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For international relief and development staff working with communities on the front lines of climate change, the compounding effects of a slight increase in sea level or temperature can mean the difference between success and famine.

June 9, 2017 0 2 comments
Resource, Conference or Event

Join us for a free screening of the From the Ashes documentary, Monday, June 19, 7p.m., at Monroe Community Church.

June 7, 2017 1 2 comments
Blog

Calling all pastors! Have you ever talked about creation care or climate change from the pulpit? We encourage you to participate in the Creation Care Preaching Challenge.

June 2, 2017 1 1 comments
Blog

Among the crowds of people going to the People's Climate March are several members of the CRC. Keep reading to discover the personal stories behind each of their decisions to march.

April 25, 2017 4 4 comments
Blog

Five community gardens projects in Kent and Muskegon counties received funding and training grants of $1250 this month to grow their projects and increase their benefit to local community members.

April 21, 2017 1 0 comments
Resource, Conference or Event

Responding to the moral challenge of climate change presents an opportunity for Christians to love God and our neighbor more deeply, and an opportunity for the United States to lead the clean energy revolution already underway around the world.

March 8, 2017 1 1 comments
Resource, Article

The guide includes a simple calculation to show how to calculate the cost of electricity used on an annual basis, 14 energy-saving ideas, and tips for implementation. 

February 2, 2017 1 2 comments
Resource, Lesson or Study

For the Love Of explores the journey of four worship artists to Paris for COP21 to learn about how climate change is affecting the world's most impoverished people. The Climate Witness Project developed a study to accompany the film.

November 15, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

In assessing what is most important in my life and what I want to do with my time post-retirement, love of God’s creation and love of family and friends (including the church) are right at the top. 

September 12, 2016 0 5 comments
Resource, Conference or Event

Join the Office of Social Justice for two upcoming educational film screenings on climate change in the Grand Rapids area.

August 8, 2016 2 0 comments
Resource, Website

So far, over 200 CRC members from 35 congregations in the U.S. and Canada have come together to learn, act, and advocate for a safer and more just world. Will you join them? 

July 20, 2016 1 0 comments
Resource, Book or Booklet

Do you ever wonder about life, creation, and your part in it? If so, check out the book "Beyond the Cosmos" by Hugh Ross for some deep science reading with spiritual insight.

July 19, 2016 0 0 comments
Resource, Article

The CRCNA believes that the global church has a crucial and necessary role to play if the world is to begin adequately addressing the reality of climate change, which is why it has launched Phase Two of the Climate Witness Project.

May 2, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

My Christian tradition puts me, a creature, as a part of creation. Indeed, I have wisdom and power to cultivate and create, but I also have the power to harm. We have made a commitment in Paris, and now we need to act on it.

March 16, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

As Christians, God calls us to be “faithful stewards” of the earth given to us. Only together, as Global citizens, with clear direction and leadership of our national and provincial governments, can we work towards a stable climate.

March 16, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

After the Paris Agreement, I know that I need to make hard choices: from what I buy at the grocery store; to choosing to bike or walk rather than hop in the car; to reducing my consumption. 

March 10, 2016 1 0 comments
Blog

Witnessing the effects of climate change on Bangladesh where I grew up, I came to realize that the risks of climate change are not a fear for the future, but rather, risks we take today.

March 2, 2016 0 4 comments
Blog

As we move beyond this historic agreement it is the responsibility of Christians and religious communities of all kinds to hold their governments to the commitments made in Paris.

February 23, 2016 3 2 comments
Blog

Back in the late 1990s shortly after I published a little book called Remember Creation, I was invited to give five morning lectures on creation stewardship at a Christian Bible camp north of Seattle.

February 18, 2016 2 9 comments
Blog

We can envision a solution to the worst of climate change, a sustainable future for the world. And we can envision the alternative, a world ravaged by rising temperatures. But we're never very clear about how we’ll end up at either end...

February 16, 2016 1 2 comments
Resource, Video

View the video recording from the CRC delegation attending the Paris Climate Change Talks (COP 21). Get updated on how this group is bringing a Christian witness to this global event. 

December 10, 2015 0 0 comments
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In a few weeks, the nations of the world will gather in Paris to try and reach a global agreement in response to the challenge of climate change. How do we, as Christians, engage in this process?

November 5, 2015 1 3 comments
Blog

The Paris meetings will likely provide a once-in-a-decade opportunity for the CRCNA to further implement Synod 2012’s powerful statement on climate change, calling for involvement and advocacy at all levels.

July 7, 2015 1 7 comments
Blog

Dr. Calvin DeWitt, author of Earthwise: A Guide to Hopeful Creation Care, responds to Pope Francis's encyclical, saying "It is a letter that brings substantial hope..."

June 19, 2015 0 0 comments
Resource, Type Not Listed

For too long the church has been silent about the moral travesty of climate change. Today, the Pope has said, “Enough is enough,” and the Christian Reformed Church welcomes his voice. 

June 18, 2015 3 7 comments

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I fully support, contrary to my denominational bureaucracy,  apparently, shifting some authority and responsibility for environmental concerns from the federal government to the states.  The proposed budget represents that perspective.  It is a misinterpretation -- or perhaps just political partisanship -- to suggest the proposed budget represents lack of concern for what the CRCNA likes to call Creation Care.

I'm so thankful that President Trump had the common sense to pull out the biggest hoax since evolution - Man made climate change and the Paris agreement.

Hi Bill! It looks like the address is on the event page where people are asked to 'rsvp', but good suggestion to add it to this post as well.

Wouldn't it be wise to include the address of Monroe Community Church in this announcement? I know where it is, but we shouldn't assume everyone does, or force them to dig to figure it out.

