Where is the church on climate change?

Marilyn Sewell, a Unitarian minister, is troubled that churches have not taken up arms in the battle against climate change. Writing at Huffington Post, she says:

The crisis of global warming is the great granddaddy of all cultural crises. I care about gay marriage. Gun control looms large in my thinking. But such concerns shrivel in importance when I consider the fact that our planet may soon no longer sustain life as we know it. ...

So where is the parish church in all of this? Mostly silent, it seems. Churches continue to be concerned with individual sin as opposed to systemic sin, even in regard to climate change. Congregants may be admonished to recycle and change their light bulbs, but not to become politically active. The fact is we're way beyond changing our light bulbs. We need to bring that unhappy, startling truth to the pulpits of our land.


Comments (3)

I guess she is not part of the Interfaith">http://www.interfaithpowerandlight.org">Interfaith Power and LIght group - churches doing a lot about climate change. Lots of practical ideas, political action, etc.

The problem with climate change is that it isn't an immediate, identifiable, everyday problem for most people. It's like asking people to help prevent that ice cube from melting. So what does one average person-in-the-pew do today, right now? I'm sitting in my church office now with the air conditioner on. Do I turn it off and sweat to prevent global warming?

Most churches can barely afford to keep their lights on, much less install a solar array. The IPL web site offers four things to do: Join them, take action (politically advocate), donate, or learn more (by getting on their mailing list). No tips about altering personal habits or anything small that can help. It is really difficult to preach on something so ephemeral with solutions that seem so large and often out of reach of the average person.

We've spent 40+ years talking about energy efficiency, including this classic Schoolhouse Rock video. Certainly, we need to continue to move to renewable forms of energy and to increased energy efficiency. However, such things don't easily fit themselves into a 10 to 15 minute sermon.

Very true Tom. For awhile I kept up the blog Green Lent - there are lots of posts and links for ideas. Some pretty simple. I do need to up date it.

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