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Clement Agonistes • 2 years ago

50,000 years ago, New York City was covered by a glacier over a mile high, and the Great Lakes were being dredged out by a 2-mile thick blanket of ice. 10,000 years ago, there was so much ice that the now-150ft deep Bering Strait was a dry walkway allowing people from Asia to walk into N. America. So, immensely powerful natural forces almost beyond our imagining have been working to warm the Earth and bring us to our current state. And, 20,000 years from now, the planet will return to that icy state without caring about our actions. We are in and Interglacial Period of an overall Ice Age that has been ongoing for millions of years.

Over longer periods of time, the Sun will gradually warm. 150 million years from now, it will inevitably warm so much that our oceans will be lost, and life as we have known it will be impossible.

The scientific consensus is that over the next 100 years, man-made warming will result in about a 1-degree warming. This is not a concern for this generation, nor even for the grandchildren of today's newborns.

In terms of the science, a little bit of perspective goes a long way. It discredits science to predict imminent doom from man-made climate change.

In terms of the theology, God has His own timetable, which was not even revealed to Jesus when He was on Earth. As individuals, our doom is imminent - within the next 100 years, right? But, as a species, humans will continue on until God is ready. It discredits theology to predict doom from man-made climate change.

Fear can be a wonderful motivator to "make the sale". False fear can accomplish the opposite of one's intent. 20 years from now, when people look back on the product they bought under false pretenses, they will wonder what other beliefs they have had were also false. They will reject the science/theology. Fear yields short-term, insincere results.

We are stewards of the Earth and its people. We should not be wasteful because of the trust that have been put in us. That is reason enough.

widhalm19 • 2 years ago

What should an intelligent human being make of an essay like this one? Perhaps, a suggestion .... the author should spend more time educating herself in the basics of anthropology, archeology, world history, bio-evolution, ecology, geology, geography and especially mythology and less time reading a book written by superstitious desert nomads and goat-herders thousands of years ago. An average 6th grader of today is far better educated than the best educated bible author. There is no connection whatsoever between Earth's ever-changing climates and belief in a particular myth. None. Zero.

Sam Andrew • 2 years ago

Well if we’ve past the point of no return, maybe the best action to take is just to double down and burn up all the resources we can living as hedonistically and extravagantly as possible till we die. Someone else can clean up later, I’m going to have my cake and eat it too, once I’m dead I don’t care so long as I get my fill of pleasure now!
“Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
Before we too into the Dust descend;
Dust into Dust, and under Dust to lie
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and — sans End!”
Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam XXIV translated by FitzGerald.

Ulf Turkewitsch • 2 years ago

It is gratifying to see that you are very concerned about the problem of climate change. The destruction caused by this phenomenon is truly great. However I think that to even start to reverse it's negative impact governments would have to stop the use of fossil fuels immediately. This would never happen. Why? Because the social and economic and political disruption that this would cause would utterly disrupt all human organizations on the earth. We are well stuck on this path . I mean the path of climate change. I think that there is actually no way out. So unless we find new techniques to ameliorate the damage we are in very very bad shape indeed. And that cannot be implemented in a short time period.

Leah D. Schade • 2 years ago

Just a reminder, readers and commenters, that any comments posted on EcoPreacher using foul language, obscene content, or violent/aggressive remarks will be deleted and the user banned from commenting. Determination of crossing the line is solely at the discretion of this author. I understand that passions run high, and that there are strong points of disagreement. But use ways to express yourself that are respectful, constructive, and upbuilding.

B. Sherman • 2 years ago

Nature is giving us a Potsdam Declaration that demands the complete disarmament of our fossil-fuel industry and the unconditional surrender of our imperialistic economy. And as with the ultimatum of that historic declaration over 70 years ago, we are being promised “prompt and utter destruction” if we do not surrender.

An interesting perspective from a Christian. Your God comes across as quite powerless in your writing, i.e. humanity is our only hope.

Leah D. Schade • 2 years ago

You may not have read the last part of the piece:

“For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?” (Luke 9:24-25).

