Theological Community, EcoTheology, The Church, The World, The Blogosphere

Denominations Home Pages and Christian Identity relating to the Climate Crisis

October 01, 2015 By: Dale Lature G+ Category: ecotheology, Occupy Theology, People's Climate

I looked at the various denominations’ websites Home Pages back in 2011 at the beginnings of the Occupy Movement,  to look for how seriously the various denominations took their role as prophetic voices for economic justice.  The home pages didn’t seem to reflect much of a consciousness of the importance of the economic crisis at that moment.  Now,  as Pope Francis’  Encyclical (Laudato Si)   has brought the theological significance of the Climate Crisis front and center ,  I set out again to scan the various denomination’s websites for signs of re-thinking the role of the church in a Climate Crisis.  And once again,  the home pages gave little to no indication that this is something on the radar,  much less an issue of primary importance.

My thoughts in exploring this  level of focus on the Climate Crisis,  speaks to the sense of the urgency of the situation ,  and the church’s role in prophetic calling to rally the troops to do some “saving”,  only this time , it’s the very existence of humanity (or the millions that will suffer under the consequences of continued Climate Change forcings,  or even the failure to LIMIT what is already inevitable by seeking the most radical measures we can to at least mitigate what is coming).

Communication Agencies and Theological Education MUST take the lead on this.  There is work to be done on what story we tell about our mission now.  Times are different.  A New Reformation of theology is REQUIRED to be faithful to these moments,  which are truly apocalyptic.

If the Home page is to be seen as an indication of what a church body considers to be its mission and identity,  then the story they tell about what the Church is doing and what it considers crucial to ministry would be reflected there, in addition to the “Bio” information about offices, locations, leadership,  and organizations.  To what extent do the churches in our country consider the Climate Crisis to be a threat to the quality of life and justice,  if not the very functioning of civilization as we have known it?

Here is what I have observed so far:

  • SBC  (Southern Baptist Convention  nada
  • Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF )  nada
  • American Baptist – (ABC-USA ) nada
  • UMC (United Methodist Church  nada
  • Lutheran (ELCA  nada
  • PCUSA  (Presbyterian)    nada
  • UCC (United Church of Christ  “Latest news” item on Pope Francis and Interfaith climate leaders meeting
  • Episcopal (EcoJustice is in dropdown under Ministries)
  • Christian Church (Disciples of Christ )   Dropdown Under “Mission Work” Tab: EcoJustice,  Under Stewardship Tab: Climate
  • Eastern Orthodox (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America )  Dropdown under “OurFaith” :  Environment
    Orthodox Church in America   Nada Orthodox Church in America
  • Mennonite -nada  (unless you count what’s  Under “What We Believe” (not a dropdown) One of 7 priorities: “Creation Care” Under “Stewardship”  (so even here,  it is a sub-topic,  which is not good enough,  but we’ll check the others to see if they mention it (finding this caused me to go back and check the various “What We Believe” pages of the above,  and see how prominently Climate Crisis appears)

In this first pass through the major groups (that I could think of),  one would be hard pressed to get the impression that much is happening around Climate that the denomination considers of crucial importance,  since this would seem to warrant a more extensive emphasis “up front”, “above the fold”, so to speak.  Nearly all such things are buried deep within the menus of various specialty agencies.  The efforts of ministries the denominations desrire to highlight and publicize are brought forward as front page links on a consistent basis.

So I am asking myself questions like these as I peruse and traverse the websites:  How prominently does the Church’s work in Climate Change issues appear in the Church’s communications about itself?  How deep does one have to dig through the sections in order to find what is going on in the churches in addressing theses issues?  Are there any major, denomination-wide campaign efforts? And if so, how well are they held up in telling the story of the denomination’s ministry in responding to the crisis?

Not finding much to encourage me on those questions.  There is definitely work to be done to indicate that an ecotheology is emerging amongst the ranks of most of American Christendom.








FacebookTwitterGoogle+Google GmailTumblrShare

Will the Pope be a contributor to a new Protestant Refromation around EcoTheology?

