Saturday, November 26, 2011

The frustrations of an eco-prophet/eco-missiologist

I sometimes struggle to define myself. Words are slippery things, labels doubly so. One might argue they don't matter. I'm a meteorologist and educationalist in business hours, outside I don't quite have the bits of paper for a label. My undergraduate theology comes from a currently unrecognised institution so I have a Scholar in Theology Certificate but it is everything a BTh is. Time and money means I haven't started my MTh thesis yet. To a close friend of mine this would mean I can't really call myself a theologian, but I think and write theologically, so who knows.

My deep interest in environment/creation care, its missional and apologetic role, to say nothing of the need for urgent action. So am I an eco-prophet, an ecotheologian or eco-missiologist? A green prophet? I dunno for sure. One for certain is I am frustrated.

On one side I keep meeting sceptics within the church, those who latch on to every Andrew Bolt rant, or claim the IPCC is part of the new world order, or bemoan it isn't run by Christians. There are those who deny, don't know or don't care, those for who evangelism is all that there is. As I noted on Facebook today, "dualism - a disease that infects much of the modern church, making real mission impossible". Yet many are so dualistic without even realising it, looking past our createdness, or earthy-ness and creaturely-ness; that we are saved with and not from creation.

And then there are green activists I am trying to dialogue with. Of late I've been following Ecological Internet on Facebook and Twitter. Most recently there has been a stream of anti-religious bile, and its been hard to ignore. Now I am well aware the church has been tardy in the extreme, damaging and distracting in caring for creation (or environmentalism but I'm not going to enter into the debate language raises right now), but this person is totally unaccepting of 'greener traditions' either in the past (Celts) or now (A Rocha, Ethos Environment, Au Sable, Catholic Earth Care to name a few). Too little too late is the cry, despite most of the destruction being wrought by godless capitalism (well money as God) and atheism (look at former USSR for example).

So on one side I am godless because I dare to raise warnings about what we are doing to creation because it isn't the business of the church and I'm courting paganism and on the other side I am abused for superstitious beliefs and almost denied the role as an ally in the fight against evil in the world.

So whatever label I apply, frustration must be the first. A frustrated eco-prophet. I guess that is the lot of any prophet.


  1. "or bemoan it isn't run by Christians"

  2. PS I generally call myself a disciple of Christ who wants to take seriously his command to love our neighbour in an age of ecological crises.