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Archive for the ‘Occupy Theology’

The absence of any sustained and serious effort re: The Climate Crisis in recent UMCom history

July 29, 2015 By: Theoblogical Category:

So, I scan the timeline*, and at no time has the issue of the Climate Crisis been considered worthy of a serious communication effort, even as this has become glaringly obvious as a reality of IMMENSE social , political, and economic upheaval. When will this cross the threshold from “an issue” among others, to a Crisis worthy of SERIOUS ethical, theological, and technological reflection? UMC is certainly not alone in this neglect of the Crisis. The American churches , in particular, must awaken to the level of responsibility we bear as a nation for this situation. And the churches, as bearers of theological resources to “speak the truth to power”, MUST begin undertaking this task.

*  I do not expect that this urgency would go back to the earliest days of the discovery of the global warming problem (which I set at around 1988, when James Hansen first went public with the concern of many in the climate science community).  But as the evidence mounted,  this became a bigger and more urgent call for the churches to begin to speak up.

Climate as “Topic” on Denomination’s Website?

July 26, 2015 By: Dale Lature G+ Category: ecotheology, Occupy Theology, People's Climate

So I see this page on UMC.org under “What We Believe” and “UMC Topics”  at http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/united-methodist-topics

I scan,  see no listing for Climate Change or even Environment.

So I click “Ask A Question” and submit this:

I am asking this questiuon from the page http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/united-methodist-topics

I want to know if “Climate Change” or “Climate Crisis” is ever going to make this list? It certainly belongs on this list and is much more wide-ranging in its possible consequences, especially if we Christians and UMethodists continue to relaegate it to the “every once in a while mention” status it is getting lately, which is BACKWARDS from what should be the case. BACKWARDS because we are learning ever more about how serious this matter has been getting as we continue on our merry way with business as usual. PLEEEZ, pay attention.

A little confrontive, you say?  You betcha.  This cannot be left unquestioned?  How is this NOT a “Church Topic”, “Huge Issue”, “Worthy of being ‘obsessed’ over”?

I go MUCH further than these rather obvious questions.  Why is this even relegated to “News” or “Topics” or “Issues”.  This needs to become a HUGE, Theology-shaping, Reformative issue for the very way we conceive of ourselves as a church in this time where the very issue of civilization and human survival is at stake?  It is APOCALYPTIC,  and yes,  in the truly Biblical sense.  It is literally to shape how we articulate our theology.  And this is NO HYBERBOLE.  Theologically, scientifically, or logically.  It’s the reality.

I want my present home denomination to wake up to this reality,  in a MUCH , MUCH bigger and obvious way.  The Reformation we need here is much larger than that “Protestant Reformation”.  This is something we can’t “Compartmentalize” and insist that the church is all about “Spiritual Things” ,  and by implication,  NOT Social or Political or “Environmental Issues”.  That is a most destructive version of Gnosticism.  The deepest disservice that Gnosticism does is to cordon God off into this “Spiritual reality” that does not intersect and interact and flow through the creation in which we find ourselves.  God is very much : “in, with, and permeates ALL” things.  God is best conceived as a holy dialogue back and forth between Pan-EN-Theism and the One.*

* I have begun a book “Ask The Beasts” by Elizabeth A. Johnson that will be diving into the concept of the “Word become flesh” and how the word for “Flesh” is Sarc(s),  which , contrary to the common conception,  is different from the anthropomorphic flesh,  but of “life substance”…not only human life,  but life in the cosmos; God became “part of creation” and that in which it all “holds together” (Col. 1:17) The Colossians reference is mine,  not Johnson’s (unless she happens to incorporate it.  I don’t know yet.  Haven’t gotten that far into it yet). Stay tuned for lots of postings here and on other social media as I read on.

upcoming UMComm 75th anniversary: Will they help the church to tell the Climate Story and to participate in the New Economy?

July 25, 2015 By: Dale Lature G+ Category:

Saw this article on the UMC.org website this week,  and ,  as I am apparently programmed to do,  reflected upon it in the context of “A Church in a time of Climate Crisis”,  or “A Planet in Peril” (as I once heard Phillip Clayton say).  There was no place for me to make comments below this article which was published at the UMComm website,  so I “Shared” the post on my Facebook timeline with the following lead-in:

Let’s hope that the Communications agency of the United Methodist Church considers it a calling to begin to help the church awaken to the urgency of the Climate Crisis, which will, in the NEXT 75 years, become more and more obvious, intense, and destructive of cities, communities, economies, and all of life. Talk about a “Pro-Life” issue. And it’s not just something “75 years in the future that we can push to the side and say, “we’ll deal with that later”. What is happening NOW and into the next 75 years is largely already caused by what we’ve ALREADY done. What we must do now is to change course, and seek to DECREASE the amount of dire effects we will experience. I think this is an issue that is arguably the most far-reaching ethical issue humanity has ever faced. It is past time for the church to begin acting like it.

