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Chapter 5: Symbiotic Stewardship by Aminah Al-Attas Bradford

(Photo courtesy of Aminah Al-Attas Bradford)

An illustrated companion to Chapter 5 of Beyond Stewardship: New Approaches to Creation Care. To view main webpage, click here:

"The real problem is that Christians do not know why matter matters for redemption."
"Biological dependence wakes people from their false sense of independence, superiority, and centrality. But our dependence on the creation goes beyond biology. Creation matters for salvation."

This graphic shows common external microbiome sites. If we have this many microbes living on our skin, imagine how many are living inside our bodies!

"Microbiome Sites (27058471125)" by National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) from Bethesda, MD, USA [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)] https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Microbiome_Sites_(27058471125).jpg
"Microbes inhabit our skin and line our digestive pathway. Collectively, they are sometimes referred to as a person’s microbial organ. ...The multiple layers of human-microbe intimacy make it difficult to conceive of human life as we know it without these invisible partners."

To learn more about your symbiotic microbes, click the following link:

To read the articles on microbes mentioned in the text, click the following links:

"If biological dependence and kinship with the creation are to become motivations for creation care, we must first understand why Christians cling so tightly to the distinction between humans and the nonhuman creation in the first place."

(Photo courtesy of Aminah Al-Attas Bradford)

"Adam and Eve weren’t dragged down by their creatureliness; they were dragged down because they tried to rise above it."
"Jordan River (28319544327)" by Ben P L from Provo, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)] https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jordan_River_(28319544327).jpg
"Jesus’ entry into the Jordan was less about a holy God getting wet and more about water getting holy."
"Christ’s central relationship with matter becomes increasingly clear as we reread the story of Jesus’ baptism, where, if anything, we become the sideshow, the awe-filled observers of a scene between Jesus and a river."
"Grain and grapes are converted and preserved as bread and wine by microbial yeast. And we would struggle to digest this holy meal without our own microbial symbionts."
Every time we receive communion, we are consuming foods fermented by microbes, and our gut microbes are helping us digest the nutrients in the bread and wine.

Yeast Cell: Simple Diagram & Under a Microscope

"Simple diagram of yeast cell (en)" by domdomegg [CC BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)] https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Simple_diagram_of_yeast_cell_(en).svg AND "Yeast Cell" by Col Ford and Natasha de Vere [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)] https://www.flickr.com/photos/col_and_tasha/5561507098
"When we understand that matter matters for redemption, caring for the creation becomes a mutual stewardship wherein we acknowledge that the flesh that supports our biological and spiritual renewal needs us to return the favor. We move beyond mere stewardship to symbiotic stewardship as we embrace our creaturely dependence."

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