I understand and applaud CRC pastors preaching about the subject of creation care (cultural mandate, creation, etc).  I don't understand or applaud CRC pastors preaching about climate change (or at least taking political or scientific positions about it), anymore than I would understand or applaud CRC pastors preaching about fourth generation nuclear power plants.  Both climate change and nuclear power plants are matters about which pastors (and the CRCNA) are woefully uninformed.  Beyond that, there is no clear or even ambiguous biblical mandate about climate change or nuclear power plants.  

Congregants can and should of course think about climate change and nuclear power plants because they believe they should be involved in creation care, but they will form various conclusions about both subjects, all of which may align with scripture, even though the pastors -- or CRCNA -- may declare in a particular direction on the subjects.

Hi Harry, 

CRC synod spoke on the issue of climate change recently. In 2010, the synod of the CRC instructed that a task force be formed to study and present a Reformed perspective of creation stewardship, including the issue of climate change. In 2012, the Creation Stewardship Task Force presented its findings in the Creation Stewardship Task Force Report (read the summary here). Synod 2012 responded by affirming its findings and adopting its recommendations, thereby becoming one of the first evangelical denominations in the United States to affirm the scientific consensus on climate change, calling it a "moral, religious, and social justice issue," and calling its denominational bodies, congregations, and individual members to private and public action. 

You can read the statement by Synod 2012 here, along with its recommendations to churches.

The church as organization has no business getting involved or supporting or not supporting this type of action. Members can make up their own minds whether or not to participate. 

I see nothing in the mandate of the CRCNA to get involved in this either way. Surely those who work in the CRCNA office have other things to do.

Thanks, everyone, for sharing. Love hearing the personal reasons behind why you're marching. Also, Rick, the "Polar Bears Matter" line is awesome!

Be careful who you march with. The website for this event shows disrespect for the president of the United States and suggests that he is out to harm the people of America. As Christians who are taught to respect our leaders, the president of the United States should not be addressed as “Trump”.

The average temperature of the earth’s surface has always been slowly changing. The reasons for this are immensely complex, and I believe still not well understood. One example of sources of confusion is in applying the term “greenhouse effect” to one of the causes of global warming. Greenhouses become warmer inside primarily by preventing convection; our atmosphere can become warmer when, primarily infrared light is impeded as it radiates into space. Do man’s activities such as creating carbon dioxide, water vapour, heat, and dust, to name a few, affect the average temperature of the earth? Probably, but to what extent?

If you want to march for Jobs, Justice, and Climate, then would you also please march to protest the persecution and murder of the Assyrians, Copts, and other of our brothers and sisters in Christ, in the Middle East? Are you also marching to protect the unborn? Whichever march you go on please carpool or take a bus to minimize your contribution to man-made emissions.

Peter Davis

Interesting idea. Does this limit your office hours or just maximize efficiency?

Appreciate the good suggestions for LED lighting.  

If this persuades congress to enact more stringent clean energy standards it would also mean higher energy costs. from a social justice perspective wouldn't this be a hardship and added burden to the working poor and those on fixed incomes?  I think we should encourage stewardship of Gods creation but not mandate it through the government, as with all the commands in the Bible it should come from the heart not a law.

The church I belong to decided when it started to rent facilities rather than own them. This frees space for others and we only use electricity when we use the building. Of course it is up to the building owner to be a wise steward.

Nice video Kris (and I've watched all of them, not just this trailer linked to) but even in the linked video, one of the speaker says: "so water scarcity is becoming a big problem in Kenya because of deforestation."  Indeed, changing landscape do change rain patterns.

I don't say this to suggest Kenyans are not deserving of help -- they are.  But I am saying, as another speaker does, that we should "put politics aside" when helping Kenyans.

To connect "being willing to help Kenyans" with "accepting the political and science positions represented by climate alarmism (or the Paris Agreement of 2015)" is a counterproductive and disrespectful tactic.  One can fully support caring for God's creation and providing help to Kenyans without coming to the political and science conclusions some demand others come to.  

"Putting politics aside" does not mean requiring that both sides come to the political position of one of the sides.

I think it's important to continue to trust in God's promises too. Creation is a gift and when we don't take care of it--whether it's toxic water that no one can drink, degraded soil that won't bear crops, or an atmosphere so polluted that it changes critical weather patterns--there are natural consequences.

For the families in this Kenya video (click here), who live in the vulnerable position of depending year to year on their small crop for survival, the threat of climate change hits really close to home. The weather patterns they relied on for generations have changed and the way they farmed isn't working anymore. They trust and depend on God with all of their hearts and their response to God's promises includes asking all of us in North America to have a more urgent awareness around the topic of climate change. The Paris agreement is one way that governments are working together in an attempt to protect the interests of the most vulnerable.        

I am a grandmother and also care about God's creation,but I am seriously concerned about our endorsements of United Nations' treaties and policies. Just ask my poor family, I've spent the last year researching them, so don't get me started!  Personally, my faith rests on God's promise in Genesis 8 vs 22. "As long as the earth continues, there will always be a time for planting and a time for harvest. There will always be cold and hot, summer and winter, day and night on earth.{ERV}. 

According to "scientific" evidence, over the last couple of million years, much warmer climates are the norm. Ice ages are rare. Of course, if one is a 6 day creation/young earth  young earth believer, then disregard and please agree to disagree. 

I too am a grandfather, have researched these questions, and care deeply about God's creation.  Notwithstanding, I have concluded the 2015 Paris Agreement is counterproductive toward the goal of true "creation care," as are climate change alarmists' strategies generally.  I also believe the CRC's advocacy on this issue is ill-informed and counter-productive.

