April 03, 2006 | Myrna Anderson

Just in time for Earth Day 2006 - slated to be observed April 22 - comes a new book which hopes to help people of faith be good stewards of God's earth.

"Living the Good Life on God's Good Earth" is edited by Calvin biology
professor David Koetje (pronounced COO CHEE) and takes a close look at such everyday issues as housing, food, clothing, energy consumption and recreation.

Koetje, who heads up the biotechnology major at Calvin, notes that seemingly simple choices, such as when to buy a new shirt, have an environmental impact.  He says: "If people are serious about caring for the earth, they need to make good choices in their daily lives."

Koetje notes too that care for the environment is becoming an increasingly
significant issue for North American evangelicals.

The environment is a values issue," the Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the 30 million-member National Association of Evangelicals told the Washington Post in February 2006. "There are significant and compelling theological reasons why it should be a banner issue for the Christian right."

In October 2005, the Post noted, the association's leaders adopted an
"Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility" that, for the first time, emphasized
every Christian's duty to care for the planet and the role of government in
safeguarding a sustainable environment.

"We affirm that God-given dominion is a sacred responsibility to steward the
earth and not a license to abuse the creation of which we are a part," said the statement, which has been distributed to 50,000 member churches. "Because clean air, pure water, and adequate resources are crucial to public health and civic order, government has an obligation to protect its citizens from the effects of environmental degradation."

Such heady fare is at the center of "Living the Good Life on God's Good Earth" (which is published by Faith Alive Christian Resources). The book features 10 chapters on such topics as The Homes We Live In, The Food We Eat (written by Koetje and his Calvin colleague Janel Curry) and What We Do for Rest and Enjoyment. Authors are:

Mark D. Bjelland, Gustavus Adolphus College

Steven C. Bouma-Prediger, Hope College

Susan P. Bratton, Baylor University

David R. Clements, Trinity Western University, B.C

Janel M. Curry, Calvin College

Christiana de Groot, Calvin College

Lorynn R. Divita, Baylor University

Paul Heintzman, University of Ottawa

Kenneth Piers, Calvin College

Bret Stephenson, Baylor University

David P. Warners, Calvin College

John R. Wood, King's University College, AB

Each of the ten chapters include questions for reflection or discussion and
resources for further reading.

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