Thursday, October 15, 2009

Archbishop Rowan calls us to be human

In a way rather similar to what I've been banging on about for the last few years.

Rowan says "We do justice to what we are as human beings when we seek to do justice to the diversity of life around us; we become what we are supposed to be when we assume our responsibility for life continuing on earth" and later "this surely is the main contribution to the environmental debate that religious commitment can make... it is to hold up a vision of human life lived constructively, peacefully, joyfully, in optimal relation with creation and creator, so as to point up the tragedy of the shrunken and harried humanity we have shaped for ourselves by our obsession with growth and consumption", and later "What we face today is nothing less than a choice about how genuinely human we want to be".

In other words, 'Let us be Human'.

I do have differences with his perspective though, and whilst they will take a much longer post (even a book [grin]) to flesh out, I'd summarise it like this:

Rowan is still looking outwards - seeing the ecological crisis and saying we will not be fully human until we act in a way that safeguards creation. So safeguarding creation is the end purpose in mind. In this way, Rowan is channelling the Green perspective - giving a Christian spin to an agenda that is already in place.

What I want to do is look inwards. I want to give a fully Christian account of the ecological crisis. (See this and this.)

I see the ecological crisis as a symptom of two deeper crises, which are inter-related but still separable. The most important crisis is a spiritual one; we have forgotten God, we have succumbed to idolatry, and therefore wrath is descending upon us. The second is like it, namely this: we have abandoned any sense of social justice and our lack of concern for our neighbour is one of the prime drivers behind environmental catastrophe.

In other words, if we get our spirituality in order, if we worship God correctly, and if we safeguard the poorest amongst us, then the ecological crisis will be solved as a consequence of that.

If we carry on trying to fix the ecological crisis as an end separate to those two prime commands, then we will never be fully human. In particular, if we succumb to fear in our plans (which seems to be such a large part of climate change activism) then we will never get the spirituality right - and it is the spirituality that is more important.

I wish I could get a publisher... DLT? Continuum?

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