“The angel said, Do not be afraid – I am bring you good news of great joy for all the people.” This text from Luke 2:10 is very familiar – we hear it as part of the Christmas story.
But what good news do we as a church bring to all the people? Do we tell them the Gospel, that God loves them, that Jesus is real and cares, that the Holy Spirit is an ever-present helper, or do Christians jump on the latest band-wagon of political correctness, that is, the Green movement.
This youtube extract, from a BBC documentary about Papua New Guinea, is a brilliant example of how the green concerns for conservation are putting trees first and people second. There is no good news for the people. Here we see a worried young mother, whose little baby has malaria. Fortunately, the medics attached to the documentary team are able to give the child some medicine, without which we are told that it would definitely die. The local tribe explain to the scientists that even though they own vast tracts of land and trees, they need to log them so they can afford education and medicine for their children. The Greenies leave us with the question hanging in the air – should these people be allowed to sell their trees? Or rather, are their little black babies worth less somehow than our cosy white city babies, who have access to medicine?
The church should be about the business of saving people – spiritually, physically, whatever it takes. But whenever a church leader urges us to plant trees for the sake of the planet, my thoughts go back to the worried young mother in Papua New Guinea, and her baby.
The tree-planting ideas are based on bad science too, that has been discredited. We are learning more and more about the sun’s role in climate, and people cannot change that. At least if we’re going to plant trees, let them be food-bearing trees, like our local (secular) city council.