Pomme de Terre United Methodist Church

A Chemical Connection

This is a rough outline used for this sermon.

1. Water bottles – plastic to glass


2. Scripture teaches us that we are all created in the image of God and that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Our 21st century lifestyles, however, often cause our bodies to reflect modern lifestyles more than sacred living. There are over 82,000 synthetic chemicals registered for use in everyday household items, emulsifiers, automotive, agricultural, food processing, and other industries. We are exposed to these chemicals in our homes and work places, in the food that nourishes us, and in the air we breathe. Alarmingly, only ten percent of these chemicals have been tested for their effects on human health.[1]


Endocrine disruptors are chemical compounds that disrupt hormones, and importantly, the endocrine system regulates almost every function of the body, including metabolism, growth and development, reproductive processes, and emotional health.  These chemicals are found in agricultural pesticides and in many common household items like cleaning products, furniture, toys, and cosmetics.


Dr. Theo Colborn and Dr. Lynn Carroll of TEDX have recently compiled a new list of all chemicals known to disrupt one or more aspects of the endocrine system.  They list 803 chemicals on the “TEDX List of Potential Endocrine Disruptors”, of which 269 are pesticide related.[2]



Our own bodies, as temples of God, need to be purged of pollution and toxic matter so that the work of God can continue and flourish in each of us. The way we move, work, and play in the world should foster creation’s interdependence, where each member of creation in some way contributes to the health of the whole. In this way, creation is continually animated by the spirit of God and regularly resurrected.


In 2 Corinthians we are reminded to purify everything that contaminates body and spirit. It is not enough to lessen our contamination from pollution and toxic chemicals. We must attempt to eliminate them altogether. We must seek to find ways to live that do not endanger ourselves or others. Our waste should not accumulate in a landfill so that it poisons the land and people living nearby. Our daily living should not use or release toxic pollution or chemicals that cause environmental degradation and human illness. Rather, our lifestyles should allow God’s creation and God’s people to flourish. As we think about Healthy Living for an Abundant Life we can begin to understand that some of the chemical we encounter rob us of that Abundant Life that God offers us.


3. 2 Corinthians 7:1

  • verses calling for purification and separation are sandwiched between “ … no restriction in our affections … “ and “Make room in your hearts for us …”
    • purifying ourselves is a way of opening our hearts to God and to other people
    • encouragement to be a holy people in close relationship with God
    • because have promises God walks with us then let us cleanse body and spirit
      • promises come first
      • body comes before spirit – perhaps this suggests what we do with body comes first


4. What can we do:

  • vaccum -- House dust is a major source of children's exposure to all kinds of toxins, including lead and pesticides, fire-proofing chemicals like brominated and chlorinated flame retardants (BFRs and CFRs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and other chemicals. Exposure to these compounds — which have been linked to cancer, reproductive and neurological problems and endocrine disruption — isn't good for anyone, but may be especially dangerous for children and developing fetuses.[3]
  • Green Cleaning Products – see list on bulletin insert
  • Ditch the Plastic -- You've heard of bisphenol A (BPA), the endocrine disrupter and neurotoxin that's found in plastic products, the lining of most food and drink cans, thermal register receipts, and seemingly every other product on the marketplace. It's all around us — and already inside us. An estimated 93% of Americans have detectable levels of BPA in their bodies, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers.


5. Why this matters

  • God cares about us. God cares not just our hearts, our spirits, our souls, God also cares about our bodies
  • God cares about us, but not only us but all of creation. God loves us enough to say to us “I want you to be a part of my work of care and compassion on earth.” That’s why we are called to share the gospel with other people. That’s why we are called to clothe the naked, heal the sick, and feed the hungry. And it is why we are called to cleanse our bodies and spirits.
  • God wants us to live Abundant Lives. Lives of Health. Lives of Age and Longevity. And God says it’s never too late to start. Thanks be to God who gives life abundantly. Amen.


[1] “Mindful Living: Human Health, Pollution, and Toxics” National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Programs, 2008 (http://nccecojustice.org/network/downloads/HealthLiving_final.pdf)

[2] http://www.generationsoforganic.org/news/latest-news/endocrine-disruptors-and-your-health/

[3] http://healthland.time.com/2011/06/16/5-easy-ways-to-reduce-toxins-in-your-home/

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Sara Harjo

I really enjoyed how you were able to connect this very relevant topic to your sermon. In teaching, we try with each lesson to "make it relate" and "tie it in" to everyday life. You did just that and I really enjoyed reading it!

Your Sis