Environmental Stewardship in the Judeo-Christian Tradition foreword by Rev. Robert Sirico, introduction by Jay W. Richards

Source: Borrowed
Paperback, 119 pages
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Environmental Stewardship in the Judeo-Christian Tradition, foreword by Rev. Robert Sirico and introduction by Jay W. Richards, from the Acton Institute explores the religious and textual principles that guide Judaism and Christian faith as they apply to responsible environmental stewardship.  Much of this slim volume focuses on the movement for population control, as well as preserving animal species.  The argument for preserving animals only works in so far as how those animals fit into the overall plan for humans and their needs — they can never take precedence over the needs and benefits of humans, in the simplest of terms.  While all life should be considered worth saving, their argument relies upon a sort of cost benefit analysis in light of religious principles.  For those who are less aware of the nuances of human dominion over nature, this book could provide some insight into the argument that radical environmentalists believe religion espouses humans should not merely consume or take over nature for their own purposes.  This text argues that dominion does not mean humans should merely consume and take what they want, that they should use, shape, and add to nature, not merely consume but to guide it.

“Judaism would never countenance loggers suffering the indignity of joblessness in order not to disturb the nesting habitat of the owl.  When homes for people become dramatically overpriced because of the regulatory costs of providing for the habitat of the kangaroo rat, Jewish tradition also must object.  People need not justify their needs of desires to nature.  They are warned only against destroying things for no good purpose.”  (page 25)

There are some great points about the need for societal change and the absence of a sense of community that seems to pervade many highly populated areas.  There is an argument that greater civility is needed to ensure that highly populated areas are not oppressive.  These elements of the book seem more about morality and religious principles, rather than environmental concerns, such as pollution, biodiversity, and climate change, for example.

“Overpopulation is not a question of numbers or objectively measurable figures such as people per square mile.  Instead, it is a question of whether people feel oppressed by the overwhelming presence of others.  This has more to do with the standards of civility and behavior than with actual population numbers.” (page 19-20)

In an economic perspective, which this book uses alongside its religious one, the benefits nature provides to humans is too often couched with the idea that humans are merely consumers by environmentalists.  Animals should only be saved if they can provide some benefit to humans or their preservation does not interfere with the comfort and growth of the human race.  The idea that there is a middle path is a noble one, but at more than one point in this textual argument, the writers suggest that one side or another must be taken in order for a solution to be found and that there is no middle ground.  Much of this analysis is based on old data regarding climate change and some other issues, and a lot of the arguments stem from the arguments of the most radical environmentalist paradigms.

“Hence, the good steward does not allow the resources entrusted to him to lie fallow or to fail to produce their proper fruit.  Not does he destroy them irrevocably.  Rather, he uses them, develops them, and, to the best of his ability, strives to realize their increase so that he may enjoy his livelihood and provide for the good of his family and his descendants.”  (page 39-40)

Environmental Stewardship in the Judeo-Christian Tradition, foreword by Rev. Robert Sirico and introduction by Jay W. Richards, from the Acton Institute provides an interesting basis for discussion about environmental issues and how the religiously faithful can participate in discussions to find solutions to real problems while remaining true to their faith.  However, there is a lot of faith placed in the goodness of man to do the right thing.  As with any religious-based doctrines, there are some ideas that may bristle readers, particularly with regard to what is viewed as “government” programs aimed at population control (i.e. Planned Parenthood in this example).

Mailbox Monday #280

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

1. Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis for review in September.

Just like any other morning, Skylar Rousseau is late for school, but when she is greeted by a blanket of silent stares upon entering Blackfin High, she discovers that the whole town thought she fell from the pier and drowned on her sixteenth birthday three months earlier. However, Sky remembers the last three months living her life as normal, and since she is a full, living breathing human being, she has no idea whose body is buried underneath her tombstone. Everyone seems reluctant to help except her steadfast friend and crush, Sean . . . and a secretive man who draws her to a mysterious circus in the woods.

2.  Inamorata by Megan Chance for TLC Book Tours in August.

American artist Joseph Hannigan and his alluring sister, Sophie, have arrived in enchanting nineteenth-century Venice with a single-minded goal. The twins, who have fled scandal in New York, are determined to break into Venice’s expatriate set and find a wealthy patron to support Joseph’s work.

But the enigmatic Hannigans are not the only ones with a secret agenda. Joseph’s talent soon attracts the attention of the magnificent Odilé Leon, a celebrated courtesan and muse who has inspired many artists to greatness. But her inspiration comes with a devastatingly steep price.

3.  This Is How I’d Love You by Hazel Woods from the publisher for review in September.

As the Great War rages, an independent young woman struggles to sustain love—and life—through the power of words.

It’s 1917 and America is on the brink of World War I. After Hensley Dench’s father is forced to resign from the New York Times for his anti-war writings, she finds herself expelled from the life she loves and the future she thought she would have. Instead, Hensley is transplanted to New Mexico, where her father has taken a job overseeing a gold mine. Driven by loneliness, Hensley hijacks her father’s correspondence with Charles Reid, a young American medic with whom her father plays chess via post. Hensley secretly begins her own exchange with Charles, but looming tragedy threatens them both, and—when everything turns against them—will their words be enough to beat the odds?

4.  Tall, Dark, & Dead by Tate Hallaway, which I got from a book swap with friends.

A delightful new comedy about witches, vampires, and the search for the perfect man. Recovering witch Garnet Lacey manages Wisconsin’s premier occult bookstore. And a fringe benefit of the job is getting customers like Sebastian Von Traum–piercing brown eyes, a sexy accent, and a killer body. The only thing missing is an aura. Which means he’s dead. And that means trouble. So what’s a girl to do if she’s hot for a dead man walking? Run like hell-and take full advantage of the nights.

5.  Environmental Stewardship in the Judeo-Christian Tradition by Rev. Robert Sirico and Jay W. Richards also from the book swap.

A fair and honest debate about religious responses to environmental issues should always distinguish theological principles from prudential judgments.  The Cornwall Declaration and the accompanying essays in this volume were written to do just that.  They were not written to provide theological rationale for current environmentalist fashion.  Rather, they seek to articulate the broad Judeo-Christian theological principles concerning the environment, and to distinguish those principles from contrary ideas popular in the environmental movement.

6.  Summer Blowout by Claire Cook from the book swap.

A good makeup artist never panics. Bella Shaughnessy knows this. She’s the resident makeup maven in a family of Boston Irish hair salon owners; she has an artful solution to almost every problem. But Bella feels bruised beyond the reach of even the best concealer when her half-sister runs off with her husband. What could she come up with to cover a hurt like that? Plenty, it turns out. She conceives an invigorating new business idea, and soon meets a cute entrepreneur who can help out. Despite their bickering, they can’t seem to stay away from success–or from each other.


7.  Daemons Are Forever by Simon R. Green from the book swap.

Eddie Drood’s clan has been watching mankind’s back for ages. And now he’s in charge of the whole kit and caboodle. But it’s not going to be an easy gig…

During World War II, the Droods made a pact with some nasty buggers from another dimension known as the Loathly Ones, which they needed to fight the Nazis. But once the war was over, the Loathly Ones decided that they liked this world too much to leave. Now it’s up to Eddie to make things very uncomfortable for them or watch everything humanity holds dear go up in smoke.

What did you receive?