After Pope Week: Religous leaders standing shoulder-to-shoulder.

The Jewish Sabbath is on Saturday.  The Christian Sabbath is on Sunday.  Except for Seventh Day Adventists. Buddhists do not have a particular Sabbath Day.  We fast at different times, in different ways, for different reasons.  We have different beliefs about who leads, and how.

We could spend a lot of time of focusing on the differences in our faiths, but we are all Seekers.  We all turn to the wisdom and scripture of our faith traditions for hope, for solace, and for instruction.  We are all called to care for creation, to care for the most vulnerable people, and to work for justice.  Pope Francis released his encyclical, Laudato Si, in June.  In the anticipation of that event, in the build to his visit last week to the United States, and (in the climate change world) in the build to the international talks in Paris this December, many, many religious bodies and religious leaders have released statements from their traditions. (Jump to links)

These teachings are not new to Catholicism, nor are they new to other faith traditions. Recent statements from religious bodies are statements amplifying  Laudato Si : In Care of our Common Home with deep teachings and specific language from their own traditions.  It is time to offer all the wisdom we have, from all sectors, as we seek to find new and just ways to live in our Common Home.  Religious leaders recognize that. Continue reading

On Yom Kippur, Jewish Texts Speak to the Pope’s Letter

daniel headshotRabbi Daniel Swartz asked the crowd to close their eyes and imagine the first thing that comes to mind at the word “environment.”

“How many of you had people in that image?” he asked as their eyes opened. Most people shook their heads.

“We separate ourselves from the environment,” Rabbi Swartz said. “If you understand the environment is where we live … then it becomes a little more important.”

On Wednesday, the spiritual leader of Scranton’s Temple Hesed led a discussion that matched segments of “Laudato si’,” Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical, with texts from the Torah and Jewish thinkers from ancient to modern times.

Environmental mandates in the Torah range all the way back to the Jewish prophets, with versus like Isaiah 5:8, reading “Woe to those who add house to house and join field to field, til there is room for none.”

From the Leviticus Rabbah, he quoted a metaphorical story of sitting in a ship, while one man drills a hole into the hull beneath him. When his companions asked what he was doing, the man replied, “I am only boring a hole under my part of the ship.”

Rabbi Swartz also referenced “Rabbinic Letter on the Climate Crisis,” signed by [over 400] continue reading

The Scranton Times-Tribune published the above 9/24/2015. Article by Brendan Gibbons.  An additional article preceded the event  published 9/15/2015 by Sarah Scinto 

How do religion, ethics, and climate change fit together?

jonbrockopp.headshotA piece by Jonathan Brockopp, a lifetime Lutheran, professor of History and Religious Studies with a focus on early Islam, and director of an initiative on religion and ethics for Penn State’s Rock Ethics Institute.  Posted with permission.

Question: Climate change is something that, until recently, was only discussed within the scientific community. But now others are getting involved from all types of disciplines, including religion and ethics. So what exactly does religion and ethics have to do with climate change?
Climate change is a scientific theory that helps make sense of the observable data that includes global temperature rises, increased carbon dioxide, acidifying oceans, and ice sheet melting among others. There are ethical issues about reporting the data, but by and large, religion plays no role in establishing the science of climate change.

So how does religion fit in?
Religion as an institution helps to guide our ethical thoughts in a number of ways, but one of the most powerful is the role of religions as repositories of cultural knowledge. The stories, rituals, and artifacts that make up religious experience help to define our lives – giving them  continue reading… 

Hope in the Age of the Climate Crisis: Finding our Moral Compass

I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.
 -Pope Francis, ‘Laudato Si – On Care for Our Common Home”

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refugeefatherRemarks originally delivered on September 11, 2012 at a  NWF press conference on the release of Ruined Summer: How Climate Change Scorched the Nation in 2012.  As we republish this in 2015, people around the globe are watching a refugee crisis fueled in part by climate change kill children and split families.  (More on the climate link in Syria here.)

The report that inspired this conference is about the loss of the American summer.  For most Americans, our mental and emotional pictures of “summer” show a quintessential time of innocent childhood, of backyard gardening, evening strolls, and flashlight tag.  Although few Continue reading

“It is we who need to change”: Chapter 6 of “Laudato si”

Crossposted from Points of Inflection by John Roe

Hope long deferred makes sick the heart; but a Desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

These words are from the book of Proverbs,  though when I read them I always hear echoes of the English mystic Thomas Traherne.  They remind us, as Traherne does, of the centrality of longing to authentic humanity.  Who we are is constituted, as much as anything, by what we deeply desire; and disordered, unattainable desire leads to a heart sickness that cannot be cured.

Continue reading