Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Climate Change and Spiritual Warfare

St Michael and SatanI reposted the Avatar review to get a start with some reflections on the theme of spiritual warfare in the context of faith-based environmental work.  What got me thinking about this was a remarkable series of posts on Richard Beck's blog under the overall title "Warfare and Weakness".   He begins the series by quoting William James

If this life is not a real fight, in which something is eternally gained for the universe by success, it is no better than a game of private theatricals from which one may withdraw at will. But it feels like a real fight.

The New Testament agrees.  While the locus classicus, Ephesians 6:12, underlines that our enemies in the battle are not other human beings, it has no doubt that there is a high-stakes battle going on: "against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."  

Beck argues that "progressive" Christianity, in (correctly) shying away from militancy and domination, has failed to articulate a compelling vision of the life of faith as a "real fight":

Basically, I think progressive Christianity struggles because it often fails to give people a real, honest-to-God, bible-thumping fight. More precisely, progressive Christianity has a lot of fight in it, but it has often struggled to articulate that fight in robustly biblical ways. (Let alone the major problem of progressive Christians being too reactionary, focusing much of their fight against conservative Christians.)

So in these posts I'd like to try to paint a picture of what such a bible-thumping fight might look like from the perspective of progressive Christianity.
I wonder, what would it look like to conceive of the struggle to rein in climate change as a "bible-thumping fight" against "the prince of the power of the air"?  I'll try to write more about this.

Here are all Beck's posts for reference.  This is a wonderfully thought-provoking, insightful series.

Image: close-up of the statue of St. Michael and Satan, Coventry Cathedral, by Flickr user Simon Hammond, licensed under Creative Commons.

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