Pastors and the Extinction of Species

What does it mean to be a pastor during a biodiversity crisis? When I think about this question, I often think about the career of Holmes Rolston III. In the spring of 1959, a young Rolston began serving as pastor of a congregation in Virginia. He was well-prepared. He had completed a Ph.D. in theology not long before and had deep family connections to the region. However, as his biographer, Christopher Preston, tells the story, the congregation quickly became annoyed with Rolston’s use of scientific language. In addition, Rolston’s exploration of the local countryside had prompted him to worry about the effects of development and some of the newer mechanized farming methods. Apparently, he expressed some of these concerns to congregants who disagreed. Rolston’s pastoral appointment did not last long. [This essay appears on the Mennonite Creation Care Network website. Point your browser that way for the rest.]

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