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Introduction by David Paul Warners

Plaster Creek. (Photo courtesy of David Paul Warners)

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

"Because of runoff and erosion, Plaster Creek is cloudy and brown after every rain, and it carries dangerously high concentrations of E. coli bacteria. The creek is known to be the most polluted waterway in West Michigan and fixing it will take a long time. But ten years of trying have taught us that the contaminated creek isn’t actually the problem."
Plaster Creek after a rain (Photo courtesy of David Paul Warners)
E-coli concentrations in Plaster Creek water before (left) and after (right) a rain (Photos courtesy of David Paul Warners)
"We came to recognize that the deeper reason for the creek’s damaged condition was the thoughtless mistreatment, neglect, and apathy of watershed residents. ...Thus, to make lasting improvements to Plaster Creek, our goal changed to repairing the broken relationship between people and their creek."
Plaster Creek Stewards seeks to reconnect the community with its creek. (Photos courtesy of David Paul Warners)
"A garden could serve to educate local residents, raise awareness, and testify to how people can live more carefully in this watershed with the creek in mind. A garden could help begin to heal the relationship between watershed residents and their creek. A garden could start to reconcile the relationship between people and creation."
A church rain garden and a curb-cut rain garden, both planted by Plaster Creek Stewards. (Photos courtesy of David Paul Warners)
"But before doing some more careful thinking about other limitations of stewardship, it is helpful to review the history of the term and how it has become associated with care for the nonhuman creation."
(Image courtesy of Janice Wharton)
"A complete reading of the Scriptures shows that we are to both serve and protect the nonhuman creation. Servants and protectors of the creation are likely to act quite differently than stewards of the creation."
Plaster Creek Stewards seek to serve the creek and the communities that surround it. (Photos courtesy of David Paul Warners)
"To a greater extent than we usually understand or accept, humans are a part of, are embedded within, and have a reciprocal relationship with the rest of creation. We completely and utterly depend on the nonhuman creation for our existence. ...Unhelpfully, CES tends to promote a dissociated sense that humans are somehow separate from the rest of creation."
We depend utterly on plants for food, trees for oxygen, and streams for water. (Photos courtesy of David Paul Warners)
"The problems in creation run so deep that we need to do more than coin a new phrase. We need a richer and deeper understanding of our relationship with the nonhuman creation. We need to reimagine no less than the place and the role of humans in this world."

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