Re: [asa] Live - Gore on Climate Change

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Tue Mar 27 2007 - 08:24:39 EDT

*The problem with that approach is that global warming may very well
cause that well to be a dry hole like has happened to Lake Chad*

Maybe, or maybe not, or maybe 100 years from now. Meanwhile, I know that we
can dig a well in one week that will immediately save a village full of
children from dysentery and parasitic worms. And as we're helping those
families get on their feet, we can share the gospel with them, plant a
church, and so on. If I have ten very dedicated people and $5,000 in
offerings from the men's Bible study, where do those resources go?

Again -- I personally agree with you. Spending those finite resources, say,
on carbon credits or more efficient light bulbs just doesn't pack the same
wallop. Here's an interesting parallel -- back in the 1970's, when
evangelicals in the U.S. were first re-engaging in public life, there were
voices talking about global poverty, but they were largely ignored. I think
some of the dynamics were the same -- global poverty was this huge,
amorphous, insoluble problem, where as the issue that first galvanized
evangelicals back then -- abortion and family breakdown -- was in our
backyard, and we could do something tangible about it. There was also
direct resistance in some circles to global policy initiatives because they
were seen as some sort of "social gospel," or as a type of cooperation with
godless international organizations such as the U.N.

Now, after many years of sustained effort, and thanks also in part to
economic globalization, organizations such as World Vision have become very
effective at giving local churches in the U.S. tangible anti-poverty
projects -- like my church's African village project. There is broad
acceptance in American evangelicalism today for the notion that global
poverty is a problem the church can and should address in a missional way.
Maybe what we need is a similar group of organizations that can provide
discrete environmental stewardship projects with a similarly tangible
missional perspective.

On 3/27/07, Rich Blinne <> wrote:
> On Mar 26, 2007, at 8:02 AM, David Opderbeck wrote:
> > Given only so much time and money, I'll probably invest it in a
> > project to dig a well near our sister church in Uganda, ministering
> > directly to my neighbors and family, etc., rather than crusading
> > about global warming.
> >
> The problem with that approach is that global warming may very well
> cause that well to be a dry hole like has happened to Lake Chad
> (
> natural_hazards_v2.php3?img_id=4753). In fact, your sister church may
> experience a completely novel climate that we have no experience
> with. See here panel C (
> images/ns/cms/dn11463/dn11463-1_630.jpg). We may end up spending more
> time and more money when our brothers and sisters become
> environmental refugees. The adaption only approach to global warming
> neglects the fact that rich people adapt and poor people suffer. Of
> all groups it is us that are the most important to be crusading on
> this because the people who need to hear this most are sitting right
> next to us on Sunday morning and they have been lied to by the global
> warming deniers. You have problems with big, centralized, government
> programs and so do I. But, there is still things we can do as
> individuals and churches because we unlike the world can deny
> ourselves. Let's take back the conservative church from the false and
> unbiblical theology of self-sufficient, self-centeredness.

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Received on Tue Mar 27 08:25:19 2007

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