible makes us understand the invisible. So then, this leaves everyone without excuse.”
I love nature, not as God, but as a wonderful icon of the glory of God.
I have always thought that Christians who serve a God they believe created the world, seem to be some of the least earthy folks around. Somehow the people who were made out of the dirt of the ground and made alive by the breath of the Spirit of God, seem jittery about nature, ecology, environmentalism and the love of nature. There’s a substantive resistances at times to anything that seems flesh. An idea that only spirit matters, and it often creates a community of ideas that dislocate the individual from the very world they live in day to day.
Recently someone accused me of promoting ‘witchcraft’ by writing about the elements of earth, fire, water and wind in an article about camping in the woods that I wrote for men. An accusation that is outrageous but not surprising considering the ideas above. I purposely write in such a manner to engage or capture the attention of folks that might not be reading from a religious affiliation. I purposefully attempt to come at issues that matter to me from angles that I think might be disarming or fresh in perspective.
I think subjects that are religious in nature are often over communicated in a manner that is quickly dismissed. I have my own voice and it’s shaped and influenced by the things that matter to me and are guided by the missional call on my life.
If one is attuned to the rise of neo-paganism, wicca and other branches of religious naturalism, you know there is a need to communicate the truth of the gospel with a culture that is returning to the pre-christianization ideas and practices.
There is a very real revival of alternative worship that any cultural missionary would see as a field of meaningful engagement. I attempt to find ways to speak to the heart, mind and hands of those who resonate with an idea of spirituality that has a place for the created world and experience.
I do not think Jesus is opposed to the created world and our enjoyment and place in it. What biblical faith is in opposition to, is the worship of it, but wonder is not worship.
“Behind a facade of “wisdom” they became just fools, fools who would exchange the glory of the eternal God for an imitation image of a mortal man, or of creatures that run or fly or crawl.”
Jesus spent more time walking and teaching in nature than talking in temples and synagogues. His ministry often took place outside more than inside and his subjects of conversation were profoundly natural and common. The gospels are packed full of animals, rivers, seas, lakes, flowers, food, birds, farming, etc. He saw truth in life and connected people’s lives with the purposes and revelation of God’s will and ways.
Turning water to wine, mud into a miracle balm or asking someone to bathe in a pool for healing isn’t witchcraft, it’s reconnecting humanity with the goodness, truth and beauty of the world in which God as determined them to discover He is at work within.
Nature is one source of revelation, not the only, or highest, but it’s one sphere that may need to be revisited more and more as we move away from a literature loving culture. I will always point people to the holy and sacred gift of Scripture but sometimes I will ask them to the wilds as well as the word.
I will continue to invite friends to walk with me in the woods, to swim in mountain lakes, sit by roaring fires and stand among wind blown trees in hope that they will hear the still small voice of God.
I hope you will join me.