I was surprised when I recently learned that the “real” founder of Earth Day is Pentecostal in his background. In fact, John McConnell Jr (94) though best known for his zeal for peace and earth care, has roots in the Azsuza Street revival itself. His grandfather (T.W. McConnell) received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in one of the services at the Asuza Street Mission – McConnell’s parents were involved int he founding of the Assemblies of God, they were at the original meeting in 1914.
You can read the article about MeConnell in the latest edition of the AG Heritage Magazine (fourth article down -PDF)
One thing to note, McConnell never intended for Earth Day to be what it is today – an over politicized event that emphasizes the creation over the creator – it he wanted it to be on the Spring Equinox so as to make it more inclusive of all peoples and all perspectives – today is Lenin’s birthday – the person that took Earth Day from McConnell did this intentionally – and that is why it tends to be such an isolating event.
Personally, I think earth care and the pursuit of peace is one area the Church has dropped the ball – well, at least in conservative evangelical circles – especially in dispensational “it’s all gonna burn anyways” circles – even more so in our pulling out of political circles when instead we should have been pushing for more ecologically minded policies that show thoughtfulness to the creation – since it too is awaiting redemption (cf. Rom 8). Many of us with our theology have sadly, if not openly violated the creation mandate of Genesis 1:27 the one where God tells us to care for the Earth – this is where current trends in ecological theology can be promising where Christians are prodded to be more ecologically minded in their life and faith practice – not as worshipers of the Earth but in response to our worship of the ONE who made the Earth.