“Ecological Conversion”

LS - ecological conversion

This is a key quote in this document, because it underscores the fact that belief is evidenced by action. Pope Francis is stressing that when we have a living and vibrant faith, it is going to manifest itself in the way we interact with everything. In this case, valuing creation as a gift of God — seeing in it the “caress of God“– should change the way we interact with that gift. We should not be cavalier in the way we use the earth. And here’s where we delve into turning off the vehicles instead of idling for ten or twenty or thirty minutes; to not using plastic straws and plastic bottles; to all the everyday ways we can be better stewards of creation.

#intentionalcatholic #realfaithrealworld #faithinaction #theologyofthebody #creation #environmentalstewardship #steward #green #greenliving #gogreen #climatechange #laudatosi #laudatosii #catholic #socialjustice

“Ridicule expressions of concern”

LS - ridicule

This is the first of two hard-hitting quotes that should cause us to examine our consciences and our biases. It’s easy to make fun of “tree huggers,” isn’t it? To view concerns about environment as secondary (at best) or pagan (at worst). Tune in tomorrow for the second half.

#intentionalcatholic #realfaithrealworld #faithinaction #theologyofthebody #creation #environmentalstewardship #steward #green #greenliving #gogreen #climatechange #laudatosi #laudatosii #catholic #socialjustice


Market Forces Can’t Protect Creation

LS - market forces

#intentionalcatholic #realfaithrealworld #faithinaction #theologyofthebody #creation #environmentalstewardship #steward #green #greenliving #gogreen #climatechange #laudatosi #laudatosii #catholic #socialjustice

The voice of God

LS JP2 quote

Pope Francis quoted St. John Paul II in Laudato Si’. This is how I feel about creation. Yesterday I spent two hours hiking four miles in a local state park. I set off anxious, my brain buzzing; I returned to the car with painful toes and a peaceful spirit and quiet mind. To be in nature is to spend time with God.

Stolen From The Poor

LS food thrown out

When I read this, all I could think was: wow! How much food goes to waste in the United States, again? A third of what’s available? Even today, years after first reading this quote and making changes to make sure we waste as little as possible, there is a bag of lettuce going bad in my refrigerator. Stolen from the poor, indeed.

This is the first of many places where this encyclical challenges us to examine our habits and make changes, because stewardship of creation goes hand in hand with care for “the least of these.”

#intentionalcatholic #realfaithrealworld #faithinaction #theologyofthebody #creation #environmentalstewardship #steward #green #greenliving #gogreen #climatechange #laudatosi #laudatosii #catholic #socialjustice #humandignity #goldenrule #theologyofthebody

Population Control Isn’t The Answer

LS population control

This is where society sometimes gets it wrong: assuming that simply cutting the number of children will fix the problem. The “issues” Pope Francis lays out in Laudato Si’ should make us all squirm. Our entire culture is built on convenience (which is to say, disposability) and consumption–the more, the better.

In my neighborhood every week, the amount of trash and recycling that goes out in households with 2-3 people is often three to four times larger than what we, as a family of 6, put out. Sustainable living is a value that parents have to prioritize in our own lives and intentionally pass on to our children–just like respect for life and the centrality of the Eucharist. Two kids raised in an atmosphere that is cavalier or thoughtless about consumption will do as much or more damage to God’s creation as six kids raised with a heart of environmental stewardship.

Read the whole encyclical here.


Making It Our Problem

LS personal suffering

At the heart of all the issues that lie at the messy intersection of faith & the real world is this reality: If it doesn’t impact us directly, we generally don’t think much about it–let alone prioritize it. In the case of care for the earth, we don’t even think about the choices we make and what impact they can have over time.

Read the full encyclical here.

Caress of God

A beautiful thought from Pope Francis for this spring day.

LS caress

#intentionalcatholic #realfaithrealworld #faithinaction #creation #Laudatosi #environmentalstewardship #steward #green #greenliving #gogreen #climatechange

25 Ways To Be A Better Steward of Creation

golden-hour-peony Lent is a funny time of year. We turn one eye inward, to the spiritual desert, while with the other we watch the physical desert of winter explode into the resurrection that is spring. Of course we celebrate Easter in the spring. At what other time does the physical world so perfectly parallel the spiritual journey we are undertaking?

At this time of year, environmental stewardship is always foremost in my mind, too–as a civic duty, yes, but more importantly, as a Godly one. As the catechism reminds us in #2415, our authority over creation doesn’t give us the right to run roughshod over it. We have a responsibility to honor the integrity of God’s creation and think about the needs of future generations.

With that in mind, I’d like to share a list of everyday ways we, as Catholic Christians, can be more intentional about how we interact with creation. To be more intentional about our consumption and purchasing habits, rather than adopting, without even recognizing it, a culture of “convenience” that almost always involves tremendous waste.

25 ways to be a better steward of creation

In the Kitchen

  1. Take your own bags to the grocery store. Cloth is even better than paper or plastic.
    2. Buy fresh, not prepackaged.
    3. Buy local–less transport = less environmental impact.
    4. Grow your own vegetables.
    5. Compost.
    6. Recycle.Yes, even so far as bringing home the plastic ware from the fast food restaurants which don’t offer recycling. This is a biggie! Wash them.
    7. Wash and reuse Ziploc bags.
    8. Wait to run the dishwasher till it’s full.
    9. Look for ways to use less plastic overall. Stop buying water bottles–pack your own!

Vehicles and driving

10. Turn off the car. (Another biggie.) Do you get in the car, turn it on, and then check your phone? Why run your vehicle while you check your phone, wait for kids at their lessons/practices, or for your spouse at the grocery store? Every bit of that is unnecessary pollution. Turn it off.
11. Slow down! The faster you drive, the more gas you burn, and it really doesn’t make a significant difference in time, anyway.
12. Combine trips & walk from errand to errand when possible. Not when convenient–when possible.
13. Carpool.

Around the house

14. Buy bulk refills on cleaners instead of a new squeeze bottle every time.
15. Buy used, and don’t buy things you don’t need. (Another big one!)
16. Turn the lights off.
17. Turn the computer off, or at least put it to sleep. Why have it running while you’re sleeping? And in the summer it’s adding to the heat that the air conditioner has to fight.
18. Use Recycled Paper.
19. Print on the back sides of used paper for rough drafts.
20. Turn the thermostat up a degree in the summer and down a degree in the winter.
21. Plant a tree.
22. Replace parts of your lawn with native plants–wildflowers, low-maintenance ground cover, and so on–so the mowing takes less time and gasoline.

For the Family

23. Use cloth diapers. There are diaper services that can do the cleaning for you.
24. Toilet train early. In my experience, the success or failure toilet training has much more to do with parental commitment than a child’s “readiness.” (Since I’ve toilet trained four kids, and the only one who was over 2 was the one with a disability, I stand by that statement.)
25. Practice Natural Family Planning. No plastic, no chemicals going into the water supply, no waste. And despite what you may have heard…it works.

(This list is adapted from one originally published on my personal blog.)