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First, Kudos to the CWP for providing resources to churches that enable climate literacy, suggest climate change mitigation and adaptation actions, facilitate energy stewardship projects in/on our buildings, and foster faith-based advocacy with local, state and national elected leaders.

Second: I'd like to suggest that one particularly effective mitigation initiative is electrification.  The general idea is to replace old fuel-burning machines with electric machines over the course of a decade or two as they reach end-of-life.  A very useful resource for planning electrification projects is this site and especially this calculator: How much money can you get with the Inflation Reduction Act? — Rewiring America

Third: I've heard the idea bandied about that taking climate change action means bowing to a "god of environmentalism or sustainability."  Now if I were a pantheist or perhaps a wiccan, that might be true.  However, I'm a reformed Christian trained to think we have a role to play in transforming culture (per Niebuhr).  I've since come to understand there are some pitfalls with that way of thinking (per articles like this: 5 Reasons Why “Christ Transforming Culture” Is a… | Zondervan Academic).  In spite of the cautions, I still see God's great commandments (to love Him above all and my neighbor as myself) as a call to work for transformation in the way we treat His good creation (at least as an Enneagram 1 who finds it natural to "always reform."). 

For me, respect for the Artist's good work calls us to more than stewardship.  We're also called to bring healing to damaged places (like Plaster Creek, as noted in this lovely book: Refugia Faith - Debra Rienstra).  We can also work for optimization (transformation) of our societal systems such that they promote more neighbor flourishing in the future than they did in the past.  The old scout adage to "leave it better than you found it" is decent shorthand for this call for respect and flourishing. 

So if I can poke a bit, if there is worship of a false god happening in the CRC, to my eye it looks like that false god is...SUVs and BIG trucks! (OK, if you're a farmer or a contractor or have a big family you get a pass.  Especially if it's beat up and not a gleaming chariot.)  More seriously, doesn't it LOOK like we're worshipping our stuff if you just observe our parking lots at church on Sunday morning?   Some verses make me wonder: Isaiah 2:7-8 NIV - Their land is full of silver and gold; - Bible Gateway  

More to the point on climate change, to my eye it looks like many are worshipping the current status quo of fossil fuels.  Yes, those fuels have helped (some of) us flourish, but they are also killing people, including our children (sacrifices to Molech again?).  Better ways are rapidly becoming available that will save lives:  Cutting fossil fuel air pollution saves lives : NPR.  We can choose those cleaner technologies as faithful, hopeful ways of honoring our Creator God.  (And I hear you, they're not perfect either; we need to figure out battery recycling and alternatives to cobalt.  Here are some promising developments: Lithium-ion Battery Recycling - Li-ion Battery Resource Recovery | Li-Cycle and What’s next for batteries in 2023 | MIT Technology Review.)  ((PS: the deepest thinkers I read question the whole techno-optimist mindset: Opinion | The dangers of techno-optimism (   So yes; it's complicated but committing to the status quo as "the best of all possible worlds" is both illogical and unreformed.

In summary, I don't think Christians motivated by love for God and neighbor need to fear that by taking actions to improve the environment, they are unknowingly worshipping false gods.  I think the burden of proof (for faithful worship of the one true God) is on those who are clinging to the status quo with religious zeal.  (That big diesel "coal-rolling" truck is NOT going to save you!)  We're all called to live in tension with the assumptions of culture, both old and new.  Exodus 20:3 NIV - “You shall have no other gods before - Bible Gateway

Seriously?  Third Way thinking that might hold us together is to be abolished? 

I'll quote the same line Steve Mathonet-VanderWell quoted: "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold." 

How can a path of separation (tearing us apart now, on purpose, with lots of subsequent custody battles) be better/easier than an approach ("ugly head") that seeks unity?  My observation is that divorce usually makes both parties poorer.

See my comments on Steve's post for more antidote to this destructive way of thinking: Third Way? Meh | CRC Network (

Ah yes, thank you Jim; now I get it.  Fear of slippery slopes is why people don't like the Third Way.  So therefore it's better to tell people to abolish the thinking of those who want to hold us together (because it will eventually tear us apart) so that those who want to tear us apart can do so now...a bit circular / double-think-ish, but I do understand the emotion (fear).  I also hear Jesus urging us to "be not afraid," so I've tried to consider that as I've done my own wrestling with this issue.

Some tips from someone who's had to overcome fear of new ways of thinking:

1.  This parable cautions against self-righteousness: Luke 18:9-14 NIV - The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax - Bible Gateway

2.  This passage tells us we're saved because of Jesus' righteousness, not because of ours.   Romans 4:23-25 NIV - The words “it was credited to him” - Bible Gateway   We're NOT saved by being right about all of our theology and biblical interpretation.   In my own journey I read books and listened to podcasts from folks who made plausible cases for acceptance of committed same-sex marriage.  I still have reservations, but it's clear to me that the traditional reading of the five "clobber passages" is inadequate.  The Third Way - Better Together group gives us all time and safe space to process (which is how most of us change - through personal encounters and time and safe space).

3.  This book was life-changing for me, opening my eyes to the limits of reason (the rider on the elephant) and to the moral taste buds that shape how we lean politically and in debates like we're having in the CRC.  (And it gave me understanding/respect for all the flavors - they can all bring something positive/good to the table...if we don't become tribal and shut some of them out).  The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion: Haidt, Jonathan: 9780307455772: Books

4.  This book I'm currently reading.  I really like her idea that we can choose to become "scouts" vs "soldiers" for our tribe.  It helps take the pressure off; we don't need to be right; we can instead always be on the lookout for the truth, for a better, truer, more accurate way of seeing reality.  The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don't: Galef, Julia: 9780349427645: Books   I think the Third Way/Better Together group has some "scout" in their thinking and that kind of thinking should be encouraged, not abolished.  (Reformed and always reforming.)

Posted in: Third Way? Meh

Thanks for the response Nate. I particularly appreciated this paragraph: "We understand that others may be cynical, pessimistic, jaded, realistic. And perhaps one day we will be, too. But today is not that day. Today we are hopeful. Today we are optimistic. Today we are naïve. Today we are unabashedly unrealistic! Today we declare that our disagreement does not invalidate our unity, but instead offers us an opportunity to demonstrate it."

Posted in: Third Way? Meh

Posted in: Third Way? Meh

Steve: it's hard to argue with your analysis; our current culture and systems do not favor the moderates.  (Anyone for ranked-choice voting?!)  I also think you make a good point about third ways being done at the congregational level all the time on lots of issues.  (To get anything done, local leaders need to be consensus-builders).  However, as a friend pointed out, the timing of your article is unfortunate; some of us are still praying for a miracle. 

I'd urge delegates not to throw in the towel on the good things we've done together over the years (Calvin College, Calvin Seminary, World Renew, Resonate, to name a few gems almost certain to be diminished if we split).  Why not give it one more year, perhaps with a diverse team that takes a hard look at the issue of confessional status?

Also, not being a poetry buff, I had to look up the context of the line "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold," (which certainly feels accurate on many fronts).  I found the basics here: The Second Coming (poem) - Wikipedia   I see other provocative lines, one being: "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."  Alas, the third way can seem to lack conviction because we're a diverse bunch.  Or perhaps we have conviction of another sort, a sense for orthopraxis more than orthodoxy, and perhaps less guile than most, if I dare claim such a thing?  Without Guile | CRC Network ( 

As Nate and Andi point out in prior comments, we see the next right, faithful thing being to ASK for a third way.  Maybe like a couple on the way to a divorce, we can all agree to see a counselor; we have a good one who wants to breath his peace into our fervid hearts and minds.

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