Another Facebook comment I wrote under a UMNS link (here) on Facebook has prompted a longer reflection that seems fitting as a blog post. It addresses the frustration I feel with the “theological obfuscation” in which Christians are habitually engaging.
“To become a church that makes disciples of Jesus Christ equipped to transform lives, communities , and the world” is hard to argue but painfully vague when left at that. The problem there is, there are a host of “options” and approaches to how that plays out; what it looks like; what the “specifics” of how that manifests in the activity of the church’s people. Yes, “learning and loving together” is obviously important, but it really comes down to what we are willing to do in the task of responding to the world and living as a “light in the darkness” (to use yet another “fill in the blank” kind of “Great Commission” call to action). We are still left with actually responding as a body to what needs to be done. For me, I find it hard to avoid facing what really threatens our quality of life as does NOTHING else: the growing Climate Crisis. It exists and grows as a result of our unwillingness to see the effects it is having around the world and on the world’s ecosystem, and the growing dangers and hazards that are being visited upon a wide range of human communities around the world (and for many of us in the U.S., something which we are largely ignoring because it SEEMS that nothing really life-altering is happening). But the scientists are saying otherwise, and the long-feared consequences are arriving faster than they first thought. And so the church will need to be bringing to bear their considerable resources for calling forth a movement (and many of them) for growing a crisis-to-action consciousness and pointing to a more just and sustainable way of living. Never before has such a stark message against consumerism and it’s destructive ways been laid before us. This is the great call to getting about the great calling to transform our lives. The necessity of finding sustainable ways of living will bring us face to face with justice issues that affect us all.
Using “Biblical ” language to proclaim purpose which purports to be of “higher calling” than some particular, specific problem or problems. This was used during the Civil Rights movements to tell the black communities that they ought to be concerned with “bringing souls to Christ” , RATHER than getting involved in these “petty social problems” like a Bus Boycott. And they say these things now about any problem with which they’d really rather not be bothered. And this Climate Crisis is the king of those “pesky problems”, because it is directly challenging our notion of how we should live. Our very lifestyle is “at stake”. What we have come to expect; a certain “level of living” is literally unsustainable. And our economics keeps telling us that everything is dependent on GROWTH. What we have come to define as growth is now under scrutiny from the eco-realities resulting from this economics. We can no longer sustain an economics that ignores ecological costs.