Serve God Save the Planet was part of our holiday reading and both the better half and I found it refreshing to read of Americans that cared. Sleeth has done some drastic trimming of his families lifestyle (although to be fair it did sound a bit bloated), now living in a house that is smaller than his previous garage! For those new to the whole issue of changing lifestyle to care for the gift of creation this is an excellent place to start, same goes if you want a straightforward reminder of the basics.
There are great chapters on enjoying creation, turning off the TV, having a genuine sabbath, doing work that exercises the body, raising families, thinking about our homes, respecting the gift of creation all told with humility and warmth. Lessons have been learnt and learnt well.
However I believe, despite chapter 6 (‘Too Much Stuff’) that this former doctor has misdiagnosed the problem. He approaches the issues firmly from the ‘creation care’ angle, so we must change the way we live in order to respect creation and to give it a chance of recovering. However becoming green consumers, still leaves us as consumers. Consumerism isn’t simply dangerous because it leads to a damaged environment (although I believe that is the case), it’s dangerous because it seeks to satisfy needs that only God can meet, it seeks to give us identity and worth outside of our relationship with Him. It’s dangerous because in essence it’s greed.
I think Matthew Sleeth sees these things and knows them so this criticism in no way reduces the value of this gem of a book, but I think we’ll see a generation emerge that will attempt to have its cake and eat it – to preserve both the environment and lavish lifestyles because they won’t see (or will refuse to see) that wealth is deceitful and we have been deceived.
Still this is a book to be recommended to all would consider their lifestyle against the life of our planet. For more info on this author go here