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Serve God, Save the Planet: A Christian Call to Action [Hardcover]

Our Price $ 21.25  
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Item Number 101838  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   216
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.1" Width: 6.1" Height: 0.8"
Weight:   0.9 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   May 31, 2006
Publisher   Chelsea Green Publishing Company
ISBN  1933392010  
EAN  9781933392011  

Availability  0 units.

Alternate Formats List Price Our Price Item Number Availability
Hardcover $ 25.00 $ 21.25 101838
Paperback $ 14.99 $ 12.74 33914 In Stock
Item Description...
Five years ago Dr. J. Matthew Sleeth and his family lived in a big house, had two luxury cars, loads of money, and lots of stuff. 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 timeless lessons of personal responsibility, simplicity, and stewardship taught in the Bible 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, 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. Drawing on science and religion, Sleeth builds a bridge between environmentalists and mainstream Christians. He and his family are harbingers of the creation care movement, which calls on all those who love God to love our planet. Sleeth shares how material downscaling led his family to healthier lifestyles, stronger relationships, and richer spiritual lives. Serve God, Save the Planet is more than a book: it is a prescription for taking personal responsibility for global survival.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Look Elsewhere  Aug 28, 2008
This was a disappointing book. Save your money and look carefully for another one. While this book was easy to read, and touched upon some salient and important environmental points, the author's self-example is held up too prominently in the book. No thanks Mr. Sleeth - we don't need to mimic your lifestyle. Rather than explore issues of policy and new alternative energies, Sleeth declines to retrograde and anti-modern views that can scarcely be the basis of a modern economy. Some of the conversation is sober and serious - other parts just plain silly. Conservation is good, but so is exploring cleaner alternate energy policies and technologies, something completely neglected in this book. To hold up personal example and to turn a blind eye to political policies and economic powers is really to retreat from the modern world rather than to address it. Sleeth's book could (and should) have been reduced to an article in recommending ways to conserve one's energy usage. As it stands his relevant points become submerged in backwards thinking and personal sugary piety that is just not a comprehensive response to the climate problem. Finally - this book is not academically footnoted, so Sleeth has submerged is sources. Just look elsewhere.
Good but not Great  Aug 12, 2008
Though I've gone on record as a skeptic of global warming and of the catastrophic man-made climate change that is so much in the news today, this certainly does not indicate that I care nothing for the environment. If anything, the reading I've done on the subject of global warming, while failing to convince me, has reinforced in my mind the importance of caring for the planet God has given us. I have become interested in a Christian response to environmental issues and decided to read a couple of books on the subject. One that was recommended to me is Serve God, Save the Planet by J. Matthew Sleeth.

Not too long ago, Sleeth was rising through the ranks as chief of the medical staff at a prominent hospital on the East coast. He began to see more and more of his patients suffering from illnesses such as cancer, asthma and other chronic diseases. He began to suspect that there were environmental issues involved. Somehow the earth and those who live on it are in trouble of their own making, he concluded. Sleeth eventually quit his hospital job to focus on writing and speaking about environmental issues, seeking to do so from a distinctly Christian point-of-view. He sold his large home and moved his family into a much smaller one; he evaluated his family's lifestyle and found ways of drastically reducing their environmental impact. And then he wrote this book.

"Serve God, Save the Planet asks the following 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? What is the spiritual prescription for depression, anxiety, and anger? How can I become a better steward of nature?" It is a book meant to guide Christians as they first think through the issues and then begin to take action. He feels that Christians, with their understanding of the origins of the world and with their knowledge of its Creator, are uniquely able to lead the task of creation care.

Through the book's sixteen chapters, Sleeth deals topically with areas related to creation care. He looks at our society's fixation with "stuff," at the food we eat (and its origins) and at the homes we live in. He is occasionally overstated ("Nothing is worse for the environment than a broken family") but usually measured and deliberate.