 

Thanks for your thoughtful comments to Joe's post and to Doug's comments Roger. I lived and worked in Bangladesh for 7 years (for World Renew) in the 70s and 80s and have been back several times in the past few years - specifically to look at environmental degredation - including that caused or exacerbated by a changing climate.

- Bangladesh is the "poster child" for climate change realists (I can't speak for alarmists) because, as Doug's points and the articles he links to indicate, changing climates and weather patterns brought about by global warming interact with other human activity that degrades the environment: Deforestation, inappropriate land use, attempts to contain rivers, removal of costal mangrove barriers, and so on. In military terms, climate change in a place like Bangladesh is a "threat multiplier", i.e it makes everything much worse.

- Although sea level rise is a serious long-term threat to Bangladesh, the immediate threats are much more related to food production. Bangladesh has one of the most intensive and complicated farming systems anywhere. The abrupt changes in weather patterns have wrecked havoc with age old and sophisticated ways that farmers make decisions to achieve their food needs and minimize risks. This is serious.

- Likewise, millions of farmers that relied on perennial rivers for dry season irrigation are facing problems with water availability because these rivers have become seasonal, i.e. they dry up when they are most needed. They have become seasonal due to a number of factors that include deforestation, the loss of holding areas for glacial lakes, and human activity in the foothills of the Himalayas. But the thing that activates the negative effects of all these human changes to the environment is the increase in the quantity of rain in shorter and shorter time spans. Essentially these downpours trigger flash floods that have the effect of carving much wider channels for the rivers. A few years ago I stood on the banks of a dry river bed in Northern Bangladesh that I could barely see across. In the early 80s that river was less than 50 yards wide with a perennial flow of water. Some farmers had dug shallow wells from which to irrigate. Others had been helped (by climate adaptation funds) to purchase motorized tube wells to irrigate their vegetable plots. This is just one among many examples of what is happening to rural life and food production due to a warming world interacting with all the other changes we make to the land.

- But population growth, I think, is not a major cause of the problems Bangladesh faces. First, when I was there the rate of population growth was around 3.5%. Due to a vigorous family planning program supported by aid agencies such as CIDA and USAID (your tax dollars well spent!) - as well as real economic progress in the country, the growth rate is now around 1.5% - a really wonderful success story! In addition, people are usually assets in solving problems of this magnitude and NOT debits. Bangladesh has millions of well educated scientists, agronomists, climate experts, and the like. They are doing remarkable things to adapt to the reality of climate change. Their Center for Advanced Studies, for example, is a world class think tank when it comes to adapting to climate change and developing sustainable ways to thrive.

I have gone on long enough - but I hope three points come through - and might be helpful to you as you think this through: First, climate change is real and it is already seriously affecting countries like Bangladesh. Two, climate change interacts with all sorts of other things that humans are doing to the environment - sometimes in very unexpected, complex, and hard to predict ways. Three, the fact that the effects of a warming world are complex and deeply intertwined with other issues of human development and survival does NOT make global warming less serious. In fact it makes it more urgent that we acknowledge its reality and deal with it as only humans can - with all the intelligence and creativity and discipline that God has given us!

 

Thanks Doug for the further info.  It’s quite obvious I know little about this topic.  I do believe that global warming and the response from world governments will be tremendously expensive.  This will no doubt put a drain on the economies of our globe, but especially on the U.S. economy as they are often asked to carry more than their fair share as a world leader.  So if there are other mitigating factors and less expensive means that would help resolve the problem such as in Bangladesh, why not pursue those first?  If I hear Doug correctly, it sounds as if there could be a problem of misdiagnosis in Bangladesh, so perhaps other avenues could be more effective in resolving the problems there.  That’s not to say there isn’t a problem with global warming and that we have a responsibility in that regard.  But what lengths do we go to, and at what expense?  There are many other issues to be concerned with at the same time.  We can’t put all our eggs in one basket.  Thanks Doug, for the input.

Actually, Bangladesh's problem result from increased population, de-forestation, pollution other than CO2, and other man-made molding to the environment -- far more so than sea rise caused by global CO2 emissions.  It has become a poster-child for climate change alarmists, but Bangladesh's other problems dwarf those caused by climate change.

Sea rise has been happening -- although very slowly -- and is going to continue happening -- again, although very slowly --, whether fossil fuels increase the CO2 in the atmosphere or not.  We are still on the recovery side of ice ages, geologically speaking and so the sea level is supposed to rise -- again even while very slowly.  See at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_level_rise#/media/File:Trends_in_globa...  

Given the amount of public relations money behind the mantra that climate change is the cause of all troubles, it is not, and Bangladesh is one of the cases in point, even if climate change alarmists like to make Bangladesh their poster child.

Look, for example, at: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/embankments-exacerbate-sea-lev...  and

http://bangladeshunique.blogspot.com/2010/07/deforestation-in-bangladesh...   and

http://blog.cifor.org/9434/bangladesh-forests-disappearing-at-alarming-r...   and

http://bankofinfo.com/population-growth-in-bangladesh/

http://www.muhammadyunus.org/index.php/news-media/articles-by-professor-...

 

 

Thanks Angelyn for posting this article.  Such an article helps to put global warming into perspective.  It does make the dangers of global warming tangible.  Of course, making the shift away from such warming is a terribly expensive project, probably incalculable in dollars and cents (billions upon billions of dollars on national and international economies).  I wonder if such a tremendous project could be tempered by moving populations away from the southern regions of Bangladesh or portions of Rhode Island or the Keys?  Why do we wait until it is already too late to take such action?

