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Archive for the ‘OWS’

Obama has some catching up to do on ACTIONS and POLICIES re: Climate Change

November 13, 2014 By: Dale Lature G+ Category: ecotheology, Occupy Theology, OWS, People's Climate

Bill McKibben published his thoughts on what the deal with China means and doesn’t mean. One stood out forme.

It is not remotely enough to keep us out of climate trouble

via The Big Climate Deal: What It Is, and What It Isn’t | Bill McKibben

We need to rid ourselves and our leaders from the notion that “finally” we’re actually doing something significant.  Indeed,  SOMETHING is very obviously better than nothing,  but the question we now have to heed is “What is enough?” and the answer is NOTHING.  All we can do is do EVERYTHING possible to avoid the worst.  The real “heresy” to our system is that we have to “leave trillions of fossil fuels IN THE GROUND”,  and that means forfeiting dollars.  But fortunately (hopefully “fortunately”)  those aren’t the ONLY dollars.  There are dollars in alternatives,  meaning JOBS, and REAL measures to produce and develop RETOOLING to turn this around.  We won’t be able to avoid what has already been done to the ecosphere.  And some of what we have done over the years is still pending as to its more visible consequences (visible at least to the public pysche,  unlike to that of the people who study this and see far more than we have been passed by the majority of the media.)

Hopefully,  this is another sign that more and more of the facts we need will be allowed through to be pondered and thus “allowed to sink in”,  so that this will become a larger and larger movement.

McKibben puts it most appropriately:

It isn’t, in other words, a reason to slack off a bit in the ongoing fight for a livable climate, a fight our civilizations are in great danger of losing.If we want this to be a start, and not a finish, we’ve got to build even bigger and more powerful movements that push the successors of these gentlemen to meet what science demands. Today’s an achievement for everyone who’s held a banner, signed a petition, and gone to jail — and a call for many more to join us going forward!

The staggering irresponsibility of Imhofe’s Climate -denying “God is up there” #PeoplesClimate #EcoTheology

November 12, 2014 By: Dale Lature G+ Category: ecotheology, Occupy Theology, OWS, People's Climate

Senator Inhofe (set to become the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee)   quoted the Bible (Genesis 8:22) to support his thesis. “My point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous,” he said.

Genesis 8:22  
22 As long as the earth endures,

    seedtime and harvest, cold and heat,
summer and winter, day and night,
    shall not cease.”
– New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

 Oh , my word.  The literalist strikes again.  Reminds me of the old argument that the Sun revolved around the earth,  based on a similar passage,  taken cluelessly literal.

Imhofe has it exactly BACKWARDS.  “To think that we, human beings,  would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous”.  No,  what is outrageous is MISSING the message throughout ALL of Scripture that life is interdependent and interwoven,  and that we have responsibility as STEWARDS.  “To have dominion” is in the sense of a responsible, just King over his subjects.  To take the LITERAL here (“domination”) is to ignore WHY the word “dominion” came to be used to describe the “kingdoms” of “rulers”.  That very question is embedded in the quarrels between God and the Israelites over the desire to have a “king”.  God was against it.  The message is clear:  God intended the People of God to be of a different order than what the world knows as “Kingdom” or “Nation”.  The “dominion” God desires is one where “the kingdoms of this earth have become the Kingdom of our Lord”;  one where the “Sacrifice that God desires” is “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

But like the saying goes,   “One will have a difficulty understanding something when his livelihood depends on his not understanding it”.  This can apply to the entire project of the selective literalist interpretative schools.  The most “convenient” Biblical interpretation to disseminate to the masses is one which communicates a congruence with the earth resources as “product” to be taken as booty to feed the machines of progress.  The earth as ecosystem is made subservient to the economic system.

The outrage  is to turn the Biblical message on its head and insist that the earth is OURS as owners,  as exploiters in an “I-It” relation rather than an “I-Thou” and an “I-as-participant-with-Thou”.  To suggest that the earth is LIMITLESS in its ecosystem is to suggest that the Biblical writers had ANY INKLING of what technological reach humankind was to have in the centuries and millinea to come.  (Which is one reason why “An omniscient all-knowing God”  who dictates word for word the content of the Bible — and therefore it is to be taken as “science clues” about the nature of creation — has taken such hold.  Reminds me of the movie “The Book of Eli” where the Bible was sought out by the malevolent, greedy forces that ruled part of the post-Apocalyptic planet,  as a means of population control.  The “message” was to be cast in a light which “proves” the right to rule of the interpreters.  And so Western powers REALLY LIKE the dualisms of the Greeks,  where spirit and matter are put at odds in the great battle between good and evil.

