Monday, October 30, 2006

Christians Deliver 10 Ecological Commandments

From Ekklesia, a predictably far-left-of-center Christian organization.
As well as actively campaigning, churches should take action against climate change by following the simple lifestyle of Jesus, Christians in the UK have said.

Fine. I’ll start driving my burro to work every morning. Read my lips. Jesus’s teachings are for everlasting; The Incarnation, life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus are an atonement and reconciliation for all men of every age who choose to accept it. But Jesus’s life as a human being on Earth was 2000 years ago and the reason he never drove a car was that they hadn’t been invented yet! He entered Jerusalem on the back of a borrowed donkey; if it happened today, don’t you think somebody would loan him a Chevy?

Ahead of next week's "I Count" rally in Trafalgar Square, Christian Ecology Link (CEL) are offering Ten 'Ecological Commandments' to churches and others, to help create a greener future.

CEL is urging Christians to make a symbolic step and take part in 'Black Out UK' - a national event to coincide with the I Count rally, where the public are being asked to turn out their lights wherever possible for two hours.

Symbolic steps usually aren’t steps at all. They make people feel like they are contributing to some cause when they are actually doing nothing.

But Christian Ecology Link suggests that Christian involvement should not stop at a couple of hours on a November evening.

The group says that there is an imperative for the church and its members to be aware of, and engage in, care for the whole earth.

The group explains that if Christians believe in the teachings of Jesus and are sincerely trying to act in accordance with them, the church must actively change their ways.

Christian Ecology Link have made the following ten suggestions:

  1. Use less electricity - use low energy light bulbs, don't leave appliances on stand-by, buy A rated appliances (fridges etc.) and switch to green electricity (Good Energy or Green Energy)

  2. Repair, re-use, borrow and share - engage with local swapshop networks, buy from charity shops and jumble sales

  3. Share and pool resources - put a message in your local church newsletter listing the things that you have to share and inviting others to use them
  4. Save and cherish water - get a water butt, repair dripping taps

  5. Drive less - walk, cycle, use the bus, tram, train

  6. Use less gas and oil - insulate your home, wear an extra jumper

  7. Eat food that is local and organic (if possible) - use your local food markets, share an allotment with friends

  8. Plant a tree - in your garden, backyard, or church grounds - make it a celebratory event

  9. Reconnect with the Earth - support a nature conservation group, include caring for the Earth in church liturgy, organise a local nature-watch walk

  10. Join thousands of others at the Stop Climate Chaos - 'I count' rally in Trafalgar Square on 4th November - join the service of worship at Grosvenor Chapel, 24 South Audley Street, at 11.15am before going to the rally at 12 noon.

The rally planned for the 4th November is organised by Stop Climate Chaos whose members include the Christian groups BMS World Mission, Cafod, Christian Aid, A Rocha, Operation Noah and Tearfund.

Christian Ecology Link's calls come hot on the heels of another high profile public address on ecological destruction by the Christian development agency Tearfund. Ekklesia reported last week that a new Tearfund publication, 'Feeling the Heat', predicts that global warming will trigger 25 million 'environmental refugees' around the world.

Okay. I may surprise the world by saying I have nothing against most of their 10 Commandments. (Or 10 Suggestions. Which is it? They say both. I wonder if that reflects their opinion of the original 10? You say Commandments; I say Suggestions. Let’s call the whole thing off.) Most of them are reasonable and conservative ways to behave.

Having said that, I don’t know about number 4, because I’m not sure what a “water butt” is. To an American, it sounds like a really nasty medical condition. If it means a rain barrel, then I’m all for it.

Number 7 drives me a bit over the edge. I like organic veggies as much as the next guy – they are typically marketed when they are actually ripe, and therefore taste a lot better. In case you’ve never noticed, however, organic veggies are expensive. There’s a reason for that – they cost more to produce than, and are not available in as large amounts as, veggies raised by more typical energy-subsidized farming methods. Organic produce are luxury items for self-indulgent Westerners. You can’t feed 6 billion people on organic veggies! If organic farming methods could have fed the world, then most of it never would have gotten hungry in the first place.

And number 9? “Caring for the Earth in a Church liturgy?” What does that even mean? The purpose of the liturgy is to worship the Living God, not to make you feel good. If you want to do a good work for the Earth, that’s great – go do something, and don’t skip Mass to do it.