Sunday, November 17, 2013

Melbourne climate change rally speech on Christian faith & climate change

As a Christian thinker and a climate scientist, I don’t want to talk this morning just of facts and figures, but imagination and dreams. I dream of a world of peace and justice, where resources are shared fairly, and where the Earth is treasured and protected.

Climate change is not just about science, technology or politics, although we need good science, green technologies and strong vision and leadership. Climate change is a deeply moral issue, and as we face an uncertain future, every person needs to be able to dream; to imagine a different world, a different way of pursuing the good life.

My dream of a better world is shaped by the Christian story of a God who loves, creates, redeems and renews. The cross of Jesus is the greatest expression of God’s love, and in response I am compelled to love God, and love my neighbour.

To love God means that I must love the world he has made. If the world warms by 2 degrees, more than 99% of all coral reefs will disappear; amazingly rich and beautiful ecosystems that are thousands of years old. Because I believe in a creator, this world is not disposable but sacred. The destruction we risk is not only wanton, but blasphemous.

In a world where I wear clothes made in Bangladesh, watch American movies on a Korean TV, and when I drive my Japanese car I add gases that warm the whole planet, everyone is my neighbour. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus told a story about a man attacked by robbers, to teach us that we are to love our neighbours when they are in need.

This story of Jesus calls me to be a Good Samaritan and bind the wounds of those who suffer, and right now, people are suffering from climate change; from sea level rise, heat waves, bushfire and more violent storms.

But more than this, if we fail to act now to limit future climate change, we are not just being bad neighbours; we are robbers, stealing from our neighbours and future generations the chance to live full and meaningful lives.

So, today, I implore to think about what inspires you to dream of a better world, and act on climate change

Let’s dream together to protect this world we all call home, and together live as neighbours.

God bless you.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Praying for rain and protesting on climate change

With the 12 hottest months on record in Australia and 3 driest months in Sydney it is little surprise that bushfires have been an issue. So from a Christian perspective, praying for rain is a natural reaction. I saw a picture on Facebook of some dry parkland grass, and a comment that the photographer was praying for rain. While I agree - I did want to say, will you be at the climate change rally?

It seems to me that some conservative Christians seem blind to the way things work, or the way God chooses to exercise sovereignty in the climate system. I remember my wife saying she used to pray as a child for a white Christmas, in Tamworth NSW! While I am sure the God who raised Jesus from the dead  could make it snow in an Australian summer, I'm not sure why he would. So when people pray for rain in the midst of a neutral ENSO event (average rainfall expected) but in a world we've obviously changed through our own actions, how do they expect the prayer to be answered?

Prayer is an act of utter dependence on God, and yet I see nothing in Scripture that says we don't do anything to work towards those prayers in all situations. Yes there are times when we can do nothing, but with climate change there is plenty we can do.

It is time to regard church as not simply doing the same thing every Sunday as if we were somehow chained to a Sunday morning service inside of four walls. It's missionally ignorant, and given the gravity of climate change it is morally indefensible.

I have the great honour of addressing the Melbourne rally as a person of faith on why I am passionate about climate change. It is a brief window of opportunity to show the breadth and depth of the gospel, the good news that God is putting everything right through Jesus. So, I may be preaching to the converted here, but this Sunday is a time to do church outside, along side others of many faiths or none. I'll put the text of my speech up Sunday night.