Hi Doug, Good to hear from you again. I am fine with more nuclear and think that should certainly be part of how we produce carbon neutral energy. In order to meet the goals of the COP-21 agreement, we should prayerfully consider all options. It seems like we can do this while also trying to take other measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and care for those most affected by climate change. Reminding us of the importance of nuclear energy seems like you doing just what I ask for when I said, it is the "responsibility of religious communities, my own Christian Reformed Church and communities across the faith spectrum, to remind our leaders these [CO2 reducing] solutions are technically possible, politically important, and morally necessary." Thanks for your thoughtful response. - Clay Carlson

I would clarify that some of the questionable actions of the CRC's Office of Social Justice i.e. sanctioning President Obama's Agricultural bill over the Republican alternative as well as the actions of conservative groups like the Christian Coalition (I once sat in a church that had a bulletin insert comparing candidates based on their support for an anti-flag burning amendment to the U.S. Constitution!) are what I had in mind reading Scott Hoezee's article. I have a hard time seeing that the biggest problem for the CRC or the broader church in North America today is a reluctance of clergy to speak on political matters.

I do qualify this by saying there are, obviously texts and issues that demand attention. I have no problem with a pastor lamenting the destruction of human life by abortion, for example. I strongly disagree with churches that engaged in a campaign called "Justice Sunday" some years back to rally support for then President GW Bush's judicial nominees. 

I have no problem breaking bread with professing believers who disagree on public policy. I also concur pastors must sometimes address difficult topics. I only hasten to add it needs to be done with humility and reasonable restraint if we are going to move forward as a denomination. That is well there may very well be instances where pastors are too reluctant to take on topics, there are other times when, imo, there has been a lack of maturity and discernment which results in "push back". 

This article is correct.  Dealing with the climate change issue is proving to be very difficult.  Fundamentally, the need is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuel of any kind (coal, natural gas, gasoline, diesel, propane, fuel oil, aviation fuel, etc.).  The only practical way known to reduce these emissions is to reduce fossil fuel consumption, and that goes against the grain of North America's energy-driven, consumption-oriented, economy.  Non-fossil fuel alternatives are simply not easy or as cost-competitive. 

We all need to do what we can, and government regulations may be part of the solution, but we must not be thinking that a few government regulations are all we need to protect the environment.  For regulations to stand up to the test of time a majority of people have to want the regulations.  We are not there.  I think those endorsing regulations might not realize what they are asking for.  Don't ya just love those under-two bucks-a-gallon fill-ups? You don't really want $5/gallon gasoline do you?  The fundamental problem is that we love, Love, LOVE, to burn fossil fuel.  And for good reason.  It's a really inexpensive source of portable and storable energy.  Even at $5 a gallon for gasoline it's fun to burn it!  (Even if we know it pollutes.) 

In the spirit of doing what we can, below is a URL that leads to some guidance for individuals on, "how to get there." (From the end of he first paragraph of the article.)   Practice what you learn with joy knowing that what you are doing is a worthwhile response to the Cultural Mandate (Genesis 1:28).  But at the same time, you should realize that what one family can practically achieve is more symbolic than effective, more of a drop in the ocean than a refreshing change.  After trying to make some changes in your family's carbon footprint you might gain a renewed sympathy for our cultural love love love for fossil fuel.  Hopefully even symbolic actions are a helpful start to a world-wide re-orientation to Christ, because it's going to take something bigger than your or I to get to those, "streets paved in gold." 

https://www3.epa.gov/carbon-footprint-calculator/

Peter: I'm a bit surprised at your response here.  You say we need "Places where it is safe to name, discuss, agree, and disagree on critical issues that God and we deeply care about."  You are the director of OSJ, which involves itself in just these sorts of subjects, and yet all of OSJ's "online publications," like DoJustice, are intentionally one-way, that is, you disable the comment functions.  The discussion and disagreement you here say is so important is missing when OSJ communicates.

Yes, you and I have had this discussion (about OSJ's one-way communications) by email before and you've concluded we just disagree, which was true, but now you seem to be saying discussion, including about disagreement, is needed after all.

Understand I'm on your side on this comment, but it appears to me you aren't on your own side when it comes to presenting your/OSJ's perspective on these kinds of issues -- then/there you reject discussion.  Help me out here in understanding what I perceive to be a disconnect.

I too am [was] ,now retired, science teacher....taught all levels from grade 6- thru College.

Climate does change, but we humans may not be as in control of it as some think...

Think of ice ages, time when N AM was under ocean, etc

If we don't get control of our values in this country, there may not be enuf civilization left to worry about.  And we have the immediate threat of Muslim extremists..

At the moment we have bigger fish to fry,

 

 

 

 

There's not much in this article I agree with.  Here's the other side.

The author begins by declaring a "disconnect" between "Christians and climate change," by which is meant that if you are Christian, you should be on board with the climate change related positions and suggestions this author articles is about to take and make.  But maybe, just maybe, there is a "connect" between "Christians and climate change," except that Christians should be taking a position opposite of that taken by this author.  Here's the case for that.  

First, no one believes human activity doesn't affect climate.  No one.  Whether it's burning fuels that release CO2 or raising cattle that pass methane gas or growing rice that does much the same as cattle, human activity affects the land, sea and atmosphere.  But that's not really the important question.  The important questions are: (1) how much does human activity affect climate, (2) in what ways does human activity affect climate, (3) what are the effects of the effect humans have on climate, (4) what should we do, if anything, to mitigate the effects of the effects humans have on climate.