September 21, 2015 By: Dale Lature G+ Category: ecotheology, Occupy Theology, OWS, People's Climate, Theoblogical

I am hoping that this is the case.  It needs to happen,  no matter what the strongest factors may be.  It needs to happen ,  at the very least,  because of the sheer scientific evidence and the consensus around that evidence.  There is a gathering this week on Thursday : “Coming Together in Faith on Climate”,  which is an ecumenical effort to bring the Pope’s message home to all the churches in America (and beyond).  I have been scanning the UMC website and ther News items,  looking for signs of consciousness.  Since beginning this effort,  I have been deeply concerned about the state of the coverage.  Nearly nil.  Not that there aren’t pockets of activity and small organizations seeking to bring their churches to a more conscious and intentional stance and mobilization. There certainly are.  This needs to be picked up by the UMC media,  at the very least because they are distinctively UMC efforts,  but a case can be made that the UMC and ll the denominations need to get beyond their denominational narcissism and proclaim the message that is not only inter-denominational,  but intra-religious, cutting across all theologies and calling them to an eco-renaissance or recovery.  This means a reformation;  a recovery of narratives that have been subsumed by a technological, extractive,  “instrumental” stance toward creation that has resulted in disastrous global effects on ecosystems. Our theology MUST shift to take note of this,  and speak a word about this from those elements we recover when we look again and anew at what our theological heritage can tell us.  And repent of those assimilations that we have allowed to cause us to veer askew into ecotheological heresy.  In other words,  just HERESY.

Help me test my blog comments system

September 18, 2015 By: Dale Lature G+ Category: Theoblogical

It’s that time again when I want to check my comments system. After the WordPress install just before LaborDay, and then the adding of a new post type (EcoEcclesia), I want to check the health of my Social Comments plug-in for WordPress. So if you have just a fee seconds, try leaving a test comment and name sure there aren’t errors or something ghat is unclear. And no, my site does not capture your password from Facebook, Twitter, Google, or Disqus when you do this. It uses an accepted way of authenticating you based on a token sent from your chosen social loving. Basically, Facebook or Twitter or whoever simply sends a bit that says you are authenticated on that site and passes on your public name on that site. Password/ log-in is not sent. I would appreciate any of you doing this for me.

.@TimDeChristopher on the Demand to End All New Fossil Fuel Leasing on Public Lands and Oceans via @DemocracyNow!

September 18, 2015 By: Theoblogical Category: ecotheology, Occupy Theology, OWS, People's Climate, Theoblogical

we’re no longer operating from a paradigm of deviating from the status quo, or operating from the paradigm of looking at the challenge of climate change and what’s actually necessary

Source: Tim DeChristopher on the Demand to End All New Fossil Fuel Leasing on Public Lands and Oceans | Democracy Now!

Why EcoEcclesia is also an OccupyTheology exercise

September 18, 2015 By: Theoblogical Category: ecotheology, Occupy Theology, OWS, People's Climate, Theoblogical

This post comes at the relationship between EcoEcclesia and OccupyTheology from opposite sides from the previous post.  In the previous post,  I reflected a bit upon why the Climate movement is like the Occupy movement,  springing from similar and related sets of causes (the oligarchy’s continuous drive to further consolidate power and economic stranglehold.   From another angle,  OccupyTheology is done as an exercise that seeks to identify questions that need to be posed to our theology that require a rethinking and reorientation,  and hopefully,  a RECOVERY of theological narrative that is up to the task of challenging the status quo which has constructed the unjust systems under which we now find ourselves.  With the growing Climate Crisis,  OccupyTheology needs an alternative branding to reflect the centrality of the EcoCrisis,  so I have added the identifier, EcoEcclesia,  to bring that out into the open as a place to begin and from which to operate.

EcoEcclesia clearly is an effort to highlight the “Ecologically-Centered” Church.  The root word for both ecology and ecclesia is the oikos,  or household (as it is also for the word “economy”,  or our “science” of keeping the household of human community “in order”;  the housekeeping required to attend to the smooth functioning of the community.  So EcoEcclesia,  in its close relationship to OccuyTheology,  recognizes the “Economic” as an integral player in this work of seeking to renew our household.