The book is not without its weaknesses. One weakness is that Sleeth is better at suggesting easy solutions than working through the implications of the tough ones. For example, he states that the world's population is growing too quickly to be sustainable (and provides an excellent and understandable metaphor for this). But when it comes to a solution for this issue, all he can suggest is this: "Ethically designed and distributed birth control is an essential remedy if humanity is to survive its own success." That is easy to say, but the ramifications are massive. Do we allow wealthy Westerns to continue to procreate while forcing birth control upon impoverished Africans? How do we convince so many billions of people to go along with this plan? What if one massive people group (Muslims, for example) refuse to play along? It's an easy solution to propose but one that is nearly impossible to successfully implement. A second weakness, is that Sleeth seems to have "drunk the Kool-Aid." He accepts man-made global warming as a given and blindly accepts the usual solutions. For example, he stresses the need to recycle, but does not wrestle with the fact that recycling is often as big a polluter as simply throwing items in the trash. Consider, for example, that recycled paper needs to be heavily bleached to remove inks and that this bleach is fed into lakes and rivers. And consider that the material to be recycled has to be trucked to recycling centers and trucked to a factory and so on. All of these actions create, rather than prevent, pollution. Recycling is not the "golden key" he makes it out to be. Such difficult issues make no appearance in this volume.

Those complaints aside, the book is good and helpful in many ways. Sleeth offers some good thoughts on environmental issues and does so in a readable, compelling way. His anecdotes, drawn from a long career in medicine, add human interest to what has the potential to be a rather dry topic. Though not a big-picture, philosophical look at the issues, Sleeth's volume is worth the read for its practical value. The book's appendices are valuable guides to reducing energy consumption and reducing waste.

Having said all of this, I do intend to keep reading to look for a more satisfying book and one that can more fully ground creation care in the Word of God. To this end, I am turning to Pollution and the Death of Man by Francis Schaeffer. I suspect he will fill in some of the gaps missing from Serve God, Save the Planet (while doubtlessly missing out on some of the practical value of Sleeth's volume).
Encouraging and Hopeful  Aug 4, 2008
I finished this book last night, and while there was nothing too new to me as far as "green living," I enjoyed reading his Christian perspective on "creation care." His anecdotes from his work as an ER and missionary doctor made a bit impact on me, as they were powerful testimonies of the direct help/harm we do as American consumers.
Excrement!  Jul 8, 2008
To borrow an adjective from "Dead Poets Society" that is appropriate for this book. Complete "excrement" is how I would describe this waste of trees (oh the irony). The author loses me when he rants on in the first 4 or 5 chapters on his assumption that Global Warming is fact. Well, news flash for you there doc, but Global Warming is not fact, but merely a theory posed on shaky science.

And from a theological standpoint I'll merely pose the fact that man was not made to worship the earth, but merely care for it. While I certainly was interested in how to obtain a cheaper electric bill and to find reasonable ways to conserve in my lifestyle I would simply say that Dr. Sleeth is a few fries short of a happy meal.

It insults my intelligence when a medical MD like this comes across as arrogant and angry in his writing and prose, and tries to make the reader feel guilty for living a lie of modern consumption. Why should I feel guilty doc? I honestly don't think this serves a positive purpose within the church. And if anything, this book does more to divide us, then to rally us together as Christians.

Simply put - don't waste yout time on this piece of excrement.
would anybody disagree, with saving and preserving gods great creation  Jun 16, 2008
great practical advice, that i dont see how anybody could argue this day and time of high gas, droughts , high food prices, ect can anybody say we should not be better stewards with our resources be it money ,food, gas , utilities, land , the enviroment ect. matthew spoke at our church we are starting a creation care group,and 400-500 people got his book from church, we hope to make big changes and get the word out to christians and non christians. this is the ultimate in killing two birds with one stone, spreading gods word and saving the enviroment what a concept!!!! read it and be enlightned. chuck hendricks lex. ky

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