Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Go and sin no more - Christian responses to Climate Change
Good morning God,
I realise this might seem strange, but do you mind if we talk about sin - because I'm beginning to get really confused as to what it is, and what it isn't. I thought I had it sussed - My Wesleyan heritage teaches me that sin is anything that I knowingly do which causes a breakdown in our relationship. I'm Wesleyan through and through and know that having accepted your gracious gift of salvation, I cannot sin in ignorance (to even suggest that I can makes a monster and a liar out of you. )
So I'm struggling with all this corporate Christian politically correct Copenhagen climate change confession nonsense which has preachers and pastors praying for forgiveness for what our ancestors, not so long ago, gave you their heartfelt thanks for. I cannot believe that you deem human progress and evolution to be a sin. So I don't need to ask forgiveness for the ingenuity, drive and creativity behind the industrial revolution or the technological/digital revolution which has followed it.
Am I appalled at pollution YES, am I disgusted at wanton exploitation - YES, am I ashamed by the greed which consumes the planet YES, YES, YES - and these are things that I can and do repent of.. especially my part in them..
But I cannot bring myself to even loosen the sandals of the mea-culpa Corporate Christian let alone publicly repent of my personal carbon footprint at the moment because I am so appalled at the deliberate manipulation of the gospel by those who think we know no better.
What on earth is going on? Does anyone really believe that if Christians can be persuaded that the things that cause climate change are their fault and are wicked sins that they will stop doing them? How effective has that policy been at stopping adultery!
Don't misunderstand me God, I KNOW that we need to address our greed, indifference and consumerism. I'm not objecting to wanting to get Christians engaged with the need to change hearts and minds so that we can see the consequences to our neighbour of our reckless use of the world's scarce resources and truly repent of our failure to keep your commandments.
What I object to is the idea that the only way we seem to have of doing this, is through guilt and blame and the imposition of a sack of sin.
Can those who speak for the faith find nothing in the gospel of joy, hope, incarnation and resurrection to bring to bear on these issues - must they repeatedly reduce Christianity to the doctrine of sin instead of your gift of salvation?
There was, for example, very little hope in the report 'Hope in God's future' - just loads of guilt and sin offered in the assumption that:
' It may be that desire for this newness of life, for lives washed clean of the stain of our sin (Ps. 51), is the strongest motivation for the change of life to which God calls us.'
How could a Methodist or Wesleyan buy into such a negative presentation of the gospel and such a sad denial of your GRACE?
2000 years after Christ and we are still in the business of trying to make people feel guilty in order to shame or frighten them into heaven: Didn't we learn anything from the old hell-fire and damnation days?
Love, not guilt or shame or fear, love is the fulfilling of the law.
It will be when I have truly learned to love my neighbour, not when I am scared of and confess some priestly imposed sin, that the world will be changed for the better.
So about this sin business God, do you mind if I don't - I've been trying to give it up.