The Church and Climate Change

There are a lot of things happening at Annual Conference this year – a lot of important conversations for our church to be having. From human sexuality, to the war in Afghanistan, to the issue of climate change – there is a lot of important business on the slate this year.

Last night I had the opportunity to co-lead a workshop with David Radcliff of New Community Project on the Query on Climate Change that will be an item of business on the floor this afternoon. It was thrilling to have a standing room only crowd in the room, and a good and robust conversation around the variety of issues surrounding climate change – is it real? what can we do? who has financial vested interests in seeing it affirmed or denied?what is actually going on?

In the midst of all of these, the one that hit home the most for me was the question – is this something the church should even be addressing? Shouldn’t we leave this to the environmentalists and scientists?

This is why, for me, talking about climate change from a faith perspective, from a position of my faith, is as much of a no-brainer as it is. Because at its root, the human struggle with climate change isn’t actually about the science – it is a reflection of our faith. Of how we live as transformed people in this world. It is, at its root, a matter of our souls. Whether or not the science is exactly right, we are living in a way that isn’t sustainable and in relationship with the rest of God’s Creation – what climate change does is put on display for us the impacts of how we have been living. And it is up to us, as the church, to lead a moral and soul searching shift in our manner of living.

And, as was noted last night, the Church of the Brethren has a message to share here. Of simple living and community. Of another way of living – with each other and with the rest of Creation around us. To some extent, we turn to the scientists and environmentalists using their God given gifts to tell us what is going on, and in what ways we can make a difference. But it is a matter of our faith and our souls that we decide to change the way we live – and live as beings created in the image of God, who declared the entirety of this Creation good.

3 thoughts on “The Church and Climate Change

  1. Brother Wayne and Brother Denny,

    Thanks so much for those comments – I truly hope you keep those coming. It is only in this kind of conversation and dialogue that we can continue to be in relationship with one another.

    I want to respond to both of your comments by saying for me, this is neither a political, nor a social issue – nor do I believe it should be for the church. This is at its core an issue that relates very much to the souls we are trying to reach. Ours, and the world around us.

    Regardless of the science (and I am not a scientist), all I have to do is look around me to know that we are not living in proper relationship with the rest of Creation that God called us to tend and be a witness to. And the impacts we are seeing around us are a result of that. It is less a matter of where or not changing our habits can change the climate – it is more a matter of letting God work through us as we live in the kind of relationship that was intended with our brothers and sisters around the world and all of Creation.

    This is about our witness and evangelism. It is about how we reach others and call them to the way of Christ – both with the words we speak and the actions we put behind those words.

    So, I hope what you don’t see is the church responding to a political issue, or diverting our shared resources to a good social issue. Rather, I hope you see the church responding to an issue of the soul, and an issue of how we witness to all of God’s Creation, that was called good.

  2. My fear is that when we pay attention to the discussion about “global” warming there are many souls outside of Christendom that are not aware that they are going to encounter “eternal” warming without the sweet Jesus love that we have to offer.

    We have allowed our Annual Conferences to become so bogged down with “good” social issues that we have no time and energy left to promote an “excellent” path to personal salvation among members of the carnal world.

    It’s time to get back to the main thing…

  3. In my opinion this whole “global warming” is not nearly as much a scientific issue as it is a political issue. Many eminent scientists do not agree that this warming cycle that we are in is a result of human activity.

    I have a friend who is a retired environmental geologist and he tells me that there are basically two cycles of global warming and cooling that have been in place for millions of year – one is a 100,000 year cycle – the other is a 40,000 year cycle.

    I think the COB wastes a lot of precious time and resources on issues such as this and everything we do benefits no one.

    Let’s direct our efforts to the Great Commission instead.

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