Video from PandoPopulus, ( Click here to begin at 24:50 is when Wes Jackson begins speaking)
Archive for the ‘Occupy Theology’
Pope Francis devotes an entire chapter of the encyclical to the need for an “ecological conversion” among Christians, “whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them. Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.”
An evangelism of ecology, I realize, is what I have been witnessing take shape during the past three days in Rome—in the talk of “spreading the good news of the encyclical,” of “taking the Church on the road,” of a “people’s pilgrimage” for the planet, in Miranda laying out plans to spread the encyclical in Brazil through radio ads, online videos, and pamphlets for use in parish study groups.
A millennia-old engine designed to proselytize and convert non-Christians is now preparing to direct its missionary zeal inward, challenging and changing foundational beliefs about humanity’s place in the world among the already faithful. In the closing session, Father McDonagh proposes “a three-year synod on the encyclical,” to educate Church members about this new theology of interconnection and “integral ecology.”
–Naomi Klein in “A Radical Vatican?”
This reads almost as a prayer , for me, for the renewal of the Church, and for a “conversion”; an “evangelization” as Naomi calls it (and I agree).
She’s onto something there; something deeply challenging for theology, and necessary for its advance (or some might say, instead of “advance”, to “turn it around” and halt it’s decline or its role as a corrupter of values necessary for survival and for justice.
“By asserting that nature has a value in and of itself, Francis is overturning centuries of theological interpretation that regarded the natural world with outright hostility—as a misery to be transcended and an ‘allurement’ to be resisted.” – Naomi Klein in “A Radical Vatican?” via The New Yorker
Yes, Naomi, it is a STEEP theological legacy that must be reformed. But that will take more time to undo than we have time for. So, for now, the church must be strong as an “Alliance” in participating in what needs to be done collectively as a human species, and only then, begin to offload the destructive baggage of a church that, all too often, imported the extractive, oppressive systems of the Empire.
another choice quote from the above article by Naomi Klein:
We’re here because many powerful Church insiders simply cannot be counted upon to champion Francis’s transformative climate message—and some would clearly be happy to see it buried alongside the many other secrets entombed in this walled enclave. – Naomi Klein in “A Radical Vatican?”, New Yorker Magazine
I get this same sense in the Mainline Denominations too. Although many in the leadership of those Mainliners are in support of environmental measures, I have yet to see much at all of a major “Crisis Level” emphasis. One reason often seems to be an extreme retiscence to address the topic at all, much less come off as “alarmist” about it. This article yesterday is a good one to read on the real concerns of Climate scientists :http://www.esquire.com/…/ballad-of-the-sad…/… It’s not only a major civilizational crisis of epic social justice proportions and extremely large challenges to the human population and other species, it is also, largely because of that, a major theological challenge as well. The civilizational threat may not be the “Day Job” of the UMC or any other church, but it seems that their communications might be informing us and conversing with us about the gravity of the problem. And it will eventually become more consequential to our Day Job, the more it impacts the level of economic, social, and ethical problems it precipitates.
Building on my last post here, I saw an article on UMNS , here, entitled “United Methodists achieve milestones despite differences” , and began the article with this:
Different viewpoints over societal changes have led some to speculate whether the unity of The United Methodist Church will hold when its top legislative body meets in May 2016. (the linked article there was all about the Gay Marriage issue)
but made no mention of Climate Change as a point of “issue contention”, so I once again reminded them in a comment:
Not mentioned in this article is the issue of the Climate Crisis, which will undoubtedly force additional “issue battle”, as one can see by exploring the comments on just about any article here touching on Climate Change. As the crisis deepens, this will be unavoidable. On the positive side, a deepening of the crisis will prove enlightening to many. It will break through the political intransigence for many. Question is, how long will it take? It behooves us as a church to be on the side of the inevitable, since we can see, through the science, that we are “locked in” to certain levels of increased warming, increased melting of ice, increased releasing of methane, and increased social strife (the latter according to even the Pentagon). The earlier we as a denomination and a Church of Jesus Christ can respond with relevance and support for what needs to be done, the better off our prospects for the future as a community which can bring us the resources to help us maintain our humanity in the perilous times ahead. (The thought about “maintaining our humanity” can be heard in a video statement I got from Tim DeChristopher last month when I was at a conference “Seizing An Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization” put on by Claremont School of Theology’s Center for Process Studies. Check out the video here