Christianity in an Age of Limits

City-of-God-1-300
Augustine’s New City of God

New Product Release

Age-of-Limits-Title-Page

We have released the ebook Age of Limits – Part 1. This 82 page ebook supplements the forthcoming book A New City of God. The chapter titles are:

  • Introduction
  • Alice and the Red Queen
  • Rearranging the Deckchairs on the Episcopalian Titanic
  • Denial
  • The Green New Deal
  • Jevons Paradox
  • Personality Types
  • Thermodynamics
  • Stoicism
  • References

The ebook is in .pdf format and is priced at $9.99 (U.S.).

Add to cart button for New City of God ebooks and videos

Welcome

Welcome to our web site and blog, Christianity in an Age of Limits. My name is Ian Sutton — my brief autobiography is provided here. The core messages of this site are,

  • We have entered an ‘Age of Limits’. The limits include resources, environmental capacity, over-population and financial debt. We are learning the hard way that infinite growth on a finite planet is not possible.
  • The issues that we face are not problems — they are predicaments. Problems have solutions, predicaments do not.
  • Time is not on our side.
  • There has been an absence of leadership at the national and international level. This vacuum presents the Christian church and individual Christians to lead the way.
  • But, before we can do so, we need a new way of thinking, a new theology, as discussed below.

In 1 Corinthians the Apostle Paul said that, “we see through a glass darkly”. None of us knows what the future holds in detail. But we can see an outline, and that outline is daunting, even scary. But such a future is what presents an opportunity for the church.

Please share your thoughts with us, either through the comments feature of the blog, or at the contact page at Sutton Technical Books.

Publications

We offer a variety of publications. These include a book, videos, the blog you are reading now, resources and references and information to do with current events.

Books

We are working on two books. The first is A New City of God – The Church and Climate Change. It is a non-fiction work that discusses climate change, resource depletion and other ‘Age of Limits’ issues in a Christian context, including the development of a theology that is appropriate for our times. The book is scheduled for publication early in 2020.

We are also writing a fictional book, Pastoral Letters. This consists of a set of letters from a pastor to his congregation written over the years 2020 to 2050.

Ebooks

We are writing and publishing ebooks on a variety of topics. The first in the series is Age of Limits — 1. It provides discussion of some of the topics discussed in A New City of God.

Videos

We are developing a series of videos that match the chapters of the New City of God book.

Resources and Current Events

Information to do with current events is provided at our Events page. Background information is provided at our Resources and References page.

Theology

Whenever society has gone through wrenching changes the church has developed a theology that is appropriate for the times. The example that provides a basis for the title of this blog and web site is Augustine’s City of God, written 5th century CE as the western Roman Empire was declining into what we now refer to as the Dark Ages. Other examples are reformation theology developed by men such as Martin Luther in response to corruption in the medieval church. In more recent times, John Wesley and others developed a theological framework that addressed the social injustices created by the Industrial Revolution.

As theologians, seminarians and ordained clergy develop a theology that speaks to an ‘Age of Limits’ I suggest that the following three points can be helpful to them.

  1. Understand and tell the truth.
  2. Accept and adapt.
  3. Live within the biosphere — materially and spiritually.

I will unpack the above statements in future posts and in the book/video series. For now, let’s just say the following about them.

1. Understand and Tell the Truth

Pilate Questioning Jesus
Pilate Questioning Jesus

At his trial, Jesus says,

. . . the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.

To which Pilate replies,

What is truth?

 John 18:37-38

The situations in which we find ourselves are extraordinarily complex and difficult to understand. No one can fully grasp all the issues — there is much uncertainty. However, in the words of the Apostle Paul, “we see through a glass darkly”. We do not know what the future holds in detail, but we can see an outline. It is our responsibility to understand the truth as best we can, even if the future looks rather scary.

2. Accept and Adapt

As we have already seen, we face predicaments, not problems. When faced with a predicament we can respond and adapt, but we cannot make it go away. We should not be fatalistic, we should make every effort to slow down the changes that are taking place. But we need to recognize that there are no technical solutions, there is no deus ex machina that is going to save us. Christians, in my view need to offer realistic hope, which lies between fatalism and hopium.

Fatalism – Realistic Hope - Hopium
3. Live Within the Biosphere

Genesis 1:28 says,

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Well, we certainly aced that one. Now we need a theology that stresses the need to live in harmony with the earth, not to “rule over” it.

The following two passages from John’s gospel may provide better guidance for the future.

When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.”

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.

The following words from Ecclesiastes 1 may also help us as we transition from a theology of linear progress to one of living within a cycle or rhythm.

The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises.

The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course.

All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again.

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.


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