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« Pentecostals and Ecology Part 3 | Main | Random Interlude »

May 16, 2006


Frank Emanuel

How well is Pentecostal Pneumatology really developed? It might be as simple as that. I have a copy of Holdcroft - but really a great work on the Role and Mission of the Spirit, especially in light of a community that longs to take its lead from the Spirit, is really in demand. Something that is both accessible for the pulpit preacher and challenging for the theological student.

It seems to me that any approach needs to have a lot of grassroots type considerations and applications to be effective in the Pentecostal world. It also has to be recognizably distinct as Pentecostal to ensure wider acceptance in the Pentecostal community. Maybe take the Pneumatology and lead into Spirit conferences that reinforce the basics (from a Pentecostal paradigm) and explode into new territories such as ecclesiology, ecology, etc.

Craig Bennett

Great subject Shane.

I think there are a few things the college can do to start working on ecology. One is the collection of rainwater from the buildings to be used for the pool, gardens etc.

I think also that a college vegie garden would be a great idea, there certainly is enough land for one. While I think it would be to idealistic to think enough vegies could be grown for the college needs, certainly enough could be done to supplement the canteen needs, on a cheap basis. Such as growing pumpkins, salad greens, potatoes etc.

Even to the stage of running chooks for eggs and dare I say it meat - though perhaps that is not practical - or for some ethical or moral? Though a sheep could certainly be used to keep the grass down.

With the garden a compost area could also be set up for composting down waste products, utilising worms to break it down.

Which leads into the college getting into recycling its various wastes, by having various bins for different items - one for composting, another for recyclables, another for waste.

The other area is utilising solar power more, though the intial cost is large, it can soon pay itself off. There are two ways the college can set this up, one to be completely self supporting and drawing on power from the main lines when it needs - or to have its system hooked into the main system, where the electricity company pays you for any surplus power you don't use.

There are many variables that can be worked on here - such as solor hot water and electricity - to domes in the roof that allow natural light into the buildings.

Another thing the college could do is have a list of people who are willing to car pool. While for some that is not viable, for many I'm sure it is a real option, and if there could be a cross list of areas people live it may work. Especially in light of the increasing fuel prices.

This is a great topic and one I think we should get our thinking caps on to truly brainstorm.

Joohee Lee

Some great practical suggestions listed here! Even starting out with eco-friendly supplies and suppliers e.g. toilet paper, photocopy paper and getting recycling bins even in our faculty/student areas could be some areas of improvement too!

Cameron Thompson

It has been great to follow this paper and the discussion it has generated. The idea of our responsibility as Christians for the planet has bothered my for some time, especially with 'green' thinking often being associated with all things leftish, liberal, and ungodly. I hope we can turn it around and lead our society rather than lag behind in thinkning about these things as a community!
How appropriate that in the previous post you discussed pragmatics with Josh, and now have called for suggestions.
My suggestion follows along the line of thought of John Elkington who coined the term 'triple bottom line'. Basically, organisations no longer evaluate themselves according to financial success alone, but consider their social and environmental impact as well. It is part of the movement towards corporate social responsibility, that I am sure some of the SCC faculty members are aware of. This college, of course, is not financially motivated, and I imagine it has other standards to measure success, such as spiritual, academic, graduates etc. As an organisation it has a higher calling than most, perhaps instead the bottom line will be quintruple, sextuple, septuple? Who knows. Of course we need to focus on the purpose and mission of the college, and use them as appropriate standards. However, globally, inside and out of the church, there needs to be more of a commitment to and awareness of sustainability issues.
SCC stands in a great position to model a practical ecotheology that will impact pentecostal churches in the future. Lets lead our society, after all, we are called to be "the head and not the tail" aren't we?

Deborah Taggart

hmm...I can't really think of anything to add right now, but I just have to say I love and endorse the comments so far!

Especially Craig's idea of a carpooling student deans Jacqui and I are excited to see more opportunities for students to build community and friendships during travel time as well as on campus. Plus we're being 'ecotheological'!! It just goes to show that in the midst of the complexities of increasing our environmental friendliness, with a bit of creativity we can come up with many solutions that have multiple benefits and are simple to implement. Good stuff!!


