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Notes on echatology and apocalypse in considering Christian theology in an ageof Climate Crisis

May 12, 2015 By: Dale Lature G+ Category: ecotheology, Occupy Theology, People's Climate

Eschatology:  the end or goal of time/reality/life…not emphasizing “judgment day” as punishment and revenge of God upon evil,  but as the purpose of the Kingdom of God to redeem/renew

Apocalypse:  the literature that utilizes certain imagery to tell an eschatological narrative;  the “upheaval” or “great evil” being experienced is the imagery employed to provide a narrative of the directing of ends to redemption;  it is rehabilitative;  renewing; transforming.

More eschatology in the Apocalypse of John:
A “New Heaven and a New Earth”.   And why do we need a “New Heaven”?  This seems to be a hint of the interdependence of reality and “ultimate things”…it’s not a “transcendent God” but an immanent one,  whose presence is not “ethereal”  but intergrated;  panENtheistic rather than pantheistic; although there is a place for Pantheism in the considerations like Micheal Dowd’s “God is reality” …….to posit a God who is inseparable from the cosmos , and is “separated” only by the need for a narrative of “creator” or “Insitigator”.

So the apocalyptic writers (or the writers who employed this vehicle of narrative),  took imagery from history and politics of their time,  and shaped that into a tale of God directing it to an end (or better, goal or telos).  The Kingdom of God is thus an echatological concept and reality at work that embodies in human history a movement toward that end,  to which Christian eschatology aspires and attempts to narrate.

The Climate Crisis supplies an uber-crisis of existence,  with far wider consequences than a particular people in a particular place.  It was foreshadowed (in an archetypal fashion)  by the use of natural phenomenon in the apocalyptic narrative,  as if the writers assumed the ultimate value of nature, and that upheaval there was tantamount to upheaval in the heavens;  an upheaval of existence itself.expulsion

The fact that we have reached a place in history these past 300 years where we have actually “reached into the heavens” (by building a colossal system of technology and extraction and expulsion that reaches into the workings of the ecosystem by an outpouring of literally record and previously unimaginable amounts of previously “neutral” elements –“neutral” in that they represent a working part of the functioning ecosystem;  their “neutrality” begins to change into “degradation” as the balance of those elements in the ecosphere reaches dysfunctional levels).  By “reaching into the heavens” ,  we’ve created a literal/physical  apocalypse for the ecosystem.  It is unprecedented in human history (having been built and expanded over just the last 300 years since the beginnings of Industrialization).

It is certainly understandable how there is widespread denial and outright hostility to this idea.  This is the only world we have ever known,  or will know (at least as this particular instance of humanity at this particular time-  the latter is perhaps a form my own denial of an impending end).  In our hubris as a species, one which has become accustomed to seeing ourselvesd as “in control” and “masters of the universe” by apparent conquest,  we hav fashioned for ourselves a notion of the “inevitability of progress”,  which has become a part of even the most liberal of ideological dreams.

How do we address this as a Christian people?  As a “People of the World” , or “citizens of the cosmos”? This , for me, is a crucial question for theology to be asking as we move forward.

 

Friedman: On Trade: Obama Right, Critics Wrong // Not so fast.

May 12, 2015 By: Dale Lature G+ Category: Uncategorized

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/29/opinion/thomas-l-friedman-on-trade-obama-right-critics-wrong.html?_r=0

Interesting, but this misses something. This is still all based on what the trade deals are “supposed” to do; in other words, the PR that highlights the “benefits”. The whole assumption behind this argument is that the trade deals will actually serve as a resource for what Freidman says needs to happen. This kind of stuff, whether partially true, mostly true, or completely false, is secondary to what kind of trade and what kind of practices are going to be strengthened. And the history of these trade deals, including the same kinds of claims on “what they will do for America and free trade”, is long and infamous for things like shipping jobs overseas, expanding “work camp/concentration camp” instances around the world, and making it easier for corporations to have even more power over what nations who may resist can do about it on behalf of their people. If you saw the Sanders appearance on Andrea Mitchell show yesterday, he highlighted the proposals in the deal allowing corporatoions to sue the countries that “interfere” with their “right to make a profit”. Sounds like a scary license to give corporations.

Friedman

Indignant condemnation of young people throwing stones while little outrage for daily injustices

April 28, 2015 By: Dale Lature G+ Category: Ferguson, Occupy Theology

“I am so grateful to Ta-Nehisi Coates* for expressing so well the frustration I feel watching the media coverage of the protests in Baltimore. I believe in non-violence not just as a tactic, but as a way of life. Yet I cannot stomach the indignant condemnation of young people throwing stones and looting stores when those same indignant politicians and media pundits muster so little outrage for the daily, routine violence inflicted by law enforcement on poor communities of color, including the literal war – a drug war – that has been waged in Freddy Gray’s neighborhood for decades. I say yes to peaceful protests, but no to blatant hypocrisy.” – from Michelle Alexander on her Facebook post/link

 

* Coates article she is talking about

Have you had a “conversion” experience regarding the Climate Crisis?

April 25, 2015 By: Dale Lature G+ Category: ecotheology, Occupy Theology, OWS, People's Climate

What Micheal Dowd, in a conversation with him, referred to as a “Come to Jesus moment about the climate”, I expect has been rthe experience of many over the past decade, and the frequency of those have probably plunged upward much like the Hockey Stick made famous by Climatologist Micheal Mann. I have certainly had such a conversion. It’s a whole new level and perspective, even outlook , on life as we know it today and how we envision the future. It has totally impacted the way I am looking at theology these days. I see a whole new instance and circumstance for human life just as the Biblical writers who employed the apocalyptic style saw a set of historical circumstances that radically altered their orientation toward the future. The Climate Crisis, it seems to me, is one such circumstance. Perhaps the most momentous, calamitous, far-reaching circumstance that represents an unprecedented challenge to human life and civilization.
And so my orientation toward the present and future (and the past as well) has changed in a dramatic way. It has had an intense impact on the shape of the calling I now perceive to be my role as a communicator and technologist, as well as a theologian. It is the reason why I have found it crucial for me to be in Claremont at Pomona College for the conference: “Seizing an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization”, for I see that this can be a strategic time for those of us who know that the church MUST come alive to this challenge, in a way that again poses a challenge to the forces of empire that have now aligned with the forces of fossil fuel industries as what I can only name as an instance of those Principalities and Powers that Paul had in mind.
This theological vision has opened up a whole new room/vista into which I have walked. It is completely of a piece with what has gone before in my journey. And it makes all the sense in the world to me that I dove into Naomi Klein’s “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate” as soon as it came out, and had it open up for me this door that had stayed shut in my experience that was keeping me from letting it in to my perspective on time and The Kingdom of God. The kinds of life challenges we now face as human civilization are in dire need of the resources of the visions for human community contained in our Christian scriptures, and have been offered up by a host of other theological traditions and explorers of alternative forms of community.

Climate Doublespeak from Jeb

April 17, 2015 By: Dale Lature G+ Category: ecotheology, Occupy Theology, OWS

Jeb Bush: “The climate is changing and I’m concerned about that,” Bush responded. “But to be honest with you, I’m more concerned about the hollowing out of our country, the hollowing out of our industrial core, the hollowing out of our ability to compete in an increasingly competitive world.”  http://ow.ly/LKMw6

Oh my gosh. In other words, NO, I’m not REALLY concerned, compared to this same old “inevitable progress”, “unlimited growth” bullshit that’s coming out of the other side of my mouth as I express “concern”. What a phony “CONCERN”. And what a frightening example of the absolute inability to realize REAL LIMITS to our “Progress”.