In other words, to save this country, we must surrender to a higher calling of humility, obedience to the dictates of God’s Creation, and radical focus on rebuilding a just and equitable society and economic infrastructure focusing on “the least of these” – those who have suffered under our oppressive reign.

As a Lutheran, my theology orients around a different understanding of God's power than that of some Christians. Luther taught the "theology of the cross," where God's power is hidden in the last place we would think to look - the apparently God-forsaken place of a humiliating death by state execution. The Resurrection upends all human standards of power. In my book, Creation-Crisis Preaching, I talk about the eco-crucifixion and the eco-resurrection. We must go to the apparently God-forsaken places of environmental (inclusive of human) devastation. That is where we find Jesus beckoning to us to follow.

So yes, God kenotically chooses powerlessness by human standards. Because there is an even more mysterious and life-giving power that comes from God. And I still believe that power is at work, even as we are facing the planet's darkest hours.

Thank you for your comment and engaging the piece.

B. Sherman • 2 years ago

Yes, I read the entire piece. I am not sure I can make the connections you're implying or if I adequately made my initial observation. After further thought and reading other posts, I'll try again. I believe we diverge at our view on the sovereignty of God, or the extent thereof. Perhaps it's my fondness for Calvin. I am not alarmed by the "climate change" to the degree I see in others. That is neither an endorsement or rejection of the science involved. Either God is in control of such things or he is not, in which case I'll start preparing now to be spectacularly disappointed by humanity. Also, I have no affection or animus towards the planet. Such feelings toward the earth simply do not reside in me for whatever reason. Clearly they do in others as you have so rightly observed in your reminder above regarding conduct. Anyhow, in the absence of these feelings I seem to also lack the intense survival instincts on display in some of the posts (colonizing space, et.al). Go figure. Anyhow, I appreciate your continued civil discourse on the matter in light of what I see from many others. I don't post this to illicit a response, this is merely an observation.

Margaret Swedish • 2 years ago

I read this via your FB page and just want to add this thought. I have never liked the "war" language theat McKibben started to use. We are not at war with climate - which is not the source of our crisis in any case. It is symptom of it, and only one of many. I would like to completely demilitarize our language now and get to the heart of the matter. Our western relationship with the planet is one of exploitation and profound abuse. We have to heal a badly broken relationship with our fellow sentient and non-sentient beings if we want to keep living here. You are right on target about how to do that - it can only be done by bringing down our fossil fueled consumer-based economy and allowing the planet to heal itself - and us within it. Thanks for this.

Leah D. Schade • 2 years ago

I am deeply honored by your words, Margaret. When I think back to my first reading of your book "Living Beyond the End of the World," and how it has shaped my thinking, writing, and activism - what you have said here means a great deal to me. Blessings and in solidarity!

Les Mc Mahon • 2 years ago

I live in Australia and one of the things I was taught in school is that the tree's are the lungs of the earth in this country we're destroying those very lungs of our earth with our greed. I see the only way to change this is to is to repent of our greed and start rebuilding nature. If we don't turn to God and seek his direction all we aare is reeds swaying in the breeze.

Leah D. Schade • 2 years ago

Les - The comparison of trees to lungs is an apt one. And I agree that the environmental crisis is also a spiritual and religious crisis. Thank you for making that connection.

Alonzo • 2 years ago

>>>"election of a climate-denying president..."

This phrase is a great example of a perfect straw man. There has been no president who has ever denied the climate. Who in their right mind would ever deny the climate? Of course, we really know what the author means, but he covers up what he really means by using a straw man phrase as though believing the myth of man-made global warming is denying the climate. Now what is the climate? It identifies weather conditions in a specific area. It also could be used metaphorically to refer to a prevailing philosophy. Climate is real and so is climate change. The climate changes depending on the season. However, this article is more of a panic button given the deceptive use of pictures displayed in it to make it seem that global warming, climate change, or whatever this philosophy is currently called renders what the pictures portray. However, the Japanese picture is a disparate one, and leads me to ask as the puppets on Sesame Street ask, "Which one of these is not like the other." Guess?

