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Presbyterians for Earth Care webinar looks at real faith in a sinful world


Susan Krehbiel of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is a guest on the ‘Between 2 Pulpits’ podcast

June 5, 2024

Photo by Dustan Woodhouse via Unsplash

During a recent webinar offered by Presbyterians for Earth Care (PEC), available here, Avery Davis Lamb introduced participants to Plastic Jesus.

Lamb is co-executive director of a partner of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Creation Justice Ministries, which developed “Plastic Jesus: Real Faith in a Sinful World,” a prayer, education and worship resource that churches can use. He called his recent talk “From Plastic Pollution to Environmental Justice.”

After explaining the dangers posed by too much plastic and the inadequacy of even dedicated recycling, Lamb turned to what all of this means for the church. “We’re going to think theologically about plastics for a minute,” he said. “Let’s talk about sin. Some of my communities [Creation Justice Ministries counts 39 denominational partners] get a little uncomfortable when we talk about sin. But with plastics, we can talk about sin on an individual and systemic level, and their interplay.”

Avery Davis Lamb

Sin is individual, Lamb noted, but “it’s also the harm that communities and societies and economies do to other communities and society, and harm that is produced within an economy or because of an economy, and it affects the vulnerable and the ecosystems around us.”

He encouraged everyone to think about and act on their own plastic consumption, but at the same time to remember that “we swim in the water of plastic pollution.”

Think of the sin of idolatry, Lamb suggested. Many people see plastic as “a solution to our problems, or we idolize technology as the solution to our plastics crisis,” he said. Rather than believing that’ll get us out of this problem, it’s more helpful to look inward “or toward our economies and the ways we have structured society and make the change there.”

Plastic Jesus (Courtesty of Creation Justice Ministries)

Paul’s revelation in Philippians 4:11–13 about being content with little or plenty is “a superhuman skill Paul has developed that he’s sharing with us here. That’s something we can learn,” Lamb said, “to practice contentment, to get away from idolatry and the accumulation of stuff and be content with what we have — and certainly be content in our lives without single-use plastics.”

The free “Plastic Jesus” resource includes sermon starters and “helpful bits of scriptural wisdom” for use in Bible study or sermons, Lamb said. The look at Exodus 32:1–6 is called “The New Golden Calf.”

“Pushing Our Limits” in “Plastic Jesus” is based on the Tower of Babel account found in Genesis 11:3–4. Lamb wondered: “Are we making a tower of plastics and trying to save ourselves?”

“Plastic Jesus” also features three original songs with sheet music: “Plastic Jesus,” “Creation is Waiting for Us” and “Fall in Love with the Earth.”

“Plastic Jesus” also has possible action steps, including support for the proposed REDUCE Act, for Rewarding Efforts to Decrease Unrecycled Contaminants in Ecosystems Act.

“Plastic Jesus: Real Faith in a Sinful World” can be downloaded for free at (Image courtesy of Creation Justice Ministries)

Other possible actions include organizing community cleanups, donating to support communities impacted by pollution, advocating for divestment from fossil fuel and petroleum companies, and engaging local and state governments to seek a ban on plastic bags.

Lamb credited Jessica Maudlin, associate for Sustainable Living and Earth Care Concerns in the Presbyterian Hunger Program, for playing “a crucial role for bringing this resource to life.”

Maudlin called it “a joy and an honor” to work with Creation Justice Ministries staff “to bring this to life and to learn myself about some of the plastic pollution issues I wasn’t aware of.”

The Rev. Bruce Gillette, PEC’s moderator, introduced Dr. C. Mark Eakin, who discussed Overture 14, “On Becoming Free from Plastic Pollution,” for consideration this summer by the 226th General Assembly. The overture, supported by PEC and sponsored by the Presbytery of Susquehanna Valley, reflects action taken “by our sisters and brothers in the United Church of Christ last year,” Eakin said. “This is a real act of solidarity.”

It’s “not a mandate, but there are things we should be doing,” Eakin said, and they’re included in the overture. Among them is educating congregations and mid councils, moving away from single-use plastic, “going to paper as much as we can, and advocating for actions at the state and federal levels,” Eakin said.

Mike Ferguson, Editor, Presbyterian News Service

Today’s Focus: Presbyterians for Earth Care webinar

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Sandy Johnson, Financial/Budget Analyst, Budgets & Forecasting, Administrative Services Group (A Corp)  
Emma Johnston, Mission Specialist, Office of the Middle East & Europe, Presbyterian Mission Agency  

Let us pray

Lord, grant us the wisdom to care for the earth and till it. Help us to act now for the good of future generations and all your creatures. Help us to become instruments of a new creation, founded on the covenant of your love. Amen.

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