Second, contrary to what our president says (the same president who said he'd put a comprehensive plan for immigration reform in front of Congress within 90 days of being elected, the same president who said debates about health care would be done in the open and carried by C-SPAN, and the same president who promised everyone could keep their insurance plan and doctor, and that insurance costs would go down, under Obamacare) is simply incorrect (or misrepresenting again) when he claims "...  if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it. You’ll be pretty lonely ...."  Many, not just a couple, not just a few, world class climatologists, and thousands of other supporting non-climatologist scientists, vigorously disagree.  Take, for example, world class climatologist John Christy (Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville) and his climate science working partner, Roy Spencer.  Together, these men, both of whom are brothers in Christ, developed our nation's satellite based temperature measuring/tracking system.  Both have impeccable, untarnished credentials.  Neither are funded by the evil fossil fuel industry.  And both vigorously disagree with today's "climate alarmist" community.  And Christy and Spencer are by no means the end of the list.  I'll decline to list more here, but I certainly am able.

There is one point made in this article that I agree with, that being "Climate change is an exceedingly technical issue...."  Indeed it is.  Which is why I'm a bit surprised that the author of this article would, as this article does, equate being on one side of the issue with being Christian.  For that matter is it remarkable that the CRC, an insitution devoid of even a single world class climatologist, would take a position about this "exceedingly technical issue."  The implication of course, from this article and the CRC's taken position, is that "being on the other side: means "not being Christian."  In contrast, I regard persons on both sides of the issue as quite capable of being Christians.

There is another point made in this article that I agree with, that being "Climate change is ... also a deeply moral issue."  But while the author of this article believes that means we should support Barak Obama's and the United Nation's position, I believe otherwise.  Indeed, I and many world class economists believe that following the Paris Agreement may result in that which is immoral.  Limiting the amount of energy people can use, especially in undeveloped countries, comes at a price that is extracted in terms of human life sometimes, and always in terms of human prosperity (or said more fashionably, human flourishing).  

But there is a way through this impasse, this disagreement about the science, and the effect of the effect of humans on the climate.  What if we would develop a lot more non-CO2 emitting energy resources?  OK, but how do we do that?

James Hansen, the "climate alarmist" who started this all, the guy who "climate alarmists" hold in near god-like status, had said, over and over and over and over (go Google it), that solar, wind, geothermal and other similar renewable energy sources are good, but clearly and certainly not robust enough to fill the energy need gap that will be created if we reduce fossil fuel consumption to the extent needed to avoid his prediction of CO2 Armageddon.  And while John Christy and many others would disagree about the CO2 Armageddon part, they too would support dramatically increasing nuclear energy.  So it would seem there is a middle ground, a solution that both James Hanson and John Christy and Roy Spencer would agree to: nuclear engergy.  James Hanson has been saying, again over and over and over (again, go Google it) that nuclear energy is clean, safe, CO2 free, efficient, and sufficiently abundant to "fill the gap" that fossil fuel reductions would leave.  Christy and Spencer would agree.

So then, what's the problem?  If both sides agree on the real solution (which is not the Paris Agreement), why can't we do that?  Answer: because when James Hanson pitches nuclear energy, all of his otherwise supportive "climate alarmist" community goes silent.  They don't like nuclear energy.  Why?  Hard to know for sure, but probably because of their irrational fears, or more likely perhaps of their political obstructionist positions taken in the past about nuclear energy.  

But notice this: France produces 85% of its electricity via new nuclear plants.  Scandinavian countries have gone nuclear (yes, Sweden and Norway).  But these are countries that are ecologically sensitive, not?  Exactly.

I would thus argue that if Christians -- or anyone else for that matter -- want to be Christian (or responsible), they might want to advocate not for the Paris Agreement but along with James Hanson (remember, the near-god representative of the "climate alarmist"), that the US should set aside irrational fears (and political history) about nuclear energy and implement a real solution that all sides, including those who may think we don't need a solution, agree on.  

How is this not a sensible way foward?  Why is this not the advocacy route that Christians should take?  Why does the Christian Reformed Church continue to ignore James Hanson, the person who initiated the concerns about CO2 in the first place?  Why does this author suggest that to be Christian, one has to advocate for a solution that James Hansen and John Christy and Roy Spencer all say is not the answer?

Thanks for this Scott: A comment on revival: If we want to see revival in the CRC, make our church communities places where we can work out a living faith in the world; Places where it is safe to name, discuss, agree, and disagree on critical issues that God and we deeply care about. There are few practical issues of applying a living faith to our lives that do not involve our moral and political choices. If we cannot deal with that within a supportive community of faith, where can we?

And similarly if I misread your tone toward the Seminary I also apologize. 

I know it can be hard for people to believe this but lots of ministers know that you don't have to advocate for some political position to get in trouble.  Just suggesting that a given issue does need to be looked at in the light of the Gospel--and that therefore some new thinking on the issue is always possible--is enough to set many people off.

Every preacher knows that people often thank you for things you never said in a sermon even as they at other times assail you for things you likewise never said nor intended.   The preacher is grateful for the former, chalking it up to the Spirit's endlessly clever ability to apply the sermon to people's often hurting hearts in ways that go beyond the preacher's comprehension.  But the flip-side leaves preachers confused and at times hurt.

Of course, we all make mistakes and sometimes people criticize something in a sermon that really should not have been said and upon consideration, I have apologized for such times in my own preaching.  But honestly, I've had far more times when people heard something I did not say or read way more into something I did say than I ever intended.

Thanks for taking the time for the conversation, Mr. Ellis!

 

Professor Hoezee:

I was not taking a broad swipe at the Seminary, but your essay came across, at least to me, as a bit condescending toward the local group. As a whole, I believe CTS is one of more positive institutions of the CRCNA.

If your lectures were as you characterize them here, I am a bit puzzled as to why there would be any "push back"? I read your essay as basically stating that a. the locals felt you were taking a political stand that impacted their livelihood and b. on reflection reaching the presumptuous conclusion that you should have doubled down harder.

