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A New Year: Baptists and Climate Change

Take a look at my latest column for the Baptist Studies Bulletin of the Baptist History & Heritage Society.

Here’s snippet:

With the nation’s economy on better footing, will more attention be paid to environmental issues such as climate change in 2013?  Will churches and denominations once again discover that climate change is a challenge that is not going away?  Will all involved begin to move from words to action?  Will Baptists begin to collectively make good on their past promises and commitments to care for all of God’s creation and be active participants in the search for solutions to environment-related problems?

I am hopeful that the answer to all of the above questions is yes.  And when speaking up, we Baptists should recover the language of eco-justice.  Forty years ago, American Baptists coined that term after attending an historic United Nations summit on the environment in Stockholm, Sweden.  American Baptist leaders such as Owen Owens and Jitsuo Morikawa invested much time and energy in the early 1970s to giving eco-justice theological meaning rooted in the Baptist tradition and our commitment to individual freedom.  Merging the concepts of ecological wholeness and social justice, American Baptists pursued an effective form of environmental engagement.

This type of environmental engagement would again be beneficial to Baptists looking to transform verbal commitments of days past into concrete action in the public square.  It is time for Christians in general and Baptists in particular to be leaders rather than followers when it comes to caring for God’s creation.

Be sure to read the entire column here and let me know what you think below.

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Discussion

  1. Chuck says:

    Well-written article. The seeming inaction is reflective of the truth–we don’t cause global warming (“it”, if “it” is real at all), so there’s nothing to be done to stop it.

  2. K Gray says:

    If eco-justice is someone’s God-given passion, then may He bless that person’s/group/s efforts. But there are so many reasons why it is probably not catching on now. Among them are: bad economy keeps emphasis on our neighbor’s more immediate needs for food, medical care, shelter and the gospel; more recent evidence such as NASA’s Goddard Institute and others saying that global temperatures have been flat for at least a decade; the fallout from the ethanol initiative (unintended but forseeable consequences); people are wary of theglobal politics of climate change, including the idea of ‘reparations,’; and people are wary of more taxes and assurances.

    Plus, many of us are old enough to remember learning that the new Ice Age was coming.

    It’s just a hard sell.

  3. Christiane says:

    sorry to post this here, AARON, but I don’t think my response to your great comment on SBCvoices will make it out of ‘moderation’:

    “Hi AARON,

    I think you may have hit the nail on the head . . . those who remained ‘in power’ forged an ethic that is still in play . . . only now, it appears to be a circular firing squad

    Over at imonk, a man who blogs as ‘Mule Eating Briars’ stated:
    “At a time when we need to love each other or perish, we cannot abide the sight of one another. ”

    I thought of the SBC and what is happening to it when I read those words.

    Yes, it was a good thing that the moderates did not turn on the conservatives in the same way with the same treatment . . . it was a very good thing. The conservatives seem now to be unable to let go of the ‘ways’ that won them the day all those years ago,
    and now, they are tearing at each other rather badly.
    It’s like a curse. They can’t shake it. It is hard to see what is happening, but there it is.”

  4. Richard says:

    The ‘Mule eating briars” comment is so true, Christiane, and you are correct. Your very honest response will not make it out of moderation at Voices…the same is true of several of my more moderate observations there. Nevertheless, I find your comments at Voices to be brave and honest, even loving, in the face of negative attacks. I’m also grateful for your occasional sharing of prayers and liturgical moments from your own faith perspective. Best wishes.

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