So I also ask, "Which one of these is not like the other: "climate, climate change, global warming, climate disruption, carbon pollution?" Hmm. Each word or phrase goes from the general to specific. They are all disparate, and only three have a word in common with two followed by disparate adjectives, making them all disparate. George Orwell warned us of such disparate language when he said that political language "is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind" ("Politics and the English Language").

Orwell's rewriting of Ecclesiates 9:11 could be a grand example for the global warming crowd. In plain and simple English, the Preacher writes, "I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all." But Orwell exemplified the political side of this religious truth, "Objective consideration of contemporary phenomena compels the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account." He made what was concrete and truthful to something hazy and...huh? Disparate and murky language has the tendency to lend to the "huh?" effect, especially when panic explodes from the murk of adding disparate adjectives to generalized terms.

Leah D. Schade • 2 years ago

Thank you for pointing out that missed word. It has been corrected and now reads "climate-change-denying president."

As for confusion about terminology when it comes to climate issues, you may find this glossary by the EPA to be helpful: https://www3.epa.gov/climat...

Alonzo • 2 years ago

Thank you for pointing me to the EPA glossary. I think President Trump would never see himself as a "climate-change" denier. Neither do I. However, because the term is so generalized, it becomes ambiguous and therefore open to interpretation. As I mentioned in my initial post, the climate always changes seasonally. I know that is not what the EPA means, but I do not view government as the arbiter of terms. Linguistically, terms change as the general population derives new words and meanings to current terms. Government, mostly, is always on the tail end of such changes and not at the forefront. Besides, it cannot dictate to societies the meaning of terms. That is left up to users. That was Orwell's point.

I think that it changes terms to subscribe to a specific philosophy about our world. Such terms remain generalized. That was my point in bringing in Orwell and his critiique of the political environment of his time. The use of generalizations allows for the adaption of terms to philosophical and political thinking. He saw that kind of thinking then with government and the media..

On another issue, many who subscribe to global warming hold to a consensus. I am not saying that you do, because you never stated that, and I try my best not to create straw men. Rational people hold to differing educated views, and that goes for a large number of the sciences. There are vast number of professionals on both sides of the debate. Theories on the climate do not arise from votes toward a consensus. Experts in their fields quite often get their theories wrong, and that goes for the climate, weather, or ecological systems. That is, they observe the same data but derive different interpretations. It is healthy to have rigorous discussion over theory, but it is unhealthy to accuse others to the point of prosecution as many who subscibe to global warming as having done.

I differ with you on interpretation on climate issues, but I think we both agree with we are caretakers of God's creation. I certainly do my best to conserve. But I believe there are solutions other than government intervention. That may be our major point of departure.

On the spiritual side, I do not believe we should be obedient to the dictates of God's creation but to God and His word. Creation is impersonal (except for humanity). We relate to a personal God for redemption through His Son.

billwald • 2 years ago

War on??? My youngest has turned 50 and doesn't have a clue about war. Neither do most natural born Americans her age and younger. For that matter, I was to young for Korea and had to many kids for Vietnam. Was one signature away from enlisting during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Now every case of heartburn for someone must be a war for everyone. In case you have not noticed, the climate on earth has been changing ever it was cool enough for rain to condense.

Furthermore, no one noticed that every public predictor of the last hurricane was wrong or anyone who disagreed didn't have the guts to go public? Anyone still think that weather/climate predicting is "scientific?"

Margaret Swedish • 2 years ago

Me, I think it because it is true. It is important to differentiate between a weather prediction that it is not always pin-point accurate and climate science which studies trends over decades. Those latter have become quite clear. The real surprise here is not that warming of the atmosphere is changing climate patterns - that has been clear for decades now - it's that they are changing FASTER than predicted. But how they are changing, and how much more they will change if we don't alter the global economy drastically and soon - that is fulfilling those climate science models just beautifully.

charlesburchfield • 2 years ago

I know it's tough to get hip to the ways climate change will impact on your life if you are still in a climate zone that is relatively intact. Cuz why should you when you are brainwashed to believe you are exceptonal & the rules don't apply to you? Psychopaths believe as you do IMHO


Jon Kitchen • 2 years ago

I find that I can't share to wordpress with included media. What is this Po.St and is it your only way to share?

