Rich Christians in an age of climate change

The Irish churches must address economic and ecological issues, and not just spiritual and sexual ones, as part of their Kingdom mission.

From February to June of last year, I, along with many others, protested peacefully against the decision to drill an exploratory oil well less than 400m from a drinking water reservoir in the hills above Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, my then home. It was my first time getting involved in such a process, as it was for most of the others. And contrary to the claims of various politicians, the protestors were overwhelmingly local and overwhelmingly ordinary, with few classing themselves as ‘greens’ or ‘environmentalists’. Also striking was the sense of community that developed amongst this diverse group over the course of the five months: there were codes of conduct written; there were barbecues and ceilidhs held. I even brought my kids. Continue reading

Hope

The fourth and final part of a series on reasons to care for creation.

There is hope. As Christians we have been commissioned to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, to proclaim the gospel to all of creation, and to be salt and light in this world. Continue reading

Salvation

Part three of a series on reasons to care for creation.

Since early childhood I have had a particular fascination with the cat family, or Felidae. Of the 37 or so species I’ve had the great privilege to work with 17 of them in captivity, to see two in the wild and to hear a third: it’s a humbling experience to be sleeping outside and in the half-light of morning to hear a leopard calling close by!

During a university summer holiday I was working at a wildlife sanctuary, where, among other animals, I had to look after a tiger called Sonia. And after a few days I had the opportunity to go into her enclosure along with her keeper. Continue reading

Responsibility

Part two of a series on reasons to care for creation.

Psalm 8 tells us that we have been made rulers over the works of His hands.

And in the context of Genesis 1, God’s first command to human beings was not to dominate life on earth, as some have mistakenly argued, but to have dominion, that is to rule over creation as God’s representatives on earth. Continue reading

Provision

Part one of a series on reasons to care for creation.

In Genesis 1:29 + 31 we read that ‘God saw all that He had made and it was very good’. Also: ‘I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.’

God has created a world in balance that is wonderfully interconnected; that is self-sustaining; that does not produce waste; and that provides, or should provide, amply for all life on earth. Here I want to divide this section further into extrinsic and intrinsic valuations of God’s provision for us. Continue reading

The apple trees of tomorrow

A cry for church action on climate justice and fossil-fuel divestment.

It was 1963. Washington D. C. The young African-American pastor rose to his feet. Faced with the weight of history set against him; faced with the vested interests of the status quo; faced with powerful opposition, including from parts of the Church; faced with the apathy and cynicism of some, and the denial and delusion of others, he uttered these famous words.

He said ‘I have a dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Continue reading

Fossil Free Faith

The case for the Irish churches to tackle climate change by divesting their pensions and other investments from fossil-fuels.

The Maldives are a place close to my heart. Though I’ve never been, its stunning seas, wonderful wildlife and beautiful people have long captured my imagination. I’ve also spent many a moment and meeting praying that its restrictive regime might become more open, allowing true freedom of religion: I believe the people of the Maldives deserve the chance to hear and see the good news of Jesus Christ.

But there’s more at stake here than religious freedom alone. That’s because the Maldives faces another existential threat, one that has the potential to wipe this entire island archipelago off the face of the earth: climate change. Continue reading