To deny the challenge to human hubris that should be plain with even a traditional “Read Through the Bible” (ie Babel, Noah,  etc.)  is to write yet another tale of the capacity of human societies to let greed and hubris take over the driver’s seat and proceed with reckless abandon.  We could add the likes of Imhofe as one of those stories that continue the history of humankind’s insistence that “success” = “might” – “right”.   But we have science that now brings home the message that we have again trespassed beyond the bounds of responsibility (and have been for AT LEAST the 80’s – which is only when we began to see clear indications of what was happening to the ecosystem).

Again,  a clear and present danger;  A call to re-examine “First Works” (as Larry Rasmussen says in his wonderful ecotheological work, “Earth-Honoring Faith”, where Rasmussen draws from James Baldwin’s The Price of the Ticket:

In the church I come from— which is not at all the same church to which white Americans belong— we were counseled, from time to time, to do our first works over. Go back to where you started, or as far back as you can, examine all of it, travel your road again and tell the truth about it. Sing or shout or testify or keep it to yourself but know whence you came. 6
Rasmussen, Larry L. (2012-10-02). Earth-honoring Faith: Religious Ethics in a New Key (p. 44). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Rasmussen goes on to elaborate:

our first works construct the mindsets and sensibilities with which we attend to the world in the first place. If we benefit from that world, our first works also flatter us with biases that favor us and turn our good luck and advantages into achievements we’re certain we’ve earned. Our motherboard is hardwired to favor the results we desire.
Rasmussen, Larry L. (2012-10-02). Earth-honoring Faith: Religious Ethics in a New Key (p. 45). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

(the notation – number 6 above in the first quotation which is from Baldwin –  is also very instructive:

James Baldwin, The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction, 1948– 1985 (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1985), xix. Baldwin was not sanguine about white Americans’ ability to do their first works over. In a dialogue with Reinhold Niebuhr at the time of the civil rights movement, he had this to say: “The only people in this country at the moment who believe either in Christianity or in the country are the most despised minority in it …. It is ironical … the people who were slaves here, the most beaten and despised people here … should be at this moment … the only hope this country has …. None of the descendants of Europe seem to be able to do, or have taken it on themselves to do, what Negroes are now trying to do. And this is not a chauvinistic or racial outlook. It probably has something to do with the nature of life itself. It forces you, in any extremity, any extreme, to discover what you really live by, whereas most Americans have been for so long, so safe and so sleepy, that they don’t any longer have any real sense of what they live by. I think they really think it may be Coca-Cola.” From the audiotape of the dialogue, n.d., as reported by James H. Cone in The Cross and the Lynching Tree (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2011), 54.
Rasmussen, Larry L. (2012-10-02). Earth-honoring Faith: Religious Ethics in a New Key (p. 375). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

If it is true that “Our motherboard is hardwired to favor the results we desire.” ,  we have some hacking to do.

 

Resist the beginnings of compromises

November 10, 2014 By: Dale Lature G+ Category: ecotheology, Occupy Theology, OWS, People's Climate

Larry Rasmussen , writing about Bonhoeffer, also aptly describes what we need to respond to the climate crisis: to see through the passive, blind, denial of the dire consequences toward which we are allowing ourselves to be pulled.

Resist the beginnings of compromises that dull the moral senses and take their ease in a life of cheap grace. Resist the beginnings that give evil, willed blindness, and civic passivity a foothold. Don’t let the right eye wink at complicity or the left hand abet it. Resist becoming unwitting accomplices to an errant leader. Resist all the places in your own soul that give way. A discerning spirituality is as vital as the right politics and indispensable to it.
– from an article in Sojourners Feb 2006 http://ow.ly/E3KY4

These calls to resistance,  from Bonhoeffer’s warnings re: the Nazi threat to the church,  still  indeed speak of  highly valuable skills needed by the church to resist the pressures of the state that prod us toward destructive actions,  little by little.  The climate crisis is no longer “little”,  but the steps we have taken toward it,  as they impact the climate (as far as we have been able (or , more accurately, willing)  to see,  are deceptively benign.  We are now seeing that these benign steps,  wrought continuous and long,  are anything but benign.  But this is the insidious nature of the gradual push of a corrupt and dangerous state;  push as far as it can with minimal political detection,  until it can precipitate a crisis which it will then also use as an excuse to implement even harsher measures (invoking Naomi Klein’s previous book here,  The Shock Doctrine) .