Leah D. Schade • 2 years ago

What is it that you're wanting to share, Jon? If it's a link, you should be able to copy and paste it right into your comment.

Jon Kitchen • 2 years ago

If I want to add anything from someone else's site(i.e. "Patheos"), I refuse to do it without media. No photo, and I simply forget about the info. It must be able to draw SOME attention.

rwg1949yt . • 2 years ago

Apparently the author isn't familiar with reputable climate scientists who have created a model of climate change that begins a casual chain from water vapor to aerosols to cosmic rays to clouds to solar activity to solar storms to climate change both directions.
Svensmark: The Cloud Mystery at https://www.youtube.com/wat...

Equally baffling is that the author is ignorant of how climate data has been corrupted and falsified.
NASA Climate Data Fraud - Trend “Completely Fake” And “Manipulated!" at https://www.youtube.com/wat...

Whoever is paying her salary is getting short changed. She doesn't have the first clue about the climate and wants to surrender on the basis of manipulated and false data that is supposed to back up the fake science. People aren't even buying Al Gore's fantasies anymore. His book is being outsold by an author who explains why the sequel is fake.

charlesburchfield • 2 years ago
Russ Hale • 2 years ago

"come to the table and accept Nature's terms." Really. Where is this table? What are the terms of surrender? Do we even know if "Nature" is going to show up for the armistice?
Ascribing thought, will and personhood to a force = lack of logic.

Leah D. Schade • 2 years ago

Russ - Thank you for engaging this piece. Here's the follow-up post about the "terms of surrender." http://www.patheos.com/blog...

This piece was responding to Bill McKibben's metaphor, and I was doing a role reversal with the metaphor. This is a style of writing that is not meant to be taken literally, but metaphorically. That does not mean the topic of climate disruption is not a real, scientifically observable phenomenon, because it is. I am simply offering another approach to help us conceptualize it.

John Purssey • 2 years ago

A figure of speech. You are over literalistic.

Bill Scudder • 2 years ago

Climate change is not man made. It has happened many times down through the centuries and it is happening again. Why God does this every so often is unknown but He is God.

Joslyn Renfrey • 2 years ago

Maybe god's sending humanity a message: stop wrecking the bloody planet!

JoshuaTree • 2 years ago

God's message is probably closer to "love each other more" than "stop wrecking the bloody planet". Do you really think God cares more about the inanimate planet than the millions of the unborn killed every day around the world? Each one of those unborn is made in God's image and each one is so unique that the tragic loss of each unborn robs us all a little of our humanity and potential. We were given dominion over His creation in order to love the Creator so that we can learn to love our neighbor, here used in the most expansive sense of the word to include our spouses, our children and families, our friends, our neighbors and strangers.

Exercising dominion and not domination over the planet and its resources is an iterative process that becomes better over time partly out of necessity and partly out of a deeper understanding of how God created his universe.

Joslyn Renfrey • 2 years ago

" Do you really think God cares more about the inanimate planet than the millions of the unborn killed every day around the world?"

Considering that there is a whole lot more life residing on this planet than just humanity that faces the prospect of extinction, I'd say that the maker of the world would more concerned about the whole.

Ken Allen • 2 years ago

The only message God sent us is Scripture and it is centered on Christ and salvation, not on the planet. Creation, which includes our earth, is under the curse and that would include the climate and weather which mankind has been trying to control since he/mankind appealed to the gods (to whom he attributed the power to control climate and weather). This curse is only lifted when Christ comes back to complete the soteriological prophecies and covenants. Sure, we should do all we can to care for God's gifts but this global warming war removes God and puts science and man's wisdom at the forefront. In reality, we are at war with the curse that God placed on creation due to man's rejection of His plan in the first place. His plan is mankind's salvation, not earth's salvation.

