Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ecomission and the AAMS

I’ve just been to the Australian Association for Mission Studies conference in Sydney. This was my first experience of a conference on missiology. I have to confess that missiology was one of those subjects I did during my undergrad theology studies rather reluctantly as I didn’t see myself as a missionary, i.e. as someone who was going to go overseas into another culture to witness to Christ. I’d been through the years of guilt, the thoughts of possibly going and the final realisation that I wasn’t gifted for it or called to it (for now at least?!).

However, if Christians don’t think missiologically, then they are not being true to their calling to be disciple makers (see the end of Matthew’s Gospel). My interest in missiology in particular is ecomissiology, the idea that we have a mission to creation – sent out by God to till and tend creation (Gen 2:15) and to rule over it as the image of God (imago Dei; Gen 1:26-28). This mission is not separate to the Great Commission, and it forms part of the Great Omission of those who do not understand the necessity to live in accordance with kingdom principles now, particularly those of peace and justice, especially for the poor.

Ecomission therefore carries with it both the sense of ecojustice (caring for creation for the benefit of both the global poor and future generations – indeed for all of us) and mission to creation in the form of creation care for the sake of the creation itself. Psalm 104 is a wonderful illustration of divine care of the creation, and as his image we should imitate this as far as is humanly possible.

It was personally great for me to meet and network with Clive Ayres and Norm Habel among others, and I look forward to further dialogue and collaboration.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Objections to global warming: how can we know anything?

Some of what people worry about when they look at the science of global warming all comes down to a matter of being a virtuous knower. Kant said 'dare to know for yourself', but with over 600 scientists involved in the IPCC assessment report, to say nothing of the endless blogs online, who do we trust? How can we individually challenge the science?

Christians are dedicated to the truth. Jesus claimed to be the truth and only path to the Father (Jn 14:6), the truth that sets free (Jn 8:32). In all affairs we are not to give false witness (Ex 20:16). You'd think Christians would be keen on following any inconvenient truth where ever it led.

Yet some might claim that the minds of scientists are darkened, most of the IPCC not being Christian. Paul notes that people suppress the truth about God (Rm 1:21). Yet Paul also acknowledges his own knowledge of God is limited and provisional (1 Cor 13:12), so it is kind of ironic that some Christians are most dogmatic in their denial of science they don't understanding. This is not to say that every aspect of climate science is understood 100%. Science is provisional in its understanding, but understanding can and does convergence about the 'truth'.

When we accuse non-Christians of bad motives in their science - consider how many of your doctors, nurses, mechanics, tradies, etc we all rely upon are also not Christians. Do they not possess wisdom and knowledge in their areas of expertise? Why do we deny the same to climate scientists, both Christian and non-Christian? Note the close parallel between Egyptian and some Hebrew wisdom literature (some of the Psalms and Proverbs) and it becomes harder to maintain that those who do not share our faith do not have real understanding of the world.

In assuming they bring non-science to their science, are we not doing the same? Dare we follow scientific 'truth' to its inconvenient implications?

Monday, September 12, 2011

The costs are real - the Caretet Islanders

Local solutions on a sinking paradise, Carterets Islands, Papua New Guinea from UNUChannel on Vimeo.

The factors in this case are complex, which may include land use, water use, and some have also suggested tectonics. Regardless, the final cause of the progressive abandonment of these atolls is entirely consistent with sea level rise produced by global warming.

Images of climate change

Just been re-doing some lecture notes on evidence of climate change and found World View of Global Warming, with some compelling photographic evidence.