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Through Ecological Eyes: Reflections on Christianity’s environmental credentials

Robert Barry Leal
St Pauls Publications
RRP $14.95

Reviewed by David Weddell, who presented 2 eco-themed electives at NCYC, and writes about climate change at convenientsolutions.blogspot.com

Robert Leal’s book lives up to its name as it thoroughly examines the bible “through ecological eyes” to discover the message we often overlook.

A message about God, the earth He created, and our responsibility to take care of it.

This series of 29 reflections starts out looking at the theology of why Christians should be interested in the environment – including God’s interest in the whole of creation (not just humans) and the effect that environmental destruction has on our global neighbours.

The middle section covers the involvement of the natural elements, particularly water, throughout scripture.

This can be exhausting reading, going through chapters of earth-themed references, but such a comprehensive list leaves the reader wondering ‘why didn’t I notice this before?’

Towards the end, the author tightens the focus on the teaching of Jesus. Again, things we have read dozens of times suddenly become clearer.

Parables such as the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan provide yet more wisdom when looked at through ecological eyes.

Even John 3:16 normally slides past without us noticing its ecological meaning.

Whilst Christianity’s environmental credentials are strong in terms of scripture and church history, the author bemoans the absence of a prominent religious leader who engages the issue today.

He figures Bob Brown is the closest we have to a Good Samaritan.

Not necessarily considered a religious person, but one who leads the way in terms of concern for creation and compassion for our neighbour.