I'm not sure where this "belongs," but Speaking of Faith, in the light of a need for radical approach to climate change, might consider it. I've listened to the McKibben hour each time it aired. There is a huge irony in the focus on "durable community" as the key to a post-350 human future. The piece of my life least accommodated to a responsible lifestyle is the religious piece. I am very much solo, and have worked out of my apartment for decades, now using a half dozen computers and internet; I get around by bike, rental car if needed; I live in a city that is beginning to focus on ending sprawl, ensuring plenty of town farms and farmers markets, building more bike paths; it's all pretty good. My work schedule is such that I hardly ever get to see anybody; there is certainly no time for church. There's the issue. Church community is built around time spent and money given, a cooperative of sorts; its effectiveness is measured in many ways by face-time, group face-time. A team without the actual "matches." A lot of driving around is involved. To some extent I brought a dilemma on myself by joining a church I felt was compatible which is an hour's bike-ride away. I did that decades back when I did have expendable time. But here is a challenge: Can a church function without the kind of access usually undergirding such an institution? (Can I?) I consider what if I were a member of a church 300 yards away, of which there are about four or five. And I think I actually need the distance; I need to make "it" work from a distance. "It" to me includes or at least implies the whole world. And "it" has to do that with my coming and going hardly ever. To some extent I think of my religious commitment being to a much, much wider world (as does that church, by the way), but in a way, as you see, which was inconceivable when the early churches were first coming together. Ethical awareness now has global reverberations (as McKibben lays out: my plastic/my heat is your drought, your flood, your famine, your tornado); religion has by default of circumstance a new kind of inclusiveness, a new kind of particularity, a new "us." Perhaps once upon a time religion was meant to be a comfort to the oppressed; but I think American churches are beginning to see religion as having some responsibility, and a question is how best to exercise that. The image of fiddling while Rome burns comes to mind, or maybe the sound of the elegant strains of a Bach fugue while the Titanic sinks. What is the role of churches in the face of an existential threat to our species?
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