Crunchy

Sustainable Sunday #2: Being a Crunchy Christian

So what does crunchy mean? A Crunchy Christian?

If you read the “About Me” page of this blog, you’ll quickly see that sustainability is a passion of mine. God created this beautiful Earth we live on, and I believe it’s important to care for it as best we can. So, each Sunday, I will be writing about ways we can live more sustainable lives. A lot of it will probably have to do with gardening and simple living, as that is my passion and pretty much what my world revolves around with my current work.

I discussed a while back about calling myself a “Crunchy Christian”, but I thought it would be good to explain what exactly that means. Urban Dictionary, my go to for when I don’t understand internet slang (yes, it happens to young people as well…we just google instead of ask someone), defines crunchy as “used to describe persons who have adjusted or altered their lifestyle for environmental reasons” or “Green/environmentally friendly”. While a lot of people who call themselves crunchy are semi-hippies or “kind of out there”, I simply embrace a more sustainable, less-materialistic life.

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”-Genesis 1:1 (NIV)

As a Christian, I believe God created this wonderful world we live in. Considering the Earth is one of His creations, I also believe it is our duty to care for the planet as best we can. This is commonly referred to as “creation care” or stewardship. Some Christians are radically against this, which I just don’t understand. Apart from caring for God’s creation, living a sustainable or crunchy life encompasses many of the characteristics the Bible indicates Christians should have. How so?

Living a crunchy life means you are less materialistic by nature. Crunchy people question the brain-washing we all go through by mass media and try to resist the temptations of a consumer culture. Now, aren’t Christians supposed to deny our flesh and resist the temptations of the world? Shouldn’t we set ourselves apart from worldly things? Crunchy people do that because they understand the differences between want and need better than the average person.

“Love not the world, neither the things in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”-1 John 2:15 (KJV)

As a crunchy Christian, I consider the effects of my consumer actions. When I purchase things, I try to buy “green”, organic, or local. Now, as a Peace Corps Volunteer, I make less than $4,000US/year, so my purchasing power is considerably limited. But I prefer to buy produce from the school’s garden or bush taxi rank sellers, rather than the supermarkets. I can’t afford to buy many processed foods on my budget, so I buy the raw ingredients and make stuff from scratch. When I return to the USA, purchasing more sustainable products will be a priority for me. After all, if you don’t spend money on the trappings of this world, you have more money to spend on sustainable items.

When I lived in the US, one of my favorite things to do with my Mom was to visit a second hand shop in Iowa City, Stuff, Etc. The Stuff Store, as we called it, was an awesome consignment shop. Throughout college, the majority of my clothes were second hand. But they were high quality and in good condition, and I was giving a second life for garments that could have been thrown away unnecessarily. I think second hand shops are amazing because the divert things from the landfill and save an extraordinary amount of money.

I fully embrace reusable materials rather than disposable. I almost always remember to pack reusable bags when I go shopping. The past few years I have lived in places that charge you for plastic sacks (South Africa and Washington, DC) which I think is a great idea. If I do get a plastic bag, I always reuse them for various things. I have my Nalgene, or reuse old plastic bottles rather than waste money of bottled water. Of course, with the purity of water here, sometimes I am forced to buy bottled water while traveling, but I try not to. I don’t use paper towels or anything disposable in the kitchen. If I do end up with something that was meant to be disposable, I still tend to reuse it….it’s the low-waste culture here brought on by poverty. I’ll be sharing some of my recycling tips over the next few weeks (magazine paper bowls? Eggshell planters? Bottle irrigation?) because I’ve learned a lot of pretty cool ways to reuse things.

I’ll continue to share the ways in which I live a Crunchy Christian life over the coming weeks. No, I’m not a vegetarian and I prefer to wear shoes outside, but there are many ways I choose to live a more sustainable life. For me, it allows me to honor and respect the Creator of our universe and deepens my faith in Him. The reality is that how we choose to live our lives in the developed countries dramatically affects the lives of people in the developing world. Wanton waste and abuse of the Earth’s resources lays the burdens on the shoulders of the world’s poorest, those who work themselves to the bone to produce a $2 t-shirt or pick a perfect bundle of tomatoes that are flown hundreds of miles to your dinner table. Christians need to reconsider how our choices affect the most vulnerable in our world. I say “we” because I also need frequent reminders of the effects of my actions.

“He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”-Proverbs 14:31 (NIV)

What are your thoughts on Creation Care and Stewardship? Should Christians be concerned about the state of the environment? And if you’re a Crunchy Christian, please leave a link to your blog below!
-Jen

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