A new conceiving of “Mission” for our crisis situation

July 15, 2015 By: Dale Lature G+ Category:

I tweeted these three tweets out to my 3 Twitter accounts yesterday,  and again just a few minutes ago.

Our churches should be generating ministries of “Eco-Mission”
Let us not allow this to become a point of great O-mission
Rather, it should be considered an integral part of “The Great Commission” as we seek to be a church in the Anthopocene

This is an enormous issue for theology today,  in a time where churches aligning with the values of Empire and Oligarchy have adopted an ideology of strident opposition to economic and ecological change.   Ecological change requires a radical re configuring of our economic and social awareness.  And theological legacies have been built which fail to take in to account the ecological limitations,  which was inconceivable to a pre-scientific mind which perceived the earth as infinitely unlimited.  The cosmology was severely restricted to literally what we could then perceive with the senses.  That is no longer the case.

Top (10 or 13) Things To Do As An Ecological Steward

July 13, 2015 By: Theoblogical Category:

A Twitter acquaintance (Ryan; met him via some post comments on UMC.org), asked me via Twitter yesterday:  “Can you give me a list of top 10 things to do to live as an ecological steward?” .  I responded with a followup , clarifying question:  “as individuals, collectives, or all of the above?”.   And  also : “regardless of your reply, that is a great subject for a blog post. Thanks! might do 10 of each ( individual,collective)”.   and then “that has opened up such an awesome theological exploration for me. Thanks again. I will attribute the question to you.”

And then I offered up a “preview”:  “this may take a day or two….but major will be getting off fossil fuels ASAP, with attention to how urgently (fast)” followed by “that’s a collective one, but it syncs with an individual one: to work on the church level to raise awareness in that collective”

I would say that is my number one.  As one working in the Web communications business since 1994,  and doing it almost exclusively from within the church,  this is my natural concern:  that the church awaken to its call to be a “City on a Hill”; to be a foretaste of Kingdom-of-God living.  The conference I attended at Pomona College Claremont , CA ,  organized by the Center for Process Studies (and John Cobb)  ,  “Seizing An Alternative: Toward An Ecological Civilization” sounded like a call to me.  That “Ecological Civilization” is all about a wholistic approach in all disciplines,  with a keen focus on ecology and economics as they pertain to “The Common Good”.

So,  I think I will do two lists,  and these lists overlap at points,  as I anticipated in my initial response tweets, listed above.

So far,  I have a total of 13,  but I want to end up with 10 of each.

Collective
1.  getting off fossil fuels ASAP

2. include the ecological costs in our accounting and economics

3. develop programs to promote and incentivize individuals/families to implement solar for electricity

4. Ramp up dramatically the move to ZERO emissions autos (electric, not “hybrid”)

5. Collaborate with the world efforts to seriously address the problem of global economy being so dominated by oil interests.

6.Get the churches involved in lobbying government to recognize the neccessity of immediate re-orientation efforts

7. More to add as I think of them

 

Individuals/Families

1. Be present in your church and share your concerns about the Ecological (and increasingly, Economic)  crisis we face.

2. Get moving to find programs (or be active in efforts to get them going) to promote solar for homes and businesses (syncs up with number 3 collective)

3. Economize on trips, errands, water usage (especially hot water that uses both water and electricity) , heating and air, and local food over big chain, big brand (which cuts down on emissions created in transporting food, and on demand for high-carbon “Big Agro” production)

4. Waste less food and water

5. Move to much -lower emissions means of transport in personal transport (public transport where feasible), especially in choice of vehicles (Electric is preferrable over hybrid, which still creates emissions, only 50% less,  which is good,  but don’t stop there.

6. Find active organizing, lobbying group such as “Citizen’s Climate Lobby” to hook up with people collaborating on ways to help the collective.

7. Stay educated on Climate issues,  and avoid the “Denier” memes propogated by conservative media,  and the “jury’s still out” debates that pit the science vs the “Denier-groups” which are largely funded by fossil fuel interests.  Staying educated will also help you to add new items to this list.  Hopefully, some day,  and very soon,  you will be able to find “Eco-mission” with people in your congregation.

8. More to add as I think of them

 

My online friend Ryan is at @ColtsFan254 on Twitter.  Ryan is much more conservative theologically and politically than I am,  but he has engaged me on 2-3 occasions via Twitter,  and as I have told him,  he has been a help and a very civil debater on these topics.