For the past almost four years, since my awakening to the Ecological Crisis, I have been observing the continued failure of the churches to be a voice of moral and spiritual urgency about the serious threat that this represents. There are signs springing up, but as time passes, the urgency heightens. We are running out of time. We’ve had no less than 30 years to be making this a more central part of the message of our churches (since we have just recently passed the 30 year anniversary of Climate Scientist James Hansen’s address to Congress about the need to address Global Warming in a timely and urgent manner). The churches have been seeing a slow rise of small groups that have taken names like “Creation Care”, but, with only a few exceptions, these are considered , like most other “committees”, specialized niches. Rarely do we see significant discussion about a larger “Reformation” that is needed. The urgency is missing; mostly absent.
I have noticed this absence most acutely in the “Progressive” representations of the church. We seem to know how to talk about race, immigration, and GLBTQ issues (“know” as in being willing to put out advocacy pieces and “take a stand” on the side of the oppressed as a church body, but the same cannot be said at a denominational level. While the race, immigration, and GLBTQ issues are widely discusssed and invoked by our denominational presses, and in increasing numbers of pulpits and Sunday class studies, we have yet to become churches known for showing even the same level of concern for what we face with our ecological crisis.
In terms of the existential threat it represents, and the massive harm that is being caused by humanity’s negligence to address this, this represents a threat unprecedented in human history, at a level that both exacerbates and reaches far beyond the threats in all these other social and political and economic problems. All of this is serious. These “other” problems will begin to pale in comparison with the threats that are mounting to human survival in a way that is recognizable and assumed by all of us re: what it means to be human. Things will unravel in every sector as long as we ignore the “Home” and “Ground” for all of it: God’s Creation, and the interdependent-interconnected nature of it.
It’s overwhelming to have so much at stake in so many arenas of human life, society, and community. We must stand up against all that threatens our human and earth community. But we MUST address the crisis that cradles everything; ALL OF IT.