making sense of the environment

Pemberton, WA

Pemberton, WA

If you haven’t yet read (or listened to) Rowan Williams’ passionate and deeply intelligent lecture, ‘Renewing the Face of the Earth’, don’t wait. Do it now.

Its wide sweep ultimately finds its focus in an appeal to take seriously our created and redeemed appointment as ‘priests’ of creation, charged with making sense of it: ‘the human agent is created with the capacity to make sense of the environment and to move it into a closer relation to its creator by drawing out of it its capacity to become a sign of love and generosity’.

The ‘debate’ between the global warming aIarmists and sceptics so often degenerates into a tangled mess. But Williams deftly cuts through it — insisting persuasively that moving to alleviate suffering is the truly reasonable response to global warming (whatever its cause).

Better still, he puts into words something I’ve often felt:

And what the perspective of faith — in particular of Christian faith — brings to this discussion is the insight that we are not and don’t have to be God. For us to be reasonable and free and responsible is for us to live in awareness of our limits and dependence. It is no lessening of our dignity as humans, let alone our rationality and liberty as humans, if we exercise these ‘godlike’ gifts in the contexts of bodies that are fragile and mortal and a world that we do not completely control.

Makes sense to me.

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