I may be reading your essay through a certain filter, one that is increasingly skeptical of ministers who are too quick to advocate political causes whether "left", "right" or "other". I regret if I have misinterpreted your intent.

To Mr. Ellis: The reference in this post to fishing and logging was to a speech I once gave and not specifically to a sermon. However, even in that speech I was not advocating specific public or political policies.   I just suggested that these were key areas in which to try to apply biblically informed thinking.   Similarly in sermons: I tell students in preaching classes--and reiterated this in a class on the Old Testament Prophets just this past week--that the wise preacher does not take sides on public policy and recognizes that Christians of good conscience and who are equally serious about things like stewardship and justice may well disagree outside of church on what is the best way to address such things in politics, personal behavior, etc.   That's fine and preachers ought not be so directive as to deny this reality so that they can make room for robust conversations among fellow Christians.   However, it is often true that even NAMING an issue as something to wrestle with is enough for some to accuse the preacher of being "all political."   You don't have to take sides or pretend you're an expert on Issue X--just mentioning it counts as wrong in some people's books.

We teach our students to look for what the issues are in the biblical text and to help the congregation wonder where such issues exist yet today and how the Word of God addresses them.   Given how many texts in both Testaments raise concerns about the treatment of the poor, justice, the value of God's physical creation, etc. it is very difficult to let the Bible speak to our world today if the preacher cannot even name the subject areas.   That, as much as anything, was my point in this post.

And for what it's worth since there is a clear swipe here at the Seminary and its teaching as standing in the way of revival in the CRCNA: we teach our students that every single Sunday they always preach two texts: the one printed in the bulletin (Psalm 23) which is the small-t text for the week AND above all the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is always the capital-T Text for every sermon.   We preach grace, hope, and joy every week--that's why we are there as preachers.   Along the way we need to countenance the troubles in the Bible and their counterpart troubles today but that, too, is en route to and in service of the Gospel.   This is the joy of preaching and its highest calling: to preach Christ and him crucified and raised from the dead!

 

The other possibility is that a pastor or seminary professor has nothing of substance to add to a discussion beyond what a layman already knows. It would be one thing to preach texts dealing with creation stewardship. It is quite another thing to make particular policy prescriptions related to fishing or logging regulations. It simply isn't within the sphere of competency given to the institutional church. Unfortunately, the tendency among academics is to assume expertise in their respective field somehow translates to other areas and that they are uniquely free from political or cultural biases.

It makes me wonder if Professor Hoezee would admonish pastors to boldly preach on CRC views related to sexual ethics in certain other congregations or classes in the CRC?

Either way, clergy are better sticking to the text and proclaiming the Gospel, not in making specific public policy prescriptions even if sometimes challenging a congregation in their thinking. The sooner more of our Seminary faculty and clergy accept this, the sooner we'll see real revival in the CRCNA.

Thanks for this reflection, Scott! I think you really nailed it. It took me going to Mali with World Renew and working with the Fulani, an Indigenous group there, to open my hard, self-involved heart to the injustices that Indigenous people in my own country face. Why? Because I am involved in those injustices. I benefit from them. It's harder to see them because I and those around me have all kinds of pre-fabricated stereotypes and reasons that the status quo is okay and not our fault. And yet where can we have the deepest impact? Why does World Renew work with local partners? Because we can often have the strongest impact when we speak where it "costs" us the most and where we already know the complex dynamics of the situation--at home. (This is not an argument against working overseas, but an argument for paying attention to the injustices in our own backyards, as you said, even and perhaps especially when it hurts.)

I so appreciate this piece. Thanks for the challenge. 

Absolutely true, Scott. Excellent thoughts. Our culture has been shifted to a real "experiential" focus, which I think is great in a lot of ways, but it has also led us in part to the idea that anyone who has not actually experienced something directly should not comment--sometimes true, sometimes not, IMHO. Additionally, we have a strong tendency to be unteachable--we think that our own opinions are just as valid as anyone else's. When we get together, and someone is speaking on a topic (whether it be a pastor or someone else) we often feel free to take what we already agree with, and dismiss what we don't agree with, assuming that the person speaking has no particular authority, and that therefore we don't need to pause and deeply, humbly consider. It's unfortunate. My wife and I often say that we are better together, but we wouldn't be, if we didn't listen to one another, and take one another's views into serious, humble consideration.  To me, this should be our posture towards all people. Let's learn to humbly, conscientiously listen and consider what others bring to the table!

James Hanson can be watched and listened to about the nuclear option at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZExWtXAZ7M

This is a must view for anyone who thinks COP 21 or the Climate Witness Project are on target to be significantly helpful, EVEN IF one agrees that CO2 emissions are cause for great alarm.

James Hansen, the father of the modern day concerns about global warming and climate change, has repeatedly said that the best "solution" to CO2 emissions is found in nuclear energy, and that neither renewable energy nor conservation strategies can close to solving the problem.  Sadly, most climate change alarmists are willing to follow Hansen when he talks about the danger of CO2 emissions but not when he talks about the solutions.  As to the latter, his crowd grows deafeningly silent.  Hansen is no slouch scientist, including as to nuclear reactors, which he considers extremely safe, given the advancement of nuclear technology.

Consider the % of energy that is produced by nuclear in a number of countries: France 76.9%, Slovakia 56.8%, Hungary 53.6%, Ukraine 49.4%, Belgium 47.5%, Sweden 41.5%, Switzerland 37.9%, Slovenia 37.2%, Czech Republic 35.8%, Finland 34.6%, Bulgaria 31.8%, Armenia 30.7%, South Korea 30.4%.  The United States lags way behind even if it should be in the lead.