Simply put,  we, the church, have to AWAKEN.  Ecotheology has NEVER been so sorely needed (unless you rightly demur that if we had kept a Biblical, ecotheological faith all along,  we would not have the crisis that now calls for sharp subtractions of extractions and burning of fossil fuels,  and radical altering of our economic assumptions.

From Social Justice to Creation Justice by Dr.LarryRasmussen (video)

November 09, 2014 By: Dale Lature G+ Category: ecotheology, Occupy Theology, OWS, People's Climate

Presently reading Earth-Honoring Faith: Religious Ethics in a New Key by Larry Rasmussen, who gives a lecture on the topic here. Key quote::

If Social Justice itself is not henceforth also Creation justice, then it too will fail.

 

 

via The 2014 Lazareth Lecture: Dr.LarryRasmussen – YouTube.

Occupy Distortions of Dominion #PeoplesClimate #OccupyTheology

November 08, 2014 By: Dale Lature G+ Category: ecotheology, Occupy Theology, OWS, People's Climate

Liberation Theologian Leonardo Boff,  on ecosystem:

That is why I am extending the intuitions of liberation theology and demonstrating their validity and applicability for the questions enveloping the Earth, our bountiful mother.

– Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor (Ecology & Justice) (Kindle Locations 167-168). Orbis Books. Kindle Edition.

This speaks to me in my quest to express ecotheological concerns in the context of an “Occupy Theology”.  I am “extending the intuitions” of Occupy Theology into the apprehension of the ecological crisis we have wrought.  It is ,  as liberation theology is for Boff,  able to see the crisis through the lens of the oppressed,  which also includes the physical ecosystem as victim of the “tamed and subjected” paradigm,  which runs counter to the Biblical message and which has been distorted and re-interpreted by the colonial and now post-colonial mind-set.  To “have dominion” is interpreted as “use as you will and let the ‘have nots’ deal with the consequences” (which will wind up proving false,  since the consequences disproportionately  fall initially upon the poor and the “forgotten places of empire” but will eventually become “unhidable”.)  There are only so many rugs under which to sweep the waste product and their consequences.  The ecosystem has always operated under the expectation that “dominion” is exercised with the care that comes with the knowledge that we are , indeed, systemic.  Our economies and ecology are interdependent.  Our global village now has the reach ,  not only in communications,  but in the technological impact,  to affect EVERYONE and EVERYTHING.

Just as the Occupy movement has recognized the spiraling out of control of global elites which has built up massive inequality (and this has been accelerating at the pace of that technology),  it also sees the consequences that it has been decrying in the economic system also impacting the ecological system.  But as Naomi Klein points out in her marvelous book “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate”,  the cumulative effects of Climate Change are not as reversible as the economy.  We can change unjust systems through reform and revolution,  but the sustainability of the habitat we share is an ecological system that has already begun to diminish in its system of renewal (ie. Ice melting,reducing sun reflection and increased sea levels).  We’ve already “locked in” certain degradations,  and seem poised to heap more upon that,  if we refuse to heed the warning signs.  Just as we have seen the impact of empires upon the poor and non-rich,  we are also being directed economically toward ever more unsustainable environmental impacts.  The narrative of the world’s empires have resulted in the economic injustices that the Occupy movement has brought to the public awareness,  and that same empire narrative leads to the exploitation of the natural world at levels inconceivable in prior human history.  So Occupy Theology not only sees the need to “Occupy” the various seats of power in the economic world,  but also has begun to see the need to stand between the exploitative processes and the environment that needs protecting.

The Biblical paradigm is one at odds with this “over things” version;  the “being with them” is the Biblical paradigm.  Or like Hagar discovered,  God is “the one who sees”;  Sees the outcast and sees ALL as within the relational balance which is the ecosystem;  the ecosystem is God’s incarnate theology.