On Tuesday, Union Seminary, New York posted a photo of the chapel service which showed a student sitting on the ground before several potted plants to offer confession, mainly over failures to protect the environment.
“Today in chapel, we confessed to plants. Together, we held our grief, joy, regret, hope, guilt and sorrow in prayer; offering them to the beings who sustain us but whose gift we too often fail to honour. What do you confess to the plants in your life?” tweeted Union.
Offering their prayers to plants?
The Seminary stated, “We are in the throes of a climate emergency, a crisis created by humanity’s arrogance, our disregard for Creation. Far too often, we see the natural world only as resources to be extracted for our use, not divinely created in their own right—worthy of honour, thanks and care.We have played a deplorable role in degrading God’s creation. We must birth new theology, new liturgy to heal and sow, replacing ones that reap and destroy.”
Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, denounced the chapel event and tweets made in defense of it on his podcast “The Briefing” as coming from a “modern secular worldview.”
“We cannot be pleased with the desecration of creation, but we can also not be pleased or ever satisfied with the idea that creation exists unto itself, that human beings are a blight upon creation, and that it is wrong for human beings to exercise dominion over creation.”
Mohler also took issue with Union referring to the plants as “beings,” explaining that a “being is one who has consciousness, and has consciousness of consciousness. A stalk of wheat is not a being, nor is a rhododendron, nor is an oak tree, nor even an acorn, nor is an entire forest. Plants are not beings, but what you see here is the confusion that happens when the biblical worldview is abandoned,” he continued.
Union Seminary was founded in 1836 by a group of Presbyterian ministers and sees itself as rooted in Protestantism. Nevertheless, the school states on their website that they seek to train students of all religions to advance social justice.