As a contribution to Earth Day, more than 50 free copies of The Green Bible are being sent to seminary professors and administrators by the National Council of Churches USA Eco-Justice Programmes and the Bible's publisher, HarperOne.
The purpose of the gifts, said Jordan Blevins, assistant director of the NCCUSA Eco-Justice Programme, is to enable seminaries to share the The Green Bible (reviewed on Ekklesia here) with their students.
"Earth Day is a unique opportunity for our churches and communities to celebrate the values of God's Creation," Blevins said. "By getting The Green Bible into the hands of seminary faculty and staff, we can see that these values continue to be focal points of our churches' ministry." Earth Day is on 22 April 2009.
The Green Bible, a New Revised Standard Version, focuses on creation care, with input from leading Christian conservationists, theologians and practitioners. It demonstrates that creation care is not just a calling, but a lifestyle.
This green-letter edition of the Bible, utilizing the NRSV translation, highlights the verses and passages focused on creation care.
"That the Bible has a profound message of sustainability - some might argue, the original message - is not all that surprising. What is surprising is that it is not one of the first things that comes to mind when most folks think about the Bible and its message," says Mark Tauber, senior vice-president and publisher of HarperOne.
"This Bible seeks to change that fact. We believe that the unique and specially added features by some of today's most important thinkers, writers and leaders across the ecumenical spectrum make it a must-have for those who already find motivation, comfort and inspiration in it and for the many more who might see it freshly as a critical resource in their journey to sustain our planet," Tauber said.
The Green Bible includes a series of essays by leading thinkers, teachers and writers, as well as a comprehensive "green trail guide," through scripture, a survey of Christian historical figures and their approach to creation care combined with a green concordance and resource guide. It is also produced using environmentally sensitive materials including special paper and covers.
The Green Seminary Initiative is devoted to equipping graduates of theological schools with the theological and practical tools to lead their congregations and communities in creation care. The Initiative is also committed to developing seminaries as models of creation care and to serving as a clearing-house of information, ideas, and resources that will further that end.
The Green Seminary Initiative believes that this partnership with HarperOne and the Eco-Justice Programme of the National Council of Churches USA gives the seminaries an important tool in greening their institutions.