I have really enjoyed reading the above posts, and I find it quite exciting to start thinking through some of the creative ways in which we can act out our beliefs.
I guess what I would like to add here is the old saying, 'Catch a person a fish and they'll eat for a day. Teach a person to fish and they'll eat for life.'
I think that this practical modelling can be brought in to an overall program (consisting of both theory and practice) that educates Christians about why we should do these things.
I feel both excitement and some trepidation when I think about the responsibility that organisations like Southern Cross have in teaching the future leaders of the pentecostal church. There's no escaping the fact that such organisations can have an enormous impact on the way that students think (and this can be both positive and negative).
What an opportunity it is for people like yourself, Shane, to assist these students in coming to these conclusions (or at least allowing them to grapple with the issues even if they conclude otherwise).
I brought up the pragmatic outlook of the larger pentecostal community in the last topic because I think that part of this responsibility is in the equipping of these future leaders to be able to critically reflect on all we do, to assess if our actions are in line with our worldview. If this worldview contains an environmental conscience, then what we are discussing is brought into the mix.
These leaders are then able to teach and model these beliefs at the level of the local church.
Like you have stated Shane, Pentecostals are not stupid, nor are they ignorant. And it is my hope that graduates from institutions such as Southern Cross are well equipped to not only ponder on these issues, but to bring about change where change is needed, and to implement the practical application of all we believe.

Marcus Henningsson

Hi Shane,

The important thing is that we start to recycle those things that are easy to recycle and those things that are extremely harmful to the enviroment if they are not taken car of correctly.
We need a recycle station with seperate bins. These bins should be for:
Paper, transparent glas, coloured glas, batteries, hard plastic (e.g. shampoo bottle), soft plastic (e.g. plastic bags),
tins (metalic waste). Let us start with that which is easy and then move into the more costly alternatives, e.g. solar power (Solar power is a great idea, I am all for it but I know that it costs a lot of money).
Let's go green for Jesus!

Shane Clifton

Thanks for all these ideas. I think there is more we can do - but i reckon i need to take it to an onsite forum. Let me just respond briefly to each post:

Frank - you highlight the fact that we need to link the issues of ecology to every theological topic - so that this matter permeates our church, theology and structures. all i can say is - precisely.

Craig - wow, u are a creative thinker. I reckon i might have problems with the vege garden and cattle and stuff. Not sure what my facilities person would think. But i do especially like your car-pooling suggestion

Joohee - as you indicate, there is so many little things we can do

Cam - the tripple bottom line is a great thought - especially since i constantly have our accountant tell me to watch our income and expenditure (as he should). Incorporating some other measures apart from just profit is essential - especially for a not for profit body!

Josh - if i read you correctly, you are suggesting that the key for us is to help frame student worldviews with an eco-responsible dimension. This is correct - and we do this in the class room with ideas, and outside the class room in our practice

Marcus - yep - lets set some makeable goals. I reckon i shall come to you and the SRC to see where we can go from here!

Shane Clifton

I want to wrap this up with a final observation that the above is merely a start. I reckon pentecostals, and pentecostal colleges, need to take on the prophetic mantle that is so much a part of their self-understanding, and apply this to the situation facing the environment. This will mean that we should engage in the public forum (theology must be public), taking an environmentally active stance on the basis of a pneumatological theology of creation (without reference to such inhouse language!). We should consider participating in marches, rallies, and green organisations. One pentecostal i know of has taken this to an active conclusion - see Jim Reiher

Jim Reiher

Hi Shane and all who have contributed to this blog...
The comments and reflections have been terrific to read and reflect on. To see a number of different Pentecostals concerned about the environment and offer practical strategies, is most encouraging. It reminded me a bit of the old saying: "Think globally and act locally." The old image that Pentecostals and Evangelicals are only concerned about saving souls, is gradually changing and hopefully will continue to do so (nothing wrong with saving souls, by the way, but our mandate on this planet is broader than just that).
Can I just pick up on one of the comments above: that in our efforts to be green we should move away from a green image that is "leftish, liberal and ungodly". In relation to the Greens Political Party and its policies, they are at times when it will not reflect the usual conservative Christian positon. But only on a few difficult ethical issues. On an economic and social level, being a bit left of centre is not necessarily un-Christian. Nor being a "liberal" (in the original sense of the word - not the liberal party sense!). The left end of centre has a strong sense of social justice and concern for the poor and disadvantaged. It is concerned that the rich and powerful do not care for the poor sufficiently, or even willingly. It argues that the free market capitalist system is not distributing resources anywhere near fairly. To look after widows and orphans while maintaining an environmental conscience, is to my thinking a very healthy Christian way to live. So a little left of centre can be a good thing!
Anyway, this has been a terrific discussion and as Shane said, really more of a start up for action, stepping out, and adapting a concern for the environment with our spirituality and theology.

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