Saturday, March 10, 2007

Let's Grow Environmental Evangelism

There are over a billion Christians in the world. The United States, which effects the world so profoundly, is home to over 200,000,000 Christians.

So I was excited when 86 evangelical Christian leaders decided, about a year ago, to back a major initiative to fight global warming, saying "millions of people could die in this century because of climate change, most of them our poorest global neighbors."

Among signers of the statement, were the presidents of 39 evangelical colleges and leaders of aid groups and churches, like the Salvation Army. Also signing on were several pastors of megachurches, including Rick Warren, author of the best seller The Purpose-Driven Life.

So I really expected the Christian wing of the Republican party to listen to their contituency and get on board this environmental ark, so to speak.

I thought that, at last, instead of starting more culture wars or wasting energy in partisan politics, that the most influential Christians in U.S. politics would urge us to make peace and unite in regard to the most pressing issues facing humanity: environmental degradation and Global Warming.

As a result, I envisioned Christians in the United States uniting their hearts and minds to compel political leaders to not only stop corporations from polluting, but reverse the damage that has been done over the last 200 years.

I thought we might even hold out an olive branch to those not of our faith and join with them in assuming responsible stewardship of the earth.

I considered what an excellent opportunity this would be to heal the relationship between Christians and science, since science must play a part in finding our solutions.

I imagined that this life-or-death issue - that will affect us all, no matter who we are, where we live, what we believe or how much money we have - would unite us all, help us make the necessary changes in our own lives and help us transcend the issues that have exhausted our nation and ourselves.

I pictured us all working together for this great good, and how that would energize and empower our entire nation and give our lives meaning.

After all, can you imagine what will happen when Americans stop focusing on disagreements and start working together for this common good?

I thought that, surely, this is a "pro-life" issue that all Christians can get behind. In fact, we could spark a world-wide Christian environmental movement.

Can you see it?

Can you picture one billion Christians approaching the challenge of stopping Global Warming with the fervor of a revival, with faith infused by the Christ within? Our actions might even help heal the anti-Americanism we are seeing.

What miracles we could bring about under the grace of God!

Alas, if the radical right-wing political contingent that claims to represent American Christianity has its way, none of these empowering visions will manifest. These particular evangelicals, apparently, prefer for us to continue full steam ahead in befouling and destroying our only nest.

Rather than uniting Christians to save the world (and their grandchildren) they still want to fight with other Christians and non-Christians about abortion and homosexuality. In fact, they want to get the attention of Christians off Global Warming and back on their made-for-TV culture wars.

Those radical Republican "Christians" who had the chance to get something right after having squandered so much time, money and faith in dividing the nation, have decided to work against saving mankind.

They have now sent out a message to their faithful telling them to shut up about climate change.

You know, if I used the language of evangelicals, I would say that these men are doing the work of the devil.

But it is not the devil that is tempting them.

At best, they are misguided in that they cannot see the forest for the trees. They would concentrate on "family values" even though there may be no families left in a hundred years to practice those values.

At worse, they are acting on their own selfish desires to keep those who follow them under their thumbs. It is, after all, in their interest to keep the nation - and Christians - divided because they can play one against the other that way, to accomplish their own agendas of gaining and keeping personal power. None of them, after all, will be around in one hundred years to see the consequences.

If these men are motivated by selfish reasons then, surely, they are Christians in name only. Regardless, they give Christianity and Christians a bad name.

While it's tempting to feel anger or despair, I ask you to pray for the misguided souls who are trying to downplay Global Warming. Pray for James Dobson, Gary Bauer and Paul Weyrich who told the policy director of the National Association of Evangelicals, the Rev. Richard Cizik, to shut up about Global Warming.

Affirm that God awakens them to the consequences of their actions. For with every day we delay in cutting CO2 emmisions and conserving energy, we seal the fate of not millions, but billions of poor people who are living on the edge as we speak.

We also seal the fate of not just polar bears and penguins who seems so far away, but of the honey bees that pollinate our crops and make food production possible.

"Every third bite we consume in our diet is dependent on a honeybee to pollinate that food," said Zac Browning, vice president of the American Beekeeping Federation. Yet honey bees are disappearing in such record numbers - perhaps in the billions. Our food supply is endangered.

Called Colony Collapse Disorder, at least part of the problem seems to be related to changes in climate. There was an unusally warm autumn and an early winter in beekeeping states in 2006.

As Rev. Joel Hunter, pastor of a megachurch in Longwood, Fla., said: "As Christians, our faith in Jesus Christ compels us to love our neighbors and to be stewards of God's creation. The good news is that with God's help, we can stop Global Warming, for our kids, our world and for the Lord."

Thank God for this growing awareness and bless all those Christians, such as Reverend Hunter, who signed the initiative.

Pray for those opposing environmental action and affirm that God either gets them on board, for the highest good of all inhabitants of the earth, or that those men, to include James Dobson, Gary Bauer and Paul Weyrichlose, lose their influence and are replaced by more responsible stewards of the faithful.

Prayer To Grow Environmental Evangelism

Dear God,

In Jesus' name we affirm that all Christians awaken to the danger of climate change.

In Jesus name we affirm that it is easier and easier for us to conserve energy as individuals and as a society.

We thank You, dear Jesus, that it is a joy to become aware and purchase products only made by environmentally responsible companies.

We thank You, Jesus, that powerful Christian evangelists promote environmental activism among their faithful.

We thank You that, together, we are invincible in reversing the damage caused by pollution and Global Warming.

We thank You, Jesus, that all those who would continue to despoil the earth or advocate the despoiling of the earth for selfish political purposes disappear into the nothingness of political obscurity from which they came.

We thank You, Jesus, that all those who would continue to selfishly despoil the earth for profit lose their market share.

Thank You, Jesus, for empowering us so we now reclaim, restore and protect our beautiful earth.

She is Your beautiful gift to us and we protect and preserve her now in gratitude.

And so it is.

According to their pasture, so were they filled. Hosea 13:6

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