In light of the oil spill and the resultant devastation, we at Sojourners felt led to examine ourselves, our lifestyles and our habits. I helped to write the following pledge, originally posted on God’s Politics:
We are witnessing a massive despoiling of God’s creation that will impact ecosystems for generations. Our response must think that far ahead as well — to our children and our children’s children. Fortunately, if we lead by example, others, including future generations, will follow.
As people of faith, we know that true transformation requires sacrifice. To change our energy consumption as a nation, we’ll need more than symbolic gestures — we’ll need to learn to embody the scriptural practice of stewardship.
As part of Sojourners’ ongoing efforts to learn and discern lessons from the Gulf Coast Oil Spill, we’ve created “A Pledge to the Next Generation”. The pledge outlines some of our Christian beliefs found in scripture with a corresponding commitment statement. It reads in a similar fashion to a responsive reading. You can join us in the pledge by signing a short version on our website. Then, share with us what you would add to the pledge and what you have decided to do in your life as a result of the oil spill.
A Pledge to the Next Generation
As a person of faith called to be a steward of God’s creation, I take responsibility for the ways in which my lifestyle and my choices are partly responsible for the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. I acknowledge that a new future will require conversion — a fundamental change in the ways we live in our communities, our nation, and our world.
Therefore, as a person of faith I believe and I pledge:
I believe we are called to be good stewards of the resources and gifts that God has given us in creation, and to share in God’s appreciation for the world which God called “good” (Genesis 1: 28-31).
- I pledge to transform my life, through sacrifice, worship, action, and prayer, into one of stewardship of God’s creation.
I believe that children are a gift from God and that the kingdom of God belongs to such as these (Mark 10:13-16). I recognize that those who come after us are left with what we pass on to them.
- I pledge to model, with my words, my attitudes, and my actions, a lifestyle that demonstrates a commitment to God’s creation and to the next generation.
I believe we are created for relationship, community, and shalom — not only with people (Mark 12:28-31) but with the world around us (Genesis 1:26-31).
- I pledge to love my neighbor through the ways in which I treat the creation which we share, and to love God through the ways in which I treat God’s handiwork.
I believe the poor are often the most vulnerable to the consequences of our energy consumption through unsafe working conditions, polluted neighborhoods, and exploitation, and that “those who oppress the poor insult their Maker” (Proverbs 14:31).
- I pledge to be generous with my resources toward those in need, aware of and responsible for my energy consumption, and committed to protect vulnerable communities from environmental exploitation.
I believe that God is a God of justice (Deuteronomy 10:17-19) and that we are called to reflect and represent this same God in doing justice ourselves (Micah 6:8).
- I pledge to ensure the safety of all God’s children from the environmental excesses of the few and to advocate for policies and practices that forge a more sustainable and creation-aware path into the future.
I believe that knowing God should lead to just and righteous actions (Is. 1:16-17; Jer. 22:15-16). I believe that since, in a democratic society, government is accountable to its citizens, and government is intended to be God’s servant for good (Rom.12- 13, Col. 2), I have a role in advocating with my government accordingly.
- I pledge to share this commitment with my family, friends, and elected officials so that together we might seek both personal transformation and legislative outcomes that help us steward God’s creation for generations to come.
The lessons we have learned from this catastrophe impact all aspects of our society. Any hope for a different future will only come when individuals, churches, elected officials, and corporate executives join hands and vow to change. Today, I make this pledge.