Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Let’s Be Religious: Biblical Perspectives On…IV

Snakebite. Check. Mom. Check. Eayste. Check. Ok. Two more after this one and I might offer a reward at the end.

The People of Nineveh vs Jesus

I’m generally not interested in discussing whether global warming is real. If it is real I’m not very interested in discussing how scary it is. I’m not very interested in the scientific reality or illusions behind it. I’m not very interested in the political ramifications or solutions because of it.

For me, global warming has called into question my very existence. For me, unless I can get to the point where I know there is no God, global warming is a spiritual issue. And once upon a time I learned in Sunday school that Jesus is the answer to spiritual questions. Not too long after that my Sunday school teacher taught me I should be very careful what questions I ask. But I digress.
Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats
Too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking
I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.

-Bob Dylan, My Back Pages
Is Jesus the answer?

Last Thursday I re-listened to a public conversation between two men I greatly admire, the Rev Greg Boyd and the Rev Jim Wallis. The conversation took place in October last year at Bethel University in St Paul, MN.

This question was posed, “If your politics are centered on what Jesus says, where would Jesus rank global warming in the scheme of God’s plan on Earth?” Politics clouded the ensuing discussion. They both enjoyed some Old Testament support of their position that the environment is important. They heartily agree that the conversation about Jesus and the environment should take place.

I didn’t hear much about what Jesus actually says or does. (7mb mp3 available here)

Jim and Greg tend to be thought of as less conservative evangelicals. Here are three, more conservative organizations that repeatedly show up in comments to some of my posts.

The Interfaith Stewardship Alliance and its Cornwall Declaration: On environmental issues James Dobson, Chuck Colson and Richard Land support this group over the leadership of the National Association of Evangelicals. It’s an interfaith group which precludes it from mentioning Jesus. I have absolutely no problem with interfaith groups collaborating. I welcome it. We all need to work together. But they don’t and probably can’t present a Jesus answer.

The Interfaith Council for Environmental Stewardship: mostly it’s an echo chamber for two organizations, the above mentioned Interfaith Stewardship Alliance and the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty (in the next paragraph). From what I can tell it has no policies or documents of its own. The website exists to point to the other two.

The Acton Institute: in their website’s Environmental Policy section they echo links to the Cornwall Declaration. They also have a core policy document the purports to be “Protestant Wisdom on the Environment.” The protestant document doesn’t contain the name Jesus.

Here’s a rosy picture of these religious groups. The $ indicate ExxonMobile funding. The people icons are key individuals to the linked organizations. (The Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow has no religious intent that I could find.)


I’m a pretty dumb guy. I need things mapped out really clearly otherwise I could get lost. Is Jesus the answer? I’m hearing a resounding, maybe.

Next up: two years is too long. I’m done waiting on the experts.


Garrett said...

I hate to be the pessimist (although I am sometimes), butI don't think Americans are ready for Jesus' response. Matt. 19:16-26. Sell what you have and follow me. Wait... did he literally mean that I had to do without some things, or did he mean ALL things? How can I be a good Christian and not support big business in their capitalist ventures?

mytzpyk said...

Woah Sans. Have you been reading ahead?


peddlinshutterbug said...

To be "in the world and not of it....is always the dilemma ...
I like to think of David...a very wealthy man...and often a very frail, yet sometimes brutal man..flawed and used amazingly by God.

Anonymous said...

I'm having trouble keeping up w/ the reading. Podcast??????? If you do a podcast, I find Burl Ives voice kind of soothing.

Thunderman said...

Being poor is not a requirement to being a Christian. Jesus told one man that he should sell all his possessions and give them to the poor, but he didn't tell that to Mary and Martha who clearly had a home and some property. A rich man who was a follower of Jesus gave his tomb for Jesus to be buried in so it would follow that he had followed Jesus. Some people aren't mature enough to properly handle a lot of money. Others are.

God gave Solomon incredible wealth and it was considered a blessing. Here's an outstanding article on what the Bible says about money: What the Bible Says About Money

Note that being responsible with our money is also commanded. And providing for our own families. And leaving an inheritance for our children.

It's important to accept the entire message of the Bible and not pit one verse against another.