Leah D. Schade • 2 years ago

Ken - That is certainly one way to interpret the meaning of Scripture. We might also consider Romans 8:18 - 25:

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.
19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God;
20for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope
21that the creation
itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the
freedom of the glory of the children of God.
22We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now;
23and not only the
creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit,
groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

In my book Creation-Crisis Preaching, I make the case that Creation is waiting for us to be revealed as children of God, to set Creation free from the bondage to decay (Chapter 7, p. 176).

So, while I appreciate your engagement with this important topic, I dispute an anthropocentric approach to interpreting Scripture. "For God so loved THE WORLD," not just humanity (John 3:16).

Ken Allen • 2 years ago

The topic and focus of Paul’s discourse is the believer and
not the earth or creation. You cannot ignore Rev. 21.1 as God’s personal intent
for what happens to creation and it is not saved nor is it intended to be saved
by man’s effort. This seemingly worshipped creation will be destroyed and is in
fact designed to be so by God’s prophetic Word (cf. 2Pet. 3.7, 10).

In Romans, Paul is not placing creation above man in God’s
economy but is instead using the cursed creation as an example of man’s hope
that creation looks forward to and man lacks. Man, in his pride and
disobedience seeks his own will and ignores God’s promise of recreation because
of Christ. Creation, on the other hand, is represented as figuratively looking
forward to its being restored in its original condition and is given human
emotions as is demonstrated in anthropomorphic language used throughout Scripture.

As for your anti-anthropocentric attribution for the purpose
of the Gospel, that is in the realm of unorthodoxy and cannot be reconciled to
man’s creation in God’s image as the design for Christ’s death and resurrection.
What you are representing is a Gospel that Paul warns against (cf. 2Cor. 11.4;
Gal. 1.8) and in Galatians the warning is severe.

John 3.16 is not translated in such a way to remove man as
the central theme of Christ’s work on the cross. Man is God’s central figure
and concern; the rest of creation is under man’s authority (cf. Gen. 1.26-27).
What you have done is placed the creation (except man) as equal to man in value
and that is unscriptural and is not in keeping with the Christian doctrine.

However, now that I am aware of your unorthodox
interpretation of salvation, I understand your placement of the earth as above
man. Something that I, Paul, God, Christ, and Scripture deny and in fact warn

JoshuaTree • 2 years ago

History repeats itself. Natural earth worship turns into a formal type of Pantheism, which is a slippery slope that leads to paganism (the path of least moral resistance) which, in turn, leads to some type of strong-armed collectivism. Rinse. Repeat.

Leah D. Schade • 2 years ago

Thank you for your continued engagement on this important topic, Ken. My theology is shaped first by Lutheranism, and also by liberation theology, and ecofeminist theology. As you observed, that combination does contrast with more traditional theologies. Would you be willing to share what has shaped your primary theological commitments?

Ken Allen • 2 years ago

Sure. 67 years of life, mistakes, finding God, and losing
connection with Him has led me to the Evangelical theologies. This was further
influenced by studies through Liberty Bible Institute and The Moody Bible

Joslyn Renfrey • 2 years ago

'if.', not 'when.'.
Jesus was supposed to be coming back for quite a while now, but whenever someone thinks he'll be back to fix their mess, he isn't. Time and again, and again, and again, and again, and again:

But I'm sure he'll be back to save you; to be your fairy godmother./s

Ken Allen • 2 years ago

If you have a Bible, read 2 Peter 3.3-7. This speaks
directly to your statement. As for your last sentence and its mockery; mockery
is not language but rather a demonstration of the absence of reason and the language necessary to fulfill
reason’s purpose.

Joslyn Renfrey • 2 years ago

Do you not think that christians would have quoted 2 Peter 3:3 all those previous times that second coming predictions failed? At what point do those words go stale with repetition?

