Last Night’s Anti-Keystone XL Rally at White House

As we celebrate the final defeat of the Keystone XL pipeline, I’ll repost some of the spiritual power that led to this day.

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[Originally published Feb. 4, 2014]

Rose speaking with media at anti-Keystone XL rally in front of White House on February 3, 2014. (Linda Swanson)
Rose speaking with media at anti-Keystone XL rally in front of White House on February 3, 2014. (Linda Swanson)

“As Christians we are required to place the poor at the center of our social and political life. The awful reality we face is that climate change kills and displaces poor Americans and the poor around the world FIRST.

What the recent State Department report has made more clear is that tar sands oil to be carried in the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada is a huge carbon polluter. The State Department did better incorporate climate impacts into this version, but they don’t acknowledge that the amount is significant, or that it takes our country down the wrong energy path.

Sojourners particularly works with evangelical Christians, who know that, as Psalm 24 says, The earth is the Lord’s, and we are to be careful stewards of God’s earth and the ‘least of these’ who would be harmed by this pipeline’s pollution.”–Rose Marie Berger

SEPT 1: First Global Day of Prayer for Care of the Creation – Reach Out and Touch Someone

Farid de la Ossa
Nature and the Eucharist by Farid de la Ossa

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.
The world and all its people belong to him.
For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas
and built it on the ocean depths….
Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors,
and let the King of glory enter.
Who is the King of glory? The Lord of Heaven’s armies—
he is the King of glory.
–Psalm 24:1-2, 9-10

From John Elwood, our friend and co-conSPIRITor over at Beloved Planet:

Virtually the entire global Christian Church has embraced Tuesday, September 1, as a Global Day of Prayer for Care of the Creation. Patriarch Bartholomew of the Orthodox Communion has long recognized the prayer day; recently, Pope Francis did so for the world’s Roman Catholics; and now, the Protestant World Evangelical Alliance, representing more than 600 million Christians worldwide, and the World Council of Churches have both endorsed the Day of Prayer.

You are invited you to participate in this first truly global response by Christians to our many environmental crises by joining in a Telephonic Prayer Meeting organized by Evangelical Christians engaged in various Creation Care ministries.

When? Tuesday, September 1, 8:00-8:50 PM Eastern, 5:00-5:50 Pacific

Call in instructions: Dial 1-302-202-1106 – Conference code: 381142 (Kindly mute your line upon connecting.)

Who’s involved? Representatives of the World Evangelical Alliance, the Lausanne evangelistic movement’s Creation Care Network, Care of Creation, Climate Caretakers, Sojourners, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, the A Rocha Christian conservation ministry, the Christian Reformed Church, the Presbyterian Church and Christians for the Mountains, among many others.

How can I participate? Download the attached PDF prayer guide and join numerous speakers in scripture readings, devotions and prayer for our world, for repentance, for those in power, and for the church. And forward this email to your friends, small group members, pastors, family members and the like. There’s room for everyone to join in prayer!

Bill McKibben: Climate Change Won’t Wait

I’ve been pondering climate change issues for awhile: praying, educating folks on what’s happening, shoring up my spiritual foundations by reading things like Hiebert’s The Yawhist’s Lanscape: Nature and Religion in Early Israel, strategizing, and just doing some serious thinking.

On the one hand, “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” (Psalm 24:1). I trust completely in the abiding love of God here on earth and in the life to come. What happens is what happens when it comes to breaking God’s fundamental earth covenant and the cycles of human life.

On the other hand, the role of the prophets is to continually make plain to the people where they have broken covenant with God, what they need to do to turn around, and what is promised them when they do.

When it comes to addressing global climate change, both hands are in motion. I need to act with all risk and passion of the prophets and all the joyful confidence of one who strives to walk humbly with God.

On February 17, 2013, God’s people are called again to carry a message to President Obama: Take meaningful action to reverse climate change now.

Below is an excerpt from Bill McKibben’s most recent oped in the LA TImes: Climate Change Won’t Wait:

… With climate change, unless we act fairly soon in response to physics’ timetable, it will be too late.

It’s not at all clear that President Obama understands this.

That’s why his administration is sometimes peeved when they don’t get the credit they think they deserve for tackling the issue in his first term in office. The measure they point to most often is the increase in average mileage for automobiles, which will slowly go into effect over the next decade.

That’s precisely the kind of gradual transformation that people — and politicians — like. But physics isn’t impressed. If we’re to slow the pace of climate change we need to cut emissions globally at a sensational rate, by something like 5% a year.

It’s not Obama’s fault that that’s not happening. He can’t force it to happen, especially with Congress so deeply in debt to the fossil fuel industry. But he should at least be doing absolutely everything he can on his own authority. That might include new Environmental Protection Agency regulations, for example. And he could refuse to grant the permit for the building of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. …

…The president must be pressed to do all he can — and more. But there’s another possibility we need to consider: Perhaps he’s simply not up to this task, and we’re going to have to do it for him, as best we can.

Those of us in the growing grass-roots climate movement are moving as fast and hard as we know how (though not, I fear, as fast as physics demands). Thousands of us will descend on Washington on Presidents Day weekend for the largest environmental demonstration in years. And young people from 190 nations will gather in Istanbul, Turkey, in June in an effort to shame the United Nations into action.

We also need you. Maybe if we move fast enough, even this all-too-patient president will get caught up in the draft. But we’re not waiting for him. We can’t.