Ring out the Good News

Today, along with many other churches, the parish I serve rang its tower bell 350 times. We did this to warn of catastrophic climate change. It turns out the 350 parts per million is considered by some scientists to be a safe level of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. We’re way over that now, and there’s a growing campaign to ask us to immediately and radically reduce our carbon emissions. You can read more at www.350.org.

Anyway, one of our Vestry members sent out a press release to several papers. Our local town paper ran an article. I was delighted to welcome a photographer from the Providence Journal today. I think they’ll have an article in tomorrow’s paper (look here for an update). Anyway, the photographer also shot some video, which is now online. It’s pretty fun.

Lots of times we Christians complain that we’re never in the news for the right reasons. But what do we do to change that? At Christ Church, we’ve gotten a fair amount of local media coverage in the last year. It’s not because we have an highly-funded  PR machine. It’s because we try to do compelling things, and we sometimes remember to tell the local media what we’re up to. Any congregation could do this.

Of course, the local paper won’t write an article about your ham & bean supper. Sorry, but it’s just not interesting to anyone outside your congregation. But they’ll gladly come to cover interesting things you do. We have an annual Holiday Bazaar (like nearly every other parish in Rhode Island). That’s not very interesting to a local paper. But the fact that one of our high school kids sells loads of pickles that he makes on his own was deemed interesting. You have to think up an angle for the reporter, and then they’ll be happy to have interesting news to cover.

Why do this? Because we need to tell people that we’re creative, vital congregations. We need to get into the news so we can share the Good News. Rather than complain about the decline of the Episcopal Church, let’s do something to change that! Not because we need to use gimmicks, but because we need to share the Good News that’s already present in our lives and in our congregations.

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7 Responses

  1. Melodie Woerman says:

    Amen and amen!

  2. Sorry, I don’t hold with the whole theory that climate change is due to the activities of humankind, it’s part of a new pantheism which seeks ultimately to replace Christianity.

    I think it’s significant that people who oppose the anthropogenic theory of climate change are not mentioned or, if they’re too prominent for that, see Roger Revelle or David Bellamy. Glaciers either aren’t receeding, or are doing so to reveal artefacts showing that their paths have been previously occupied, polar ice melting in some parts is being replaced by burgeoning ice growths in others, and there are currently more polar bears than there have been since the 1960’s.

    Let’s stick to seeking justice in and for communities and working for the Kingdom. The earth has looked after itself for four billion years and now is no different.

    FD

  3. Scott Gunn says:

    FD,

    I don’t necessary hold with the whole theory that massive objects have gravity, and yet I stick to this planet. