Week of 4/22-27/2024: Fighting Climate Change & Honoring Cecil Williams

April 22, 2024: Earth Day, Passover & the Cost of Climate Change
We reflect on the meaning of both Passover and Earth Day, which fall on the same day this year. A recent study explored the economic ramifications of climate change. The climate crisis will shrink the average global income 19% in the next 26 years. The primary cause is the burning of fossil fuels in the cooling of our homes. If we fail to act faster now, by 2100 economic losses will amount to 60% on global average. In dollar terms, the climate crisis will cost $38 trillion per year by 2050. Currently the entire world economy is about $100 trillion a year. America’s budget is about $6 trillion a year.

Youth at the COP22 talks in Marrakech hold up a “People’s Presidential To-Do List,” including “Break Free from Fossil Fuels,” “Respect Indigenous Sovereignty,” “Zero by 2050,” and “No Corporate Trade Deals. Photo by John Englart on Flickr.

April 23, 2024: The Silver Lining & Possible Game Changer Regarding Climate Change
In a new study linking climate change with huge economic losses, we wonder if mega-corporations will finally ask: “How can our company survive the expense of eco-destruction?” Economies in the North will suffer, but in the southern hemisphere, where it is already hotter, Iraq’s economy could drop by 30%, Botswana by 25%, and Brazil by 21%. Leonie Wenz, the scientist who headed the study, is right when he says, “This clearly show that protecting our climate is much cheaper than not doing so.” 

April 24, 2024: The Silver Lining in Recent Bad News about Climate Change
In remembrance of the “angel of death” passing over the people in this season of Passover, is climage change another angel of death? It seems that both denial and acedia are at play when it comes to climate change. As Matthew says: People find denial easier and less energy-draining than is facing the sadness and grief and demands of imagination to rebuild politics and economics to turn back climate change. How can we motivate people to act? Will this recent study on the economic impact of the climate crisis propel people toward action?

English translation of a cartoon by Gerhard Mester on the topic of climate change, licensed as CC-BY-SA. Wikimedia Commons

April 25, 2024: Forces of Greed & Forces of Justice Joining to Combat Climate Change?
Bill McKibben observes in the CommonDreams article* that if the world economy loses $38 trillion per year due to climate change by the beginning of 2050, that “seems like a lot.” He is hopeful that maybe these findings can finally “persuade major companies to embrace climate action for self-interest reasons.”  Anders Leverman tells us: Structural change towards a renewable energy system is needed for our security and will save us money. Staying on the path we are currently on, will lead to catastrophic consequences. The temperature of the planet can only be stabilized if we stop burning oil, gas, and coal. As Matthew says: When those who “care most about money” link up with those who care most about the health and beauty and sacredness of Mother Earth, our survival as a species, along with millions of other species, has a fighting chance.

Bill McKibben talks about the impacts of the fossil fuel and renewable energy industries, and why global warming is calling all generations to work together. Brief But Spectacular

April 26, 2024: Remembering Cecil Williams: A Great & Real Religious/Spiritual Leader
A great man and leader died this week: Rev. Cecil Williams, co-founder of Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District. A PBS profile told of how Williams opened the church up to jazz music, hippies, addicts, the poor, poets and “anyone else who wanted to come.”  In addition, “He made the then-radical decision to open up his church to LGBTQ people,” comments Pam Nole, a 30-year member of Glide. He performed same sex weddings in the 1970’s, decades before same-sex marriage became legal in the US. He was not just a minister, he was a visionary, an advocate for social justice, and a compassionate man who truly cared about the people.

April 27, 2024: Cecil Williams, Mystic & Prophet & Authentic Christian Leader, Part II
Cecil Williams and his wife, Janice Mirikitani, used Glide Memorial Church as a place of, not just inspiration, but healing. There were support groups for people with addictions, screenings for people with HIV/AIDS, and social services for the homeless, the abused, and those with mental health issues. The church also served meals—500,000 during the year 2020-2021 alone. His church has been called “the soul of the city” and it is said he approached everything he did with “unconditional love.” Matthew says that Williams was everything a follower of Jesus should be: A lover, a listener, a challenger, a prophet who interfered with social, gender, economic, racial and homophobic injustice where he saw it. A man with a soft heart and a gentle way plus the warrior and lion spirit of a prophet. 

* Olivia Rosane, “Climate Crisis to Cost Global Economy $38 Trillion a Year by 2050” on CommonDreams.org

Banner image: “A recreation of the ECOLOGY symbol used in early Earth Day materials. Original design 1969 by American artist and cartoonist Ron Cobb.” Wikimedia Commons.

Recommended Reading

Order of the Sacred Earth: An Intergenerational Vision of Love and Action
By Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson, and Jen Listug

In the midst of global fire, earthquake and flood – as species are going extinct every day and national and global economies totter – the planet doesn’t need another church or religion. What it needs is a new Order, grounded in the Wisdom traditions of both East and West, including science and indigenous. An Order of the Sacred Earth united in one sacred vow: “I promise to be the best lover and defender of the Earth that I can be.”
Co-authored by Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson, and Jennifer Berit Listug, with a forward by David Korten, this collection of essays by 21 spiritual visionaries including Brian Swimme, Mirabai Starr, Theodore Richards, and Kristal Parks marks the founding of the diverse and inclusive Order of the Sacred Earth, a community now evolving around the world.
“The Order of the Sacred Earth not only calls us home to our true nature as Earth, but also offers us invaluable guidance and company on the way.”  ~~ Joanna Macy, environmental activist and author of Active Hope.

Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

Visionary theologian and best-selling author Matthew Fox offers a new theology of evil that fundamentally changes the traditional perception of good and evil and points the way to a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. In comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them. 
“A scholarly masterpiece embodying a better vision and depth of perception far beyond the grasp of any one single science.  A breath-taking analysis.” — Diarmuid O’Murchu, author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics

Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth

Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.

Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest (Revised/Updated Edition)

Matthew Fox’s stirring autobiography, Confessions, reveals his personal, intellectual, and spiritual journey from altar boy, to Dominican priest, to his eventual break with the Vatican. Five new chapters in this revised and updated edition bring added perspective in light of the author’s continued journey, and his reflections on the current changes taking place in church, society and the environment.
“The unfolding story of this irrepressible spiritual revolutionary enlivens the mind and emboldens the heart — must reading for anyone interested in courage, creativity, and the future of religion.”
—Joanna Macy, author of World as Lover, World as Self

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