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Loving Neighbors Across Time
The Bible is God's green book, staking out the divine imperative for earth care.
Jesus told us to love our neighbors: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39). Christians have interpreted this commandment in exclusive ways to refer only to those who live next door, across town or overseas.
Christians have traditionally defined neighbor in terms of geography. That definition is too limiting, however. One way to expand the definition beyond geography is with chronology.
We would do well to see those across time as our neighbors for whom we have a moral obligation.
Most often Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) work takes places where environmental degradation is profound, causing widespread human suffering, in the very places where Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-30) work is critical.
If we really want to be faithful to both the Great Commission and the Great Commandment, we need to protect Planet Earth for our neighbors in time and across time.
Baptist Center for Ethics sponsored letters calling on political representatives to address environmental issues:
"Baptist Letter to United States House of Representatives Calling for Support of 'The American Clean Energy and Security Act,'" sponsored by the Baptist Center for Ethics and signed by more than 140 Baptist pastors and officials. (June 18, 2009)
"Baptist Letter to United States Senate on Climate Change Legislation," sponsored by the Baptist Center for Ethics and signed by more than 140 Baptist pastors and officials. (April 28, 2008)