Reflection on the October 29th Lectionary Reading—Matthew 22:34-46
When members of Northshore UCC discovered that their church’s bank helped finance the Dakota Access Pipeline, they decided it was time to move the church’s money elsewhere. The church became the first religious institution in the country to join the Mazaka Talks Boycott, a Native-led effort calling for a boycott the 64 banks funding new tar sands pipelines and the Dakota Access Pipeline. Northshore UCC created a step-by-step guide for other churches who want to move their money.
While the wild fires still rage in Northern California, property is destroyed and lives are lost, hope is alive. The first responders are working tirelessly, and neighbors are coming together to support one another. Some might be surprised to know that among those playing an active role in responding are local credit unions. (Read more.)
It is good to be called back to the center on occasion, to remember our grounding and our core principles.
When every day brings a jumble of conflicts, issues, threats and crises, it is all too easy to get distracted and fragmented. In such a moment—which seems to be the new normal—it is valuable to take a step back, to set aside the cacophony, and to regain some footing.
For more than a decade, I have rooted my life and my vocation in a five word summary of the teachings of Jesus: "Love God; love your neighbor." These words serve as a short-hand summary of what Jesus declared to be the two greatest commandments. While love of neighbor is not typically understood through an environmental lens, I see three important ways in which an expansive definition of neighbor is relevant and much needed in the work of eco-justice today. (Read more.)
Those who know me know that I love to talk about root causes. If we don’t know the causes, we won’t know the cures, and we will be forever pasting teeny band-aids on huge, festering wounds.
Have dominion, said the Genesis storyteller, clearly laying the health of the planet at our feet. We hear it and think of plastic, fracking, coal, fossil fuels, Styrofoam.
The big picture is that the planet is dying and we’re the ones holding the plastic bag over its head. But there is something else that makes a huge impact. If we are serious about environmental justice, we need conversations about the animal industry.
As a doctor and as a person of faith, I believe the only prescription for methane pollution is action. I believe it must be rapidly reduced for the sake of our global neighbors impacted by climate change, for the sake of our children inheriting this world, and for the sake of our earth and its diminishing ecosystems.
In 2015, the UCC General Synod passed a resolution on Responsible Stewardship of the Outer Space Environment. Through a regular series of articles, the UCC maintains its commitment to addressing the serious threats posed by space debris.
It has been said that climate change is essentially a water issue, because it results in some places getting too much water, while other places get too little. On the one hand, you have hurricanes, floods, and rising sea levels, while on the other, you have droughts, famines, and wildfires. Some might argue that the climate movement would benefit from framing our climate crisis more in terms of water than in terms of warming temperatures. In our churches, we can also frame climate as a theological issue that takes us back to the flood waters surrounding Noah and the parched lands surrounding Moses.
While any social movement owes its existence and power to countless persons, there are those who play pivotal roles in a movement's inception and development. If one person were to be named "the mother of the environmental justice movement," a persuasive case could be made for Dollie Burwell. In 1978, Burwell teamed up with Debra and Ken Ferruccio to organize community meetings for local residents concerned about the possibility of PCB-contaminated soil being dumped in Warren County, North Carolina. Burwell played numerous influential roles over the course of the coming years as the environmental justice movement came into existence, and one of those roles was to involve faith communities.