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Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

It is hard to not be effected by what has been happening in Japan over these last several days. Coupled with other recent events such as the cyclone and subsequent flooding in Queensland, Australia, and the ongoing political tension in Libya and the Middle East, it brings me down to earth about the hard reality of this world. In particular it makes me wonder about the future, the Kingdom of God, and what God has planned for the earth.

Searching for ideas about what to make of all this, I stumbled across a blog post by Daniel James Levy on the American Evangelical Environmental Network website.

Growing up he had a “view of the world which in turn will one day end in some kind of cataclysmic explosion, which of course included some kind of nuclear missiles, huge machine guns, and the death of trillions of people and animals. After this, God will one day blow up the entire cosmos, just as He spoke it into existence.”

Yet as a youth Levy explains that struggled to reconcile this picture of the future with the call for Christians to spread the Good News and make the world a better place.

Levy writes,

“I remember vividly leaving my youth group one Wednesday night when I was 15 years old, the youth pastor talked about trying to lead people to Christ, to make the world a better place, and so on, but it never made sense in my head. “Why if this world is getting dramatically worst day by day (as his theology taught) would I labor to bring a difference here and now, if it will ultimately do nothing”, I said to myself. So when Jesus said He feeds the birds of the air, I could never make sense to why He does. The only reason it could be, was of course, for me.”

Levy explains the journey he has been on to reconcile this tension.

Drawing on what Stassen and Gunshee in Kingdom Ethics call a covenantal perspective – where covenants such as God’s covenant with creation after the Flood, and the laws of the Israelites which included duties involving non-human creation – Levy explains that we are invited to participate with God in the care of creation.

He writes, we “…are supposed to be a reflection of His nature in the world, which includes His care for the creation.”

While I was hoping that Levy would fill out more what this means and involves (I suppose we have to read Kingdom Ethics for more) he finishes with a beautiful illustration from New Testament scholar N.T. Wright.

Wright describes that for a person moving into a foreign land it is best that they know the language of the locals before they arrive, rather than learning when they get there. That way, when they arrive, they feel at home and a sense of place. He then compares this to us in the here and now and the future Kingdom of God in its fullness.

I don’t know exactly what this means for Queensland and Japan, but it does give me a sense of purpose, something to set my mind to, in an orientation of hope and expectation. In the face of floods and cyclones, I can still all be learning a language of love.

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What is sin? Is it doing something naughty? Or, is it greater than that – is it anything that separates us from God?

If sin is an act of hurt, an attitude of selfishness, or a community of thoughtlessness, then sin is great indeed.

If that then, is the enormity of sin, how much greater must be the grace of God, to cover it all…

And all the wickedness in the world that man might work or think is no more to the mercy of God than a live coal in the sea”

– William Langland

Kim Cornford, in a recent talk, considers the nature of sin, the amazing grace of God, the gift of salvation, and what we can do in response to God. It is a thought-provoking story about her own journey in understanding climate change, as well as an insightful discussion on these Christian themes.

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An unlikely coalition of numerous Australian groups and organisations, including World Vision and the Uniting Church, is today calling for our political representatives to take action on climate change.

In this unique time in Australian politics, this statement, written to the Independent MPs and all political parties, is a striking example of what is on the hearts and minds citizens, and of religious, political, social and economic groups in Australia.

In a statement on the move today, Greenpeace CEO Linda Selvey points out:

Climate change is not just an environmental issue. It is an economic, social, ethical, and public health issue.”

The statement calls for a price on carbon as a “critical tool” to reduce carbon pollution.

Eleine Poulos, the Uniting Church’s National Director explained the need for todays call:

The environment is not merely a resource for us to plunder. It is a sacred gift from God and if we don’t treat it as such, we risk the planet and our very own future.”

This statement has been endorsed by a huge variety of groups, including the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Oxfam Australia, the Climate Institute, GetUp and Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

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Can we trust what some scientists are saying?

Is climate change real?

How can the climate be warming when places like Melbourne have had amazing cold snaps this winter? Forget four seasons in one day – it’s one season, and its cold.

Adam Morton from The Age reports on a new study that says global warming is undeniable.

The 2009 State of the Climate Report, published by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found the last decade was the hottest around the world since modern temperature records began.

In addition to rising temperatures (the report found that each year between 2000 and 2009 were hotter than the average global temperature for the 1990s, and, in the same way, each year between 1990 and 1999 were hotter than the 1980), the report pointed to places which experienced unusually hot and cold periods and extreme weather. Taking a closer look at home, Morton considers events in Australia last year, like the heat waves in the south-east of Australia in January and February which took many lives, and large-scale flooding in Queensland later in the year.

The report answers my question about Melbourne. The authors of the report believe that there will still be cold spells but they won’t be as intense or frequent as what they have been in the past.

How can we believe what they’re saying though?

There were more than 300 scientists who analised data for the report.

The information came from 7000 weather stations in 48 countries.

In addition, for the first time, data from several climate indicators were put together. These include data from: glacier, snow and sea ice cover, temperature over land and sea and temperatures from the lower atmosphere.

Co-author of the report Derek Arndt explains: “It’s testing all the parts, and they’re all in agreement that the same thing’s going on.”

Does this answer our questions?

Can we trust these scientists and the data that they’ve used?

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Check out this Bible study by ChristopBrooks based on the story of Noah’s Arc.

See here: “Without the rain there would be no rainbow.”

To Christop’s list of engaging questions, I would add one question inspired by Michael Northcott and others (such as Robert Murray):

What does it mean for us, that the covenant that God establishes after the flood is between not only God and humans, but also includes every living thing on the planet?

God explains his creature-loving covenant at least three times in the passage.

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Psychologists meeting in Melbourne this week reckon that politicians should seek their advice when designing policy on climate change. They say they have insight into how people think which would make policy more appropriate and ultimately more successful.

Professor Robert Gifford explains one barrier in attitudes at the moment: “We ask ourselves, ‘If people like me don’t ride bicycles or recycle, why should I?’”

This quote got me thinking. In fact, I’d say it captures why cultivatingFaith has a personal blog element. I am telling my own stories about lifestyle decisions to encourage and inspire others to action, and encourage others to tell their story as well (because it isn’t all about me).

I am not saying that the lifestyle choices I make are for everyone or are the answer to climate change. I am writing this blog so you can say, “GreenFish rides a bicycle and recycles, so I can too.”

I want this blog to take on a life of its own. My vision for it is that my own stories are drowned out in the plethora of stories that others share. That is an invitation to you to contribute.

(Article by Elizabeth Gallagher, “Gillard ‘needs a shrink’ for a greener Australia,” The Sunday Age, July 11 2010).

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