The audio and the video from the “Creation Care, Climate Change, and the Gospel” event with Kyle Meyaard-Schaap has been posted. The Panel discussion and Q&A are also posted separately. We look forward to more conversations like this!
Creation Care, Climate Change, and the Gospel
Kyle Meyaard-Schaap (Young Evangelicals for Climate Change) and Panel
Lecture (video, audio stream, audio download)
Panel Q&A (video, audio stream, audio download)
I am currently re-reading a fantastic book by Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralistic Society. The book has little to say directly about creation care or climate change, but Newbigin’s insights do apply to the conversation. In a chapter entitled “The Bible as Universal History” he traces how history has been written and taught since the time of Augustine. Since Augustine, history has been taught as the progress of the City of God. Secular revisions watered it down into a vague ‘progress of society’; communists morphed it into the progress of the working class, etc. All of these visions looked hopefully towards the future. But, Newbigin contends (writing in the late twentieth century), “In the closing decades of this century it is difficult to find Europeans who have any belief in a significant future which is worth working for and investing in.” In the early decades of the twenty-first century, this bleak outlook and apathy have spread to the U.S. also. Newbigin continues,
“A society which believes in a worthwhile future saves in teh present so as to invest in the future. Contemporary Western society spends in the present and piles up debts for the future, ravages the environment, and leaves its grandchildren to cope with the results as best they can. One searches contemporary European literature in vain for evidence o fhope for the future; rather, in Jurgen Moltmann’s words, it is characterized by cold despair, resignation, and cinicism.”
Certainly, love for neighbor, present and future neighbor’s, demands more. Certainly, the Christian’s outlook should be different. But what…how?
Join us this Wednesday night, April 3rd, at 7:30pm at Evangelical Community Church for a special lecture by Kyle Meyaard-Schaap entitled “Creation Care, Climate Change, and the Gospel.” A panel will engage questions after the lecture.
I ran across an article in Wired recently that suggested we have reached “Peak Indifference” to climate change – a phrase that “refers to the psychology of problems that become too big to ignore.” According to proponents, the number, severity, and relative proximity of several climate-related disasters has forced people to take notice (think wildfires, flooding, severe hurricanes). A couple of polls lend credence to the claim that we’ve turned the corner on indifference. One poll shows that the number of Republicans who believe climate change is real rose from 49% three years ago to 64% this past December. More widely, another survey shows that say the number who say they are “very worried” about climate jump jumped from 21% to 29% in one year.
There is still, however, significant disagreement among those who believe climate change is real and are worried about. Some doubt whether humans are to blame for climate change or if it is part of a natural cycle. Some seem to have given in to a nihilistic apathy, thinking it’s too late to do anything about it.
How is a Christian to think about these things? Does the gospel say anything that has bearing on the condition of the earth, present, and future? Does the good news of Jesus call us to action in this area, or only soul winning?
Kyle-Meyaard Schaap, National Spokesperson for Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, will be lecturing on this topic on April 3rd, 7:30pm. The lecture, “Creation Care, Climate Change, and the Gospel” will be followed by a panel discussion/Q&A time. We hope this will be the beginning of some great future conversations. The lecture will be hosted at Evangelical Community Church, 503 S. High Street, Bloomington, IN, 47404.
I recently stumbled across an article summarizing research done by IU’s Dan Konisky (School of Public and Environmental Affairs). Dr. Konisky’s study, published in December, 2017, contends that Christians have not become more concerned about the environment over the past twenty-five years; in fact, evidence indicates concern may be waning. Konisky demonstrates that, according to Gallup polling, the number of Christians who express a “great deal of concern” about the environment dropped by a third from 1990 to 2015. In summary, there has been no “greening of Christianity.”
Some have pointed to the Christian belief that humans have been given dominion over the earth to explain this apparent lack of concern for the environment. It is not apparent, however, why these two things must coincide. Most who would claim their home as their dominion, their mini-kingdom, still work to maintain it, striving to be good stewards. Is it not possible to believe that humans have dominion over the earth and share a responsibility to be good stewards of it?
What are the connections between creation care, climate change, and the gospel? That’s the topic guest lecturer Kyle Meyaard-Schaap will take up at the Trinity Fellowship event on April 3rd, hosted at ECC (503 S. High St). The lecture begins at 7:30pm and is preceeded by light refreshements. A time of Q&A with Kyle and a panel will follow the lecture.
Funny. Our Facebook advertisement for the ‘Creation Care, Climate Change, and the Gospel’ was initially rejected (until we finish a verification process) because it was a political issue. Kudos to Facebook for trying to reign in the wild west of social media advertising. And, of course, they are right – climate change is a political issue now. What isn’t? Education? That’s political. The arts? Political. Family? Political. So it’s not surprising that it’s deemed political. But, don’t forget it’s also theological and spiritual!
Part of the narrative as it relates to evangelicals is that they have a very narrow band of issues they are concerned about, usually centered around issues related to family, marriage, the unborn, or religious liberties. This list, according to the popular narrative, almost never includes issues like the environment, clean energy, climate change, or the anything of the sort.
Younger evangelicals are helping to change that narrative. Not only are they calling the church to a godly concern for creation, but to action. Part of this call is to realize that we are to seek the ‘good of the city’ while we reside in it. Part of it is to know and understand that as part of the People of God, we ought to love and care for what God loves and cares for. This undoubtedly includes his Creation!
Come hear more from Rev. Kyle Meyaard-Schaap (bio), National Spokesperson for Young Evangelicals for Climate Action (YECA), on April 3rd, 7:30pm. There will be a time of Q&A after the lecture and light refreshments before and after.