Hansen and other climate alarmists have warned that we were reaching the "tipping point" to CO2 disaster quite some time ago.  I disagreed with their conclusions (as have more than a few world class scientists who are experts about the subject matter), and would note that if Hansen and his crowd are correct, we have already past the "tipping point."

Nevertheless, I and many others believe common ground can be found for both sides -- in nuclear energy.

In my view, COP 21 doubles down on a failed strategy, even if one agrees with Hansen's predictions, for the simple reason that its agenda cannot produce a solution, even by Hanson's analysis.  And if COP 21 is successful, the side effects in terms of world poverty will be anything but small.

If the CRCNA must enter the political fray on this topic (although I would argue it shouldn't for lack of expertise, among other reasons), it should have the courage to look for a middle ground that has the promise of being productive.  The CRCNA could do a lot worse than joining hands with James Hansen in proposing much more nuclear energy production.

James Hansen, the father of the modern day concerns about global warming and climate change, has repeatedly said that the best "solution" to CO2 emissions is found in nuclear energy, and that neither renewable energy nor conservation strategies can close to solving the problem.  Sadly, most climate change alarmists are willing to follow Hansen when he talks about the danger of CO2 emissions but not when he talks about the solutions.  As to the latter, his crowd grows deafeningly silent.  Hansen is no slouch scientist, including as to nuclear reactors, which he considers extremely safe, given the advancement of nuclear technology.

Consider the % of energy that is produced by nuclear in a number of countries: France 76.9%, Slovakia 56.8%, Hungary 53.6%, Ukraine 49.4%, Belgium 47.5%, Sweden 41.5%, Switzerland 37.9%, Slovenia 37.2%, Czech Republic 35.8%, Finland 34.6%, Bulgaria 31.8%, Armenia 30.7%, South Korea 30.4%.  The United States lags way behind even if it should be in the lead.

Hansen and other climate alarmists have warned that we were reaching the "tipping point" to CO2 disaster quite some time ago.  I disagreed with their conclusions (as have more than a few world class scientists who are experts about the subject matter), and would note that if Hansen and his crowd are correct, we have already past the "tipping point."

Nevertheless, I and many others believe common ground can be found for both sides -- in nuclear energy.

In my view, COP 21 doubles down on a failed strategy, even if one agrees with Hansen's predictions, for the simple reason that its agenda cannot produce a solution, even by Hanson's analysis.  And if COP 21 is successful, the side effects in terms of world poverty will be anything but small.

If the CRCNA must enter the political fray on this topic (although I would argue it shouldn't for lack of expertise, among other reasons), it should have the courage to look for a middle ground that has the promise of being productive.  The CRCNA could do a lot worse than joining hands with James Hansen in proposing much more nuclear energy production.

When the church advocates for our government to mandate caps on emissions we must be prepared for the effects. These types of mandates will most certainly make our energy prices to sky rocket, as President Obama said. Families struggling to make ends meet will find their electric bills higher,heating bills higher ,fuel and food prices all higher. These mandates  restrict freedom as well which is the engine of a growing economy and good jobs.   As our Church discusses social justice and climate change I think we have to look at both sides of the issue.

 

 

I'm not convinced the problem is man-made. In either case, the lowest cost solution is to build hydro dams and cancel the federal flood insurance program. 

I am not sure what is controversial or political about this issue.

There is a strong consensus in the academic community and politics really has nothing to do with it other than the need for politicians to promulgate policies to adjust our economic systems/ structures/ institutions, to allow them to measure and account for the true costs of our consumptive (extractionist) lifestyle.
Knowing the  cost of extreme weather events that we have seen already with less than 1°C of warming and the degree to which it has impacted people who by and large have not contributed to the problem but who  are bearing the brunt of the consequences it must first and foremost be seen as a moral issue.  I think the Church is clearly within its sphere speaking about the morality of using our military and economic might to run ecological deficits year after year, just so that we can live "in comfort" at the expense of our neighbors and the future generations.
 

I do not believe the CRCNA has any business showing up at a climate change meeting in Paris. This is a job for organizations like A Roche, David Suzuki Foundation and all the other highly politicized organizations.

These ideas seem to come from within the Bureaucracy of the CRCNA in GR and Burlington. The pronouncements at Synod should be a signal for members to do something via existing organizations rather than have the CRCNA HO folks do their thing.

Climate change has been with us since creation. The politicians, and liberals, are using it as a platform to extract higher taxes and involve themselves in everything.

I often wonder what happened to sphere sovereignty. Certainly the CRCNA seems to get involved in way too many issues that should be done by other who would be more knowledgeable.

The other broader issue is that climate change (and especially its total attribution to human activity) is controversial. So rather than bring the issue inside the walls of the church, let’s leave to NCOs (non-church organizations).

This article has the following quote from Rev. Hendrik Grape from the World Council of Churches at an international divestment conference: "...if it is wrong to wreck the climate, it is wrong to profit from that wreckage."

The Theology of Global Warming is just another tool employed by those who want to promote their ideological agenda.  They want to divert the church from spreading the truth of the gospel to promoting a humanistic agenda.  Yes, I agree with the view that none of the resources given to the denomination should be used to support this hoax.  I have often thought of writing my CRC Council to express my dismay that some of the funds I contribute go to support OSJ which has a blatant liberal agenga.  One problem is that almost no one in the CRC knows that their contributions are used to support a liberal agenda that they oppose. 

John,

Thanks for your thoughtful comments. They are an important reminder of the diversity of thought around this issue within the CRC, and I'm grateful for your gracious tone in expressing your concerns.

