So I am wondering about what may be ahead for the UMC** in terms of the need to focus more of our energies on the Ecological Crisis as a theological crisis and call to responsibility; a close kin and perhaps central tenet of what God is doing amongst us as our moral failings as humanity now threaten, in a most existential way, the stability of what we have come to know as “Civilization”.
I know that the Earthkeepers won’t being “throwing in any towels” as a result of the rather traumatic events of the last few days (even though we’ve been anticipating that this might happen). . But some considerations as to what paths this will open for us:
With the denomination having just newly begun “Earthkeeper” ministries, and the work that Pat Watkins began with GBGM which birthed the Earthkeeper movement, leading to the 2017 establishment of “Creation Care Ministries” with Jenny Phillips as Program Manager, I am hopeful that this work will not be deterred by any pressure exerted by the swelling tide of authoritarian and ultra-conservative theology that is apparently persuaded that the ecological crisis is a “fake-emergency” and one of those “things only liberals care about”. I cannot anticipate what kind of organizational repercussions might occur, and how long it will take to do any programmatic damage/constriction, nor do I know what might take shape as the various eco-social-justice oriented staff might be for a response to a UMC being reshaped by such things. I know that these staff people and millions of laypeople and pastoral staff are in resistance-renewal-continueTheWork mode, even as they continue to process what is happening and what it might mean.
So I am wondering about such things. What will the future hold?
I anticipate this may be one of many conversations along this line at the upcoming UM Creation Care Summit in July in Nashville.
** My first and initial heartbreaks-reactions about this UMC-crisis is for the GLBTQ brothers and sisters. Just wanted to affirm that. But I will always feel the urge and sense of responsibility to speak to Ecological impacts of our church world and awareness, since that is according to my calling. But I cannot think of this task without the ministry and support and involvement of so many of those brothers and sisters of the UMC that are suffering this move-to-exclude-from-ministry. As Earthkeepers, we all know that we need everyone, and that these brothers and sisters have this experience of rejection and neglect that often give them unique ecotheological insight about humanity and Creation.