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.
We are very excited to be hosting Rev. Kyle Meyaard-Schaap for a Trinity Fellowship Lecture, Wednesday, April 3rd, 7:30pm at Evangelical Community Church. Kyle is a graduate of Calvin College and Western Theological Seminary and serves as the National Organizer and Spokesperson for Y.E.C.A. – Young Evangelicals for Climate Action. and has been a steering committee member since 2013. Before going on staff at Y.E.C.A., Kyle served for four years as the Creation Care Coordinator at the Office of Social Justice for the Christian Reformed Church in North America, where he worked to educate and equip individuals and congregations to learn and act at the intersection of creation care and Christian faith.
The lecture will explore how the Christian faith leads us to a deeper concern for God’s earth and love for neighbor both at home and around the world, integration theology, science, and action. There will be a time of Q&A following the lecture.
Kyle has received numerous awards for his work, including being named in 2015 to Midwest Energy Group’s inaugural 40 Under 40 cohort for his work on climate change education and advocacy. He has been featured in national and international news outlets such as PBS, NPR, NBC News, Reuters, and U.S. News and World Report. He is married to Allison and resides in Grand Rapids, MI with their son Simon. In his free time, Kyle enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time outside in God’s beautiful creation.
Dr. Lulich’s presentation/conversation on the early church fathers and the development of the canon is available to stream or download. Readings are available on the previous blog post.
The fourth and final discussion is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 7th, 7:30pm. Hope to see you there.
Wednesday, October 24th, 7:30pm, ECC Room 18.
Dr. Steven Lulich will lead part three of our conversation on the New Testament and the formation of the canon. This week Dr. Lulich will guide an exploration of early church figures such as Origen, Irenaus and Tertullian (follow links for readings) and how the understood and contribute to the formation of the canon.
Audio from past lectures can be found on the Past Lectures page. Also past reading can be found on the blog posts for each lecture.
Dr. Steven Lulich led an excellent exploration of the canon as it was developing in the early church. The audio is available to stream or download. To get the most out of this lecture, you may want to open the following documents, as Dr. Lulich works through each one in turn: Timeline, Eusebius Ecclesiastical History (III.24/25), Muratorian Fragment, and Early Canon Lists.
Part Three of the Conversation is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct 24th, 7:30pm.
Wednesday Night, 7:30pm, ECC Room 18.
This Wednesday, we pick up the conversation on New Testament Canonicity and Reliability. Dr. Steven Lulich will be the conversation leader this Wednesday, leading an exploration of the earliest explicit canon lists, including that of the great Early Church historian Eusebius of Caesaraea. Eusebius gives us a wonderful view not only of the books in the canon, but also of the logic behind the Church’s recognition of their canonicity in the decades before the Council of Nicaea and the conversion of Emperor Constantine. If you can, take a few minutes and read through these five pages from Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History.
The audio for part one is available for stream or download.
The first lecture from the four part series on the New Testament has been posted. It was a great conversation, with more to follow!
Reading for Lecture one is available here.
Four Part Conversation on Canoncity and Reliability of the New Testament
Dr. Bob Whitaker and Dr. Steven Lulich
Part one (stream, download)