While there is indeed diversity of thought among individual members of the CRC on the issue of climate change, the position of the denomination is actually quite clear. Synod 2012 affirmed the scientific consensus on this issue--including that it is likely human-induced--and called denominational bodies, congregations, and members to public and private action to do something about it (see Acts of Synod 2012, pp. 803-6). In light of this statement, it made several recommendations to the church for how to respond, including "advocat[ing] for public strategies that reduce carbon emissions and move us toward very low or zero net emissions" (Recommendation 3, pp. 805) and "advocating with our governments to take the necessary actions in an effective global framework to assist populations that are bearing the brunt of the negative effects of climate change while being the least able to cope" (Recommendation 4, pp. 805). The Climate Witness Project--and other OSJ efforts on creation care and climate--proceed directly out of these directives from synod.

Your concern about the stewardship of monetary resources is an important one. The post has been edited to include a link to our fundraising effort. It is our hope that we will actually be able to raise all of the necessary funds for this project from interested CRC members. It is an experiment of sorts in what this type of organizing effort can look like, and if it would be replicable for other issues as well. We have so far raised $22,350--almost half of our hoped-for $50,000.

I hope that's helpful, John. Thanks again for your thoughtful engagement with the project.

Among those who believe that the earth is at risk due to excessive man-made green house gasses there is an undeniable consensus that the science backing their perspective is conclusive. Moreover, they are fully prepared to make financial and other sacrifices to attempt to reverse the damage. They are to be commended for their commitment.

There are others who are equally convinced that there is no credible scientific evidence that any economic sacrifice will in any way mitigate whatever climate changes may or may not be taking place in the foreseeable future, and would prefer to use their resources for other worthy causes, not the least among them using the best available technology to feed a growing world population, or using all available resources to raise the standard of living of the world's poorest people by stimulating economic growth wherever possible.

In the mandate of the Climate Witness Project there are several references to the hiring of staff, and/or a communications firm to convince both ourselves and our elected representatives of the truth of what the COP21 has not yet concluded, and may, in fact, not conclude at all, ever. But, as you say, hopefully they will.

I trust you realize that as you proceed to pay these witnesses you will be paying them with moneys contributed to the CRC coffers by what may well be an equal number of Global Warming believers, and those who are either not sure, or convinced that their money would be better spent in other God-glorifying ways.

Are you sure you want to use the money contributed by the latter group to convince them of something they patently do not agree with? Is that sustainable?

My guess is that when people realize that you are engaged in political lobbying AGAINST their deeply held convictions that global warming is at best questionable and at worst a hoax perpetrated on them by liars and thieves, your spigot will quickly dry up, and perhaps rightly so.

As a confessional church, our unity lies in a shared confession, and traditionally CRC'ers have gladly contributed to denomination-wide efforts that did not deviate from our shared confession. To have some of us use some of those resources to convince the rest of us of something that finds no expression in our shared confession seems contrary to the very notion of confessional unity, and as such may be ill-advised.

Thanks for that background, Paul. I suppose I read "political" as advocating for specific policy, but your explanation was really helpful.

It's too bad that you felt that Synod 2012 diminished your questions and reservations. As someone who was proud and excited by that synod's decision to adopt its position on climate change, it is easy for me to interpret the history of that decision in a particular way and to forget that others were not as eager to see Synod 2012 do what it did.

Something that I'm trying hard to remember is that society frames the issue of climate change very narrowly as a technical problem with only (very narrow) political implications. It is tempting to believe this narrative, but I think the vast gift of the church is that it has a larger vision to offer the world when we all discuss global warming and care for the poor. The questions I'm always trying to ask myself are, "How do I think about this, first and foremost, as a Christian? What difference does my Christian faith make for the way that I think about climate change?" While politics will undoubtedly have to be a part of any sort of action that we take in response to climate change, it need not be our starting point. I would hope that could be Scripture, church tradition, and desire to better love our neighbors. Just some of my thoughts recently, for what they're worth.

I wonder if you've ever seen the video resource from World Renew and the Office of Social Justice called Climate Conversation: Kenya? The whole idea is to set the tired statistics and talking points aside and to hold up the stories of Kenyan Christian brothers and sisters and the ways in which they are working to respond to the challenges of climate change in their communities. I think you might find them interesting.

Thank you for your response.  

My intent was to support Dr. Timmermans' statement but to also look at the denominational position.  I was part of the Synod that approved the statement concerning global warming that many of us disagreed with but was passed by the majority.  The major disagreement is with who is telling the truth about why.  There is little disagreement as to is there global warming but a lot as to why.  It is my opinion at Synod 2012 the presentation was given by those who simply said we are right and you are wrong.  If you disagree with us you simply are uneducated and your opinion or research does not count.  Thus, the politics.  

I believe the CRC should try to be unified on the topic of caring for those in need and stay out of trying to put one scientist up against another.  

Thanks for your thoughts, Paul. I'm curious to hear how you perceive Dr. Timmermans' statement as political. You call the CRC to a compassionate response to those affected by climate change, and rightly so, but that is precisely how I read this statement. It explicitly references our concern for those affected (our children and the poor), and affirms our commitment to responding.

Could you help me understand why you see this statement as "political"?

It is certainly our responsibility to take care of God's creation.  It is also our responsibility to help those in need, as in those effected by climate change.  It is also our responsibility to be truthful about why our climate is changing and not blindly take the "opinion" of those who jump on political band wagons.  Our denomination has become too political on this and other issues and should stick to a compassionate response to the effects of climate change and stay out of the politics of it.  By becoming political we are loosing membership and alienating many who disagree with the CRC's position.     

Unfortunately, the entire statement from the Pope is not addressed.  The Pope also stated that honoring God's creation included honoring life in the womb.  Children before birth are also God's creation and should be valued even more than nature.  So, why is the CRC and Timmermans silent on this issue which is also part of the Pope's Encyclical??

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Danielle Steenwyk-Rowaan