Saturday, June 09, 2007

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori: Our Voice to the World

On Thursday, Bishop Katharine testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Here's part of it:

...I believe that each of us must recall ourselves to the vision that God has for us to realize in our own day. It is a vision in which all human beings live together as siblings, at peace with one another and with God, and in right relationship with all of the rest of creation. While many of the faith communities represented here today may disagree on a variety of issues, in the area of global warming we are increasingly of one mind. The crisis of climate change presents an unprecedented challenge to the goodness, interconnectedness, and sanctity of the world God created and loves. This challenge is what has called our faith communities to come here today and stand on the side of scientific truth. As a priest, trained as a scientist, I take as a sacred obligation the faith community's responsibility to stand on the side of truth, the truth of science as well as the truth of God's unquenchable love for the world and all its inhabitants.

The Church's history, of course, gives us examples of moments when Christians saw threat, rather than revelation and truth, in science. The trial and imprisonment of Galileo Galilei for challenging the theory of a geocentric universe is a famous example of the Church's moral failure. For his advocacy of this unfolding revelation through science, Galileo spent the remainder of his life under house arrest. The God whose revelation to us is continual and ongoing also entrusts us with continual and ongoing discovery of the universe he has made.

As one who has been formed both through a deep faith and as a scientist I believe science has revealed to us without equivocation that climate change and global warming are real, and caused in significant part by human activities. They are a threat not only to God's good creation but to all of humanity. This acknowledgment of global warming, and the Church's commitment to ameliorating it, is a part of the ongoing discovery of God's revelation to humanity and a call to a fuller understanding of the scriptural imperative of loving our neighbor...
Yesterday, our Presiding Bishop was interviewed on Bill Moyer's Journal. We heard some of the same themes that were presented to the Senate. From the transcript:

...Christians talk about the body of Christ. A theologian named Sally McFague talks about the body of God as being all of creation. When one part of the body suffers, the whole body suffers. That's an essential piece of Paul's theology. If we're not caring adequately for the other parts of the body, we are not only destroying ourselves, but we're destroying our neighbors here and across the world...

...Religion and science are both ways of knowing, but they go at it from somewhat different perspectives. Science asks questions about-- how things happen and where they've come from. Religion and faith traditions ask questions of meaning, about why we're here and what we should do with what we have here, and how we should relate to the rest of creation...

...Religion is at its best, I think, an invitation into relationship. It's not necessarily a set of instructions for how you deal with every challenging person you run across in the world. It has that at its depth, but it-- does not give one permission to say, "This person is out, and this one's okay and acceptable." And I-- it continually invites us into a larger understanding of that relationship...
There's much more. Take a look.


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