Center for Religion and Environment's discussion with Tri Robinson Q:

Center for Religion and Environment's discussion with Tri Robinson
Q: What did it look like to pray over the land?
A: Vineyard church was planted in "on a wing and a prayer." Twelve families in the beginning
but over a thousand when the damaged land was purchased. Church grew rapidly in a shopping
center to the point of needing a new building. When the church looked to expand, the property
they wanted changed value drastically because of water contamination. The land was spoiled by
a laundromat's runoff in a neighborhood with a much higher crime rate than the shopping center
the church began in.
Q: "Was the water cleaned by chance or cleaned by God?"
A: "We live in the apostolic age. When we pray we believe we have the same access to God
now as they did in the apostolic age.”
Q: "What exactly happened on the day when everyone prayed on the land?"
A: The people who were gathered asked for the presence of God to be among them on the land.
They followed what the Apostles did in the Book of Acts in the act of laying hands on the sick.
Essentially following the works in the Bible, the group poured salt around the water test sites,
laid hands on the land, and prayed for it.
Q: Do you see this land healing event as a singular event or do you think it could be applicable
A: God's mode of operation has been the healing of the land. Left to itself, land will heal itself.
God restores, renews, redeems, reconciles, makes new. God is looking for us (sin) to get out of
the way of the land. When people participate with him, amazing things happen.
God's intention is for the land to purify itself. He wants the land to purify itself so I pray to be a
part of that purification.
Q: How do you incorporate the language and practice of worship on this property?
A: Language of eschatology and interpretation of the second coming of Christ in the 1970s
produced "it's all going to burn anyways" mentality. This mentality focused only on saving
There was a division between evangelicals and environmentalists. Evangelicals wrongly felt that
caring about nature would take away from caring about human beings, would imply caring for
nature more than people. It was intimidating to preach about the environment from the pulpit.
The division in the 2000 presidential election between the sanctity of nature vs sanctity of human
lives sparked a new flame in Tri's heart. He felt he should not have to choose one over the other.
He went through Bible and highlighted all the “green” parts; felt convicted.
Shortly after this presidential election, Tri preached on Romans 1: "...know me through all that I
have created"
After this Sunday, the church was mobilized to think consciously about the environment.
"Kinetic learning." Learning through action.
His church discussed the fundamentals of the Noahic covenant, the covenant between God and
His creation. They were able to have conversation about creation care. Even topics of global
warming, which were very taboo, were discussion topics. “We literally changed the dialogue of
the church.”
Q: Your experience with your own congregation makes it sound like they were hungry for that
connection with the land they felt intuitively and that they were almost waiting for someone to
give them permission from a religious standpoint to feel this way.
A: People were waiting for their leaders to give them permission to make these changes in their
Every Christian knows that God calls them to care for the poor. A declining environment affects
the poor. Connecting the dots for people between poverty and a deteriorating environment helps
them see that a decline in the environment affects the poor first, and helps them accept the urgent
need to make environmental changes. There is a crucial need to go to the headwaters of the
problems of poverty (hence his I-61 ministry) and so often this is the environment.
If you care about the environment of the world, you need to care about the environment of your
community, you need to care about the environment of your family, and at that point you need to
care about the environment of your heart. If your heart is not right in the will of God, everything
you do in regards to the environmental movement will just pass by as a fad.
As Christians, I think the most important thing we can do is work on the hearts of people.
God does care about His Earth and he has called us to care about it. Parishioners need to know
why they are changing and this only comes through rendering the heart to God's love of His
creation. The first place the church needs to go in times of change is to prayer. It needs to clean
up the environment of the heart before it moves beyond that.
There are many ways we come to Christ - but some come through the creation. Being in nature
is deeply sacred. Taking people to a sacred place and letting them breathe fresh air and
understand why that ignites the spirit is an amazing way to bringing them closer to God.
Q: What are you doing for the poor on your 22 acres?
3 Acre organic farm
30,000lbs of produce per year goes to a free farmer's market twice a week
Classes to teach how to cook the food.
High refugee population so there is a need for translators
Free medical clinic
Classes through the I-61 program
Q: What are the sorts of things you teach in your environmental I-61 school?
A: We teach different areas such as: water development, soil, big overlap between the
environment and the hungry, climate change, sanitation, water purification, soil rectification.
The group then discussed the following proposal:
The location should be close enough to walk to.
Willie Six Creek was suggested, the end of the creek towards the Ayers center.
The "poor" side of the creek has been constantly abused.
Book Ayers Center in case of rainy day.
Jerry Smith agreed this site is appropriate.
There is a need to look into the recent history of the creek.
The creek starts above the science center where it is totally encased underground, and then flows
out at the Japanese Garden. At the Beta house the abuse begins - i.e. McClurg construction debris
How can we be educated in soil/water rectification? We do not exactly want to pray and then
walk away. We need a concrete plan to move forward in cleaning the creek.
What do we want this long term project to be? Integration of the original idea of Earthkeepers?
What other construction projects on the domain have environmental implications?
What are the crimes against the environment that have occurred on the domain?