Welcoming a Climate Conversation That Wedges Were Made to Divide

Wedges are useful for splitting wood but not so useful at putting the tree back together. Similarly, wedges are useful in political wars, but not so useful when trying to bring America together on something like climate change. - Bob Inglis 

Welcoming a Climate Conversation That Wedges Were Made to Divide
Election Day 2012, I was in NYC responding to Super-Storm Sandy where subway tunnels in Lower Manhattan remained underwater. The Wall Street Market stood erie and quiet, and the Staten Island Ferry was nearly inactive except for those of us covered from waist down in mud after working in the community to clear roads, church basements, and destroyed small business' inventory.

Similarly, about a year ago, Sep 2016, I was in Baton Rouge, LA helping with mud-out efforts after a historic flood ravaged the area leaving thousands to pick up the pieces of their lives. Muddy water had receded by the time we had arrived 10 days after the worst of the storm, but the damage was raw and real. Piles of debris lined the streets, as stunned homeowners sifted through their memories.

This year, Sep 2017, we have seen significant damage all over the southern states from the U.S. Virgin Islands up through the East Coast, and all the way across Texas from a couple nasty Hurricanes, and there might still be more to come. The climate is changing, yet we see and experience heated arguments for why we don't need to pay any attention to these changes.

Wedges were made to divide. 
Overwhelming scientific consensus says human activity is primarily responsible for global climate change, yet a proportionally small group of one thousand scientists disagree that human activity is primarily responsible. These scientists submit that global warming and cooling are primarily caused by fluctuations in the sun's heat (solar forcing), not by human activity. Opposing views however, point out that natural changes in the sun's activity cannot explain 20th century global warming.

Why would we choose to be a wedge? 
In each of the natural disasters I was personally able to respond to, I found very little that would be considered divisive. Where racial tensions had been high in Baton Rouge previous weeks, communities came together without bias to care for one another once tragedy struck. The people who have met tragedy face to face are not bickering about who is at fault, but making steps towards a brighter tomorrow.

Today, partner churches from our home state have already responded by supporting feeding units in Florida, and we will be sending a mud-out team later this month to respond to the disaster in Houston. People realize the time to be involved is now. Pointing out flaws from the sidelines isn't helping anyone. Likewise, dismissing the conversation on climate control as a hoax is not getting us anywhere either. I believe it is conservatives that will solve climate change. I know I am not alone.

Let us be a people who show the love of Christ in a practical way. Let us be pro-active in our response, not reactive. Let us be known for our action, rather than our inaction. Why would we choose to be a wedge?

What can we say then? 
Some have preached that we have a right to pillage the earth. I don't see it that way. Nor do most Jesus followers striving to live a complete Gospel. If humans have dominion over the earth, it’s in stewardship of a created Kingdom. Humans are modeled after a benevolent King who came to reconcile all things to Himself. I believe the Bible when it teaches that “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” I believe God gave us a garden to tend.

The work of creation care, the work of bringing people together not easy, but with inventiveness and creativity, let’s be about it.

Pastor Milo


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