Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Monday, March 12, 2007

climate change... heated debate

It appears that Christians are divided over whether or not to worry about global warming. Dr. James Dobson and Chuck Colson, both indicate that this subject turns our attention away from more pressing matters. I'm not even going to bother debating the science of global warming. Watch the movie. Read the counterpoints - make your own call. Riding your bike more - getting a smaller car - and using public transportation, though, certainly can't hurt the planet!

What interests me is the larger debate about how Christians decided what matters are 'pressing'. And it's at this point that I find a severe case of 'mis-proportion' when it comes to deciding what the more pressing issues are. Is curtailing the rights of homosexuals in the population at large really more important than taking steps to lessen the impacts of our consumerist, debt driven, polluting economy? I would argue that the church's calling has never been to curtail to rights of any people group or minority in the population at large, and that such efforts deserve not little support, but no support. "What do have to do with judging outsiders?" Paul says. Thus, no matter what you think of God's position on homosexuality within the church, it's impossible to justify the great lengths to which many in the church are moving in order to curtail their basic human rights.

On the other hand, our stewardship of the planet is a clear mandate, originating in God's charge given to Adam and Eve in the garden, and rearticulated, indirectly, through the many Psalms which speak of creation as a powerful testimony of God's character.

So what exactly do our friends mean when they say we should be about 'more pressing matters?' - Help me understand... as I ponder the church's calling to invest limited time and resources.


At 13/3/07 00:09, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pastor Dahlstrom-

You pose an excellent, thought provoking question. Why would something so clearly mandated in the Bible, be considered a distraction, while other things consume so much of our time and resources as a church as a whole?

I think it might have something to do with the fact that the evangelical church's primary focus is on saving people, rather than saving the earth. But then again, if the earth is an expression of the glory of God and He calls us to take care of it, shouldn't we obey Him?

I fear that too much focus on the global environment may lead us into futility. But, I know that a community church such as ours can have a powerful impact on the environment directly around us, wether that's grafitti removal, shelter for the homeless, planting trees, or building relationships with people in the community around us. Isn't that how the subway environment in New York was transformed like you mentioned a few weeks ago?

Perhaps that's where our time and money should lie, rather than idealistic, pious bumperstickers such as "Your Hummer Looks Stupid."


At 13/3/07 13:54, Blogger Nova said...

thanks, Richard.

i think i'm evangelical, but the majority of evangelicals i know share a different set of values. i struggle with wondering if i'm a "real" evangelical if i value ending human suffering (including those of my gay friends) more than fighting for strict moral codes set by the dominant culture. it's a lonely place... your post makes me feel less alone.

At 14/3/07 19:33, Blogger matthew said...

thanks for stirring the pot on this one Richard! I would like to respond with further questions, for you and for all of us.

What does life in this Creation have to do with the New Creation? Is the great Salvation of God as seen in Christ only concerned with 'saving people'? OR is there a cosmic redemption taking place, of which Christ is the new Adam, we the first fruits, and the creation - waiting, groaning, to be revealed...

How significant is it that our favorite verse, John 3:16 notes that "for God so loved the world (COSMOS) that He gave His only Son." - perhaps there is more to the cosmos than human souls? And lets not forget we share the very dust and earth as we might care (or not) to protect.

Oh if we could wrap our minds around the life we live and the Kingdom of God which breaks in all around us!

What is the pressing concern of the day? How big is our scope? Is this simply a matter of getting oneself right before God? With saving souls? Or with polluting less and giving more?

"If anyone in Christ - New Creation." (2cor.5:17)

From the first breaking of light upon our lonely planet and its fresh-born waters, to the mountains and streams and all creatures, to Adam, to Jesus, to the Church and its mission, to the New heavens and New earth, and the New Jerusalem which comes down to us from above - God among us, in our midst...

Perhaps we need to reframe the discussion around the Story we find ourselves in, to which we are given mystery into the beginning and end, and purpose to live faithfully in between. The Story which finds not the self as its focus - but God.

For God so loved the world....

At 21/3/07 12:16, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I see it, the argument is NOT
"fighting rights for homosexuals" VRS "championing conservation"
It is
"fighting rights for homosexuals" VRS "fighting conservation"

And, as such, I think its a baby step forward!

Or am I mistaken?

Lisa from Houston


Post a Comment

<< Home