A Gospel for Liberals
Considering the historical     Jesus in light of today’s most controversial social Issues
 

Jesus Was an Environmentalist

Thankfully, the fact that he did speak in proverbs and parables happens to tell us a great deal about Jesus and his connection to nature.  In Hebrew, the word for “proverb” is mashal, which is literally translated, “a comparison.” The root of the word means, “rule,” and might be used like “pattern,” or “paradigm.” So Jewish proverbs, in particular, are meant as rules to live by; like, “There is gold and abundance of costly stones; but the lips informed by knowledge are a precious jewel,” and, “Can fire be carried in the bosom without burning one’s clothes?” When expanded into lengthier stories, these comparisons become parables, which are also metaphors of some deeper truth.  In Jewish tradition proverbs and parables became part of Hebrew Wisdom literature, which include the Book of Proverbs, the Book of Job, Ecclesiastes, Ecclesiasticus (Sirach), Wisdom of Solomon, some of the Psalms, and, perhaps, portions of the Song of Songs.  Those Jewish philosophers who spoke in proverbs and parables were, therefore, considered Wisdom teachers.

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Jesus also retreated into nature to commune with God.  Though he was crucified, he did not die to prove his faith in anything.  On the contrary, he died because he lived out his faith—a faith inspired by the beauty he saw in nature, encouraged by his dream of a better world, and lived out through his relationships with others.  He was not a red martyr, but the original green martyr, hoping to help fashion a society that might reflect the same beauty and balance he found in nature.  He was not an ascetic who denied life, but an aesthetic who embraced life.  Indeed, it was only through his deep connection to nature that he was able to step outside the corrupt economy of his day, refusing to use money or own anything, because he trusted God, through nature, to meet every need. “Look at the birds of the air,” and “consider he lilies of the field.” The birds do not sow, harvest, or store away, yet they are fed.  The flowers do not toil are spin, yet they are clothed. “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Though he was homeless and penniless, with nothing more than the clothes on his back, Jesus operated from a mindset of abundance, not poverty.  He considered himself rich, and looked at those who store treasure in barns and banks as impoverished in both body and soul.