I had an opportunity today to have a lunch at Interfaith Ministries with Reverend Richard Cizik. It was sponsored by Kansas Interfaith Power and Light. You may be familiar with the name Richard Cizik. He "is the former vice president for governmental affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and its 30 million members. In that role, he had primary responsibility for shaping and articulating the organization's policy on major social issues and lobbying the White House and Congress on the association's behalf." (quote taken from the biographical information sent out by Interfaith Power and Light) You might also remember that he resigned in December of 2008 over remarks made on NPR on civil unions.
In 2002, in his own words, he had a conversion on global warming and climate change. He began working with scientists and evangelicals on the issues around climate change. It was not a popular issue with that constituency.
Richard is now working non stop with "young evangelicals" and others on what he believes is THE issue for Christians. While with the NAE he began working with churches on Creation Care. Citing Genesis 2:15, Richard claims that creation care is different than environmentalism because it rooted in scripture, not on politics or particular agendas.
All told, there were 12 of us around the table including Rev. Cizik. He is passionate about this subject and encouraged us to find places "at the table" for people to buy in at whatever level they will. If it means looking at lower utility costs instead of mentioning climate change...do it.
Having attended a Cool Congregations training with Nancy Wilhite and Jane Criser, I agree with what he said. Whatever we can do to encourage people to look at what it means to use less energy, we leave a better and cleaner world for our children. Young people are passionate about this issues regardless of their religious affiliation or lack there of. They believe we need to be about the work of lowering our "carbon footprint" and creating sustainable energy.
Finding ways to proceed that crosses ideological lines, religious lines, political lines is the key. Perhaps Rev. Cizik is right, the young people will do it. They believe deeply that this is THE issue above all others. I am convinced that this issue is part of a bigger picture of justice, of peace and of living equitably with all.
Graced to Serve,