Saturday, March 16, 2013

Ben Lowe's Visit to State College

Last Tuesday (the 12th March), I was privileged to host a conversation between Ben Lowe of Young Evangelicals for Climate Action and a small group of students involved in several different campus ministries at Penn State.

YECA's vision statmenet says, in part
We are young evangelicals who follow Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, and strive to live out what Jesus said was most important: loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving our neighbors as ourselves. As Christians, we are called to love, serve and protect that which Jesus loves, serves and protects.
In seeking to live as Christ’s disciples, we have come to see the climate crisis as a profound threat to “the least of these” (Mt. 25). Therefore, we find it imperative to speak out on behalf of those communities that are marginalized and disempowered, as well as the entire created order that is groaning for its redemption (Rom 8:23). For us, this is an act of worship and service to our Creator.
We believe the climate crisis can be overcome with God’s help and that He is calling us to take action.
We met over dinner and the conversation and questions flowed fast and freely.  One thing that struck me afresh was how the participants vision for creation care had been molded.  Typically, two kinds of experiences had played a key part: experiences of being outdoors, of sensing God's presence in the created order; and experiences of serving others, especially others impacted by the realities of climate change and environmental degradation.

Ben related these two kinds of experiences to the two great commandments, to love God and to love our neighbor.  How can we say that we love God and have no regard for the creation that he pronounced "very good"? How can we claim to love neighbor and ignore huge changes in the world whose impact falls most hevaily on "the least of these"?

I hope that we can follow up this event with a mini-conference in the fall in the style of Faith for Thought.  If this idea becomes a reality, it will be through the energy and commitment of students like those who took part in the dinner, and others who we weren't able to reach (if this is you and you're reading this, please contact me!)

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