NYG-New Orleans

ctcr-twac-cover21This week I attended my first ever National Youth Gathering in New Orleans. I was impressed with the dedication and enthusiasm of those who played key roles in organizing the event as well as the high energy levels of the youth and and their leaders who came. New Orleans is still recovering from Hurricane Katrina and now the Gulf Spill. While there, I saw a couple very good articles in the Times-Picuyane on “Urban Farming” and Brown Pelicans entitled “Wings and a Prayer: A graphic short story of One brown pelican’s journey.” Well-worth reading.

I gave a presentation for three days on “Together with All Creatures: Caring for God’s Living Earth.” It was a blast. I particularly appreciated the conversations after the presentations. Some of them had to do whether or not one be both a Christian and a conservationist/environmentalist? One young person hoped to major in environmental science in college but her friends had voiced concern that such a route might lead her away from Christianity and toward an extremist environmental position. She was looking for a balanced position that brings a Christian affirmation of creation and our place within it to bear upon environmental concerns. We can provide that!

Toward that end, the Commission on Theology and Church Relations (of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod) unveiled the smaller version of the booklet that it adopted earlier this spring that was written and designed for young people. I thought that it looked great. Over the course of three days, they handed out over 2000 copies to young people and adults. I believe that copies can be ordered from Concordia Publishing House in the weeks ahead. The full version (over a hundred pages) will hopefully be out in late August or early September.

4 Responses to “NYG-New Orleans”

  1. Concordia Theology » NYG-New Orleans Says:

    Visit Concordia Theology » NYG-New Orleans

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  2. Susan Hass Says:

    Visit Susan Hass

    I have recently become aware of your blog, at the suggestion of my son-in-law, who is an LCMS pastor. I applaud you for your insight and determination to present a balanced approach to environmentalism within the church setting.

    My concern, after reading the above comment about the young woman who wanted to become an environmental scientist is this… Has our synod so indoctrinated our youth that they feel they must have “permission” from the church to study something that (in the church’s view) may be controversial?
    This frightens me, as it seems to insinuate that young people don’t have the capacity to think for themselves and need to be “molded” into the correct line of thought. I had hope this kind of thinking ended long ago.

  3. Ryan O Says:

    Visit Ryan O

    I wasn’t at the youth gathering but did see that you were speaking. I encouraged my youth to attend and I hope they did. I’m glad you spoke on this topic to the youth. Your approach to creation is the most Christ-centric I have seen and the youth need to know that we do not dismiss creation.

    Susan–I’d like to add my perspective to your comment. From my experience as a LCMS Pastor, it is not the Synod that is forcing this issue but really the parents. Most (I haven’t done the research so this is conjecture) in the LCMS tend towards being conservative (politically) and buy into hook line and sinker the often conservative perspective of environment. Sadly they equate this perspective as being on par with Scripture. I believe that is really what this girl was experiencing. To be ‘environmental’ means to ‘not be Christian’. I’m pleased that she went and heard Dr. Arand speak. He probably answered many of her questions and her friends doubts.

  4. arandc Says:

    Visit arandc

    Hi Susan!

    Thanks for the note. I appreciate our concern. No, I don’t think (at least I hope not) our church has indoctrinated our youth as you described. We need to have confidence in our biblical position. There are legitimate concerns that should have about extremists in the environmental movement (those who might place animal rights above humans, who move toward some forms of nature worship, etc). But we also must be careful that when we react we don’t simply say the opposite. The opposite of one error can itself be an error. I would like to acknowledge legitimate concerns and questions raised by the environmental movement (and we can learn much from them) and address them from the standpoint of the Christian story, or as you put it, a balanced stance. This would acknowledge all of creation as belonging to God (human and nonhuman). It would acknowledge that as humans we share a common creatureliness with our fellow creatures and at the same time we are distinctive in that God made us in his image and gave us responsibility for the care of his creation. Overall, I am much encouraged by our young people and there commitment to Christ as well as concern for God’s creation.

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