Each of us has a hectic lifestyle and there doesn’t seem to be room for anything else. We live our lives as a see-saw, trying to balance work, family, values, and faith. Most of us (including my evangelical community) only act when our everyday life balance and values are impacted in such a way as to upset that tipping point; we are only willing to listen, learn, and act when an issue touches the center of our being—who we are and whom we care about. When issues like creation care and its biggest elephant in the room—climate change—arise, it’s very easy for us to dismiss them or deny them because it just puts one more additional stress into our everyday lives.
But what if creation care wasn’t simply one more item to add to the basket, but the basket itself? What if everything and everyone you care about—your family, your friends, your work, your hobbies—depended on a healthy environment to thrive? What if creation care was more than simply pro-trees, pro-polar bears, or pro recycling? What if creation care was pro-family, pro-children, pro-flourishing? What if creation care was pro-life?
Pro-life means caring for all of life. As Focus on The Family put it, pro-life is not a political statement, it’s a way of life. In a recent National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) statement on end-of-life, the NAE states we are pro-life from womb to the tomb. That sentiment expresses the conviction of millions of evangelical Christians across the country. We are concerned about life from conception until natural death. The unborn child is very important to us, and so is each child of God at every stage of life.
According to the Center for Disease Control, one in three children suffer asthma, severe allergies, ADHD, or autism in the United States. More and more, research is linking these conditions to our use of petrochemicals and fossil fuels—the same drivers of our changing climate.
These four medical conditions have reached almost epidemic levels in our country, and they diminish the quality of life for so many children. The additional threats of increased ozone-induced asthma attacks (caused by warming temperatures), vector-borne illness such as Lyme disease, and physical/psychological harm from severe weather simply multiply the risk. We believe Jesus’ words in John 10:10 , “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full,” or as other translations phrase it, “abundant life,” or “of life abundantly.” This Scripture commands our concern for the quality of life for our children. All of us pray for our kids to have an “abundant life.” We have dreams of good health, following the career God is calling them to, and finding the wonderful fruit of life given by the Holy Spirit. That’s pro-life being more than a political statement. It’s a pro-life theology assuring abundant life for all at each stage in the journey.
As pro-life evangelicals, we want all God’s children to be born and live healthily, unhindered by the ravages of pollution and climate change even before they take their first breath. We also know that very few systemic changes have ever occurred without a personally perceived threat to one’s values or way of life. That’s why engaging evangelicals on creation care and climate change is not about polar bears—it’s about our kids. It’s not about big government and liberal agendas—it’s about being a disciple of Jesus Christ. It’s not about killing jobs—it’s about making everything we do stormproof, resilient, and sustainable. Above all else, it’s helping our community discern misleading messages and act upon our most important value: life.