Thursday, February 5, 2009

Serve God, Save the Planet

About the book from Blessed website:

Serve God, Save the Planet is a book written by former emergency room doctor Dr. J. Matthew Sleeth. It is a deeply personal book with far-reaching ramifications for Christians and all those who take their devotion to God seriously. The book presents a gripping account of Dr. Sleeth’s personal and spiritual journey to environmental stewardship. It lays out sobering rationale for life changes, and a “how-to” guide for lifestyle changes that will help care for others and protect the earth.

Five years ago, Dr. J. Matthew Sleeth and his family lived in a big house on the coast, had two luxury cars and many material possessions. As chief of the medical staff at a large hospital, Sleeth was living the American dream—until he realized that something was terribly wrong. As he saw patient after patient suffering from cancer, asthma, and other chronic diseases, he began to understand that the earth and its inhabitants were in trouble. Feeling helpless, he turned to his faith for guidance. He discovered how the Scriptural lessons of personal responsibility, simplicity, and stewardship could be applied to modern life. The Sleeths have since sold their big home and given away more than half of what they once owned.

In Serve God, Save the Planet, Dr. Sleeth shares the joy of adopting a less materialistic lifestyle and reveals what was easy and what was hard about the changes his family has made.

He shares how material downscaling led his family to healthier lifestyles, stronger relationships and richer spiritual lives.

“Although I believed in the ‘environmental cause’ before I accepted Christ as my Savior, my belief did not translate into action,” Dr. Sleeth writes. “After I became a Christian, I went through a process of examining my life, and I found it was filled with sin and hypocrisy. I decided to conduct an assessment and figure out a rough estimate of the actual environmental impact by my family. This honest inventory indicated what the Christian faith required of me.”

“Because of these changes,” Dr. Sleeth writes in his book, “we have more time for God. Spiritual concerns have filled the void left by material ones. Owning fewer things has resulted in things no longer owning us.”

Serve God, Save the Planet addresses the questions:

* How can I live a more godly, equitable, and meaningful life?
* How can I help people today and in the future?
* How can I be less materialistic?
* How can I live a more charitable life?
* What would happen if I led a slower-paced existence?

Dr. Sleeth writes: “Serve God, Save the Planet is meant to elicit personal accountability rather than political change. Its lessons are meant to teach individuals, families, and communities not much larger than a congregation; and yet it looks at larger issues because they profoundly affect each of us.

“I am convinced that when the Church becomes fully engaged in the problems of creation care, we will overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. As all those who consider themselves people of faith grow in their understanding that God holds us accountable for care of his creation, we will begin to see positive changes on an unprecedented scale.”

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About the Author

J. Matthew Sleeth, MD, a former emergency room physician, felt like he was straightening deck chairs on the Titanic saving one patient at a time while the whole ship (Earth) was going down. Together with his wife and two teenaged children, he began to bring his lifestyle in line with his values, cutting back on their fossil fuel by two-thirds and electricity use by nine-tenths. Following a new calling, Dr. Sleeth resigned from his position as chief of the medical staff and director of the ER to teach, preach and write about faith and the environment throughout the country.

His book, Serve God and Save the Planet: A Christian Call to Action, was released in softcover by Zondervan Publishing in April 2007 and has been chosen as a finalist for a 2008 Christianity Today Book Award in the Christianity and Culture category.

“This award, given by Christianity Today magazine, honors authors and their books that help people understand the important ideas and events that shape the evangelical conversation.” Dr. Sleeth is a graduate of The George Washington University School of Medicine and has two post-doctoral fellowships. He is currently Executive Director of Blessed Earth and the Visiting Scholar in Creation Care at Houghton College in Houghton, NY.

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