A recent viral video explores the simple question, “What if Earth treated us the way we treat Earth?” Scenes show a young girl dressed in a planet Earth costume as she gives humans a dose of their own medicine. One man is forced to inhale car exhaust. A woman lounging in a pool has oil poured on her. Two men relaxing in a park have garbage dumped on them as the girl yells, “Biodegrade that, punks!” In a clever way, the video uses the humor of role reversal to instill empathy for our damaged and degraded planet. (Read more.)Read more
Easter has been described as one of the greatest plot twists of all time, and I have come to realize that the upcoming climate march can be seen as part of an Easter plot twist in the making. To understand this, one has to first take a step back and grasp how the biggest story of our time has unfolded until this point. (Read more.)Read more
The parable of the Good Samaritan presents us with two possible responses to suffering. There are those like the priest and the Levite who respond with avoidance and pass by on the other side of the road. Then, there are those like the Good Samaritan who respond with compassion and tend to the man’s wounds. Since I enjoy doing children’s sermons, part of me is glad the parable does not include a third option so appalling as to seem almost unfathomable: the sadist who stops to rub salt into the wounds of the afflicted man. Imagine trying to convey a lesson about this to children. “Now, children, this is not how you want to treat little Billy when he skins his knee at recess time." Yet, such a grotesque and obvious moral wrong is what the flooded parts of Louisiana are now facing.
The Fourth in a Series on Infrastructure Justice
In the poetic lyricism of the King James Bible, Proverbs 29:18 tells us, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” The urgent truth and relevance of that statement is perhaps nowhere more visible than the question of how our nation envisions its future with regard to infrastructure and climate change. Yet, I suspect that statement would seem dubious to some for the simple reason that no one seems to be discussing it. Op-ed pages, television newcasts, and political stump speeches have little to nothing to say on the subject. For this reason, let me make the case as direct and as plain as I can in five points. (Read more.)Read more
April 2016. With Earth Day approaching, Rev. Brooks Berndt looks at our faith call to care for our neighbors and asks how that extends to our commitment to caring for the world in which we live. He urges us toward hope and action as the UCC embarks on it's campaign to limit the devastation wrought be fossil fuel extraction and join the call to "Keep it in the Ground!"Read more
While Pope Francis has inspired some progressive Christians, he has also sparked mixed feelings, if not outright opposition, from others due to his stands on LGBT rights, abortion, women’s ordination, the canonization of Junipero Serra, and the role of Catholic bishops during the child sexual abuse crisis. For those who are struggling with the contradictions and who need another big holy guy to embrace, let me suggest an alternative: Desmond Tutu. Tutu has an admirable track record on a variety of causes. For instance, he famously once said, “I would much rather go to hell than go to a homophobic heaven.” For years, he has also been a leading prophetic voice in the struggle for climate justice.
In what United Church of Christ environmental activists are lauding "a milestone moment," Pope Francis stressed an urgency for protecting Planet Earth in his encyclical on climate change, titled Laudato Si or "Praised Be: On the Care of the Common Home." On June 28, the Rev. Meighan Pritchard, the UCC's minister for environmental justice, invites UCC congregations everywhere to ring their bells at noon local time to show their support for Laudato Si and its call to environmental action.Read more