Saving a healthy earth for all God's children : key roles of clergy, counselors, and congregations

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Howard Clinebell


I am pleased to write this paper for the festschrift honoring Professor Stanley A. Rock. Through the years he has made significant contributions to the strengthening of the teaching and practice of pastoral care and counseling. To honor him in this way is most appropriate!

Here is a personal story that highlights why the greening of pastoral theology, pastoral psychology, pastoral counseling, and congregations is so crucial in today's world. While lecturing and leading workshops in South Korea some years ago, I celebrated my birthday by climbing a beautiful mountain named Kyexyong-San with three Korean friends. In Korean culture Kyexyong is sacred. We hiked up the mountainside through the multicolored wildflowers of early June while being serenaded by a singing brook and the  beautiful and, to me, unfamiliar bird songs on the warm breeze. After sack lunches at the summit, a detour off the trai I during the descent enabled me to talk with the native healer (shaman), near a hidden cave on the mountainside. I enjoyed talking with him and his "clients" who had come to this sacred place seeking healing and good fo rtune. What they told me proved to be a fascinating learning experience concerning eaith-based spirituality and indigenous healing. Later, as we neared the completion of our descent, we saw a large sign in Korean suspended over the trail. My climbing friends supplied this translation: LET US LOVE NATURE AS WE LOVE OUR CHILDREN.

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How to Cite
Clinebell, H. (2001). Saving a healthy earth for all God’s children : key roles of clergy, counselors, and congregations. Reformed Review, 55(2), 97-110. Retrieved from
Environmental ethics; Human ecology