Struggling Churches May Be Climate Justice Teachers
In January 2020, the UCC’s Council for Climate Justice issued a Kairos Call to Action which called upon churches to undertake an all-out mobilization to address the twin crises climate and inequality. As part of this effort, churches can incorporate into worship on a regular basis a Kairos Moment, a moment for sharing an action that can be taken. A collection of sample moments are available here. Check out the latest Kairos Moment by the Rev. Craig Schaub:
If your church struggles to pay for outside resources, there’s a good chance your church improvises creative ways to meet our current climate crisis. Limits often spawn resourcefulness and sometimes a different kind of thriving.
We read in Deuteronomy “If you obey the Lord your God… all these blessing shall come upon you and overtake you…” Much of obedience is living within limits, discovering joy, depth, and connection inside limits.
It’s the opposite of how we often measure success. We are convinced things are humming when there is unlimited economic growth hiding the true costs to many humans and the planet. Suggestions of reduce – reuse – recycle, zero waste, eating local, church carbon offsets, or energy conservation nibble the edges of a big idea: Obedience to some limits often brings blessing, creativity, and deeper relationship.
Some economists say we should scrap the misleading index of prosperity called the Gross Domestic Product and replace it with holistic measures to include leisure time, ecological restoration, cultural diversity, community vitality, income equity and soulful wellbeing. What would such a congregational index look like? Have some fun imagining how your church could measure Gross Spiritual Thriving or a People and Planet Resilience Index. What would you include?
Hours of prayer unplugged from the messages to consume? Small and slow home-grown solutions because you couldn’t outsource? The barter of space and time with other community non-profits? Projects to build economic and ecological resilience in your neighborhood? What loads of carbon and sunshine and rain did everyone and everything capture connected with your church?
Struggling churches might just be incarnations of a different way of measuring growth. With gratitude, and often by demand, we’re flipping notions of economy. That’s an essential prophetic role if we are to face the climate crisis. May we live obediently to receive blessings which “come upon us and overtake us.”
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