Cast the net wide
KAIROS Regina invites you on a journey of faith, one that challenges our comfortable lives and changes the very buildings we worship in. On October 15, KAIROS Regina will host a one-day hybrid conference called, “Creation Care in our Places of Prayer: Energy Retrofits and other Faith-based Climate Action.” In the leadup to that session, they will offer six articles to prepare our hearts and minds for the deep transformation that is needed. This fifth article is by Matt Dipple (engineer and building consultant) and Laura Stewart (climate activist), who serve on the Climate Justice Working Group for KAIROS Regina.
Our previous blog posts called on faith communities to be fearless and ambitious in tackling emissions. We shared some successes, sometimes sprouting in surprising ways from small first steps. This week, we consider how to invite others in our faith communities to join us in the work of climate action. If we are to reduce our emissions and improve our environmental impact, there needs to be a “we” that cares enough to act!
Thankfully, we have a Teacher whose life and ministry were an example of inviting others—individually and communally—to radical transformation. We observe that Jesus cast his net wide—inviting even the most unlikely and unliked to participate in the Kin-dom of God. He also cultivated a group of dedicated followers to help spread the word. We can emulate this by inviting all in our faith communities to participate in climate action, and also by cultivating climate leaders.
Jesus didn’t just talk at people. For each person, something he did or said called to something inside of them. There was a gentleness rather than a forcefulness there. And he said all of it alongside doing: healing, feeding, touching, making clean.
This is a high bar that Jesus sets. To invite people with acts of service and love, not just convincing or charismatic words. To somehow plant seeds, even in those we would rather didn’t show up to the community meeting.
As well as the example of Jesus, there is another signpost that comes to mind, with the recent celebration of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th. This sign post points us away from what not to do. We remember our own failures as Christian communities in Canada, specifically participation in the residential and day schools. It was colonialism masquerading as the Good News. We cannot coerce others into care for Creation. We can only invite.
What can Mother Earth teach us about inviting others to care for Creation? Let us listen to Her by spending time asking this question of Her, and of those who steward Her well. Our Indigenous sisters and brothers are allies in this.
My own experience is that Mother Earth moves my heart through beauty and abundance. I care about climate change because I have fallen in love with the beauty of the lake beside which I garden, and the abundance of stars on a clear night. Can we, too, create something beautiful to draw others into care for Creation? Perhaps a garden, an art project, poetry. Maybe it doesn’t have the most direct impact in terms of greenhouse gas reduction, but we need beauty to touch hearts, not just intellects. We must recall that reducing our world to numerical values is a large part of how we got into this climate mess in the first place!
Two additional resources (among many!) from groups who have been thinking much longer and more deeply about how to engage others in climate action are For the Love of Creation and the Alberta Narratives Project. Both include a focus on building dialogue and reducing polarization, bringing more hearts, hands, and wisdom to the work.
Finally, let us trust that as we offer our limited time, energy, and patience, God will transform our few loaves and fishes into a rich feast to nourish our community efforts towards climate justice.