We are releasing the sections of the book Faith in a Changing Climate for preliminary review. In this post the following sections are available (.pdf files).
Pages 1 to 10 incorporate all of Chapter 1 and the first two pages of Chapter 2.
Chapter 1 — Dress Rehearsal
Although this is the first chapter, it was the last chapter to be written. In it we consider how the current pandemic may change the way we and respond to longer term ‘Age of Limits’ issues such as climate change, resource depletion, excess debt and population overshoot.
Maybe the most important lesson that the recent events have taught us is the need to be very cautious when we make predictions. Who would have thought just three months ago that more than 30 million Americans would be suddenly unemployed? Who would have thought that we would all be wearing masks wherever we go?
A Bible verse that I keep coming back to is from 1 Corinthians 13.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then I shall know even as also I am known.
In spite of his magnificent intellectual and spiritual gifts, the Apostle Paul is telling us that he cannot forecast the future in detail. This does not mean that we cannot see an outline of where we are headed. But we do need to be very cautious about making forecasts. In the words of the proverb,
If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.
Another important lesson is that we are not in control of the natural world; we part of that world. It is this idea that leads to the third of my theological thoughts,
3. Live within the biosphere.
There has been little to laugh about in the last three months, but I have derived some enjoyment in watching politicians try to negotiate with the laws of biology.
In Genesis 9 God says to Noah and his sons,
Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth . . .
Well, we certainly aced that one. Now we need to adopt a much more modest lifestyle.
Another lesson that the pandemic has taught us is the importance of community — a topic that is part of the book’s final chapter, The Church’s Response.
This chapter also discusses the importance of understanding scientific, technological and project management realities. (Further information on this important topic is available at the post The New PSM Normal (6) — Alternative Reality Check.)
The second chapter of Faith in a Changing Climate starts with an ‘Author’s Apology’, based on the Introduction to John Bunyan’s enormously influential book, Pilgrim’s Progress. The chapter includes a few words to do with my personal background. It also introduces the concept of an Age of Limits.