Take it from a former pentecostal: you and your church have been waiting for almost forever for the second coming, and they will continue to wait forever, and its no way to live, believing that everyone and everything of this world holds no value, as if god would wipe it all away.

Ken Allen • 2 years ago

God's Word never grows stale and His timing along with HIs existence in the realm of eternity makes our demands for action during our brief existence in time, irrational.

The Parousia is not the purpose for Christ's first coming, death, and resurrection. I am not waiting for anything but instead am living the Kingdom life that Christ says is already here due the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (cf. Luke 17.21). If I seek truth, it is from those who are victorious in and faithful to God's Word, not those who have fallen away and I pray that you find your way back.

Joslyn Renfrey • 2 years ago

What do you think is the eternal fate of those who have 'fallen away', that remain apostate? Do you have any dear friends, parents or children that have fallen away from the church, or are simply not interested in christ?

Ken Allen • 2 years ago

I prefer the word outcome and not fate. Fate removes
responsibility from the person and from God. God takes responsibility for His
creation through His death on the cross and man is faced with his
responsibility by accepting or refusing God’s offer of forgiveness. Scripture
is clear on what the outcome is for those who reject Christ, and that judgment
is not for me to declare. I have no way of knowing the last thoughts and
discussion that an apostate or unbeliever may have with God in those moments preceding
death that no one else is privy to. I do have relatives that have rejected
Christ but there is still time for them to make amends.

Joslyn Renfrey • 2 years ago

"Scripture is clear on what the outcome is for those who reject Christ"
If it is clear, what is that outcome?

Do you think that you will continue to remember all of your loved ones that didn't want anything to do with Jesus? Would you hold onto that memory throughout the millions, upon billions, upon trillions, of years of eternal life promised to you? Would they still matter to you, if they were not saved before their deaths?

Ken Allen • 2 years ago

It would appear that you are asking if I would suffer
emotionally for eternity at the thought of my present loved one’s choice to
exist in eternity without God’s presence and attendance. No, I would not
because of what Scripture promises (cf. Rev. 21.4). It could be that there is
sadness and grief at the realization that some of those that I loved during my
lifetime are not with me in God’s presence, but He attends to that grief. This
is what the Westminster Shorter Catechism says about mankind’s chief end (or
purpose of existence): “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him

Joslyn Renfrey • 2 years ago

Well, all the things of this earth, including your non-religious loved ones, might as well be completely insignificant to you, considering the infinite time you'll be spending with god would be far, far greater than the mere instant you spent here on earth.

Ken Allen • 2 years ago

“All things of this earth” are insignificant to me but those
who I love and have decided to ignore my pleas for salvation are responsible
for their eternal abodes. God forces himself on no one and we are incapable of
forcing anyone to accept Christ’s reality. C. S. Lewis says “God cannot ravish,
he can only woo.” And this is the simplest and most concise explanation for the
reason why some will be in eternity with God and some will be in eternity
without Him.

Joslyn Renfrey • 2 years ago

what do you think it would be like to be "in eternity without god"? Is suffering to be expected, and if so, what magnitude?

Mr Cleats • 2 years ago


Joslyn Renfrey • 2 years ago

Indeed, going on for eternity without fruitcake may be quite serious for certain individuals...

Ken Allen • 2 years ago

Christ describes eternity without God in two ways. One way is
to compare it to burning fire (cf. Mat. 13.50; Mark 9.43) or as outer darkness
(cf. Mat. 8.12; 22.13; 25.30). The fire description is an analogy of the pain
suffered in existence without God but the outer darkness is the reality of what
hell is. Fire is often the go to description of hell but fire is not the
reality, but darkness is. One can compare this darkness to Ex. 10.21 and find
that the darkness that fell over Egypt was not an ordinary lack of light but
was a taste of an absence of God. Therefore, the suffering that awaits is
beyond what I have experienced and since no one other than the Egyptians
described in Exodus have tasted this darkness, I have nothing to else to
compare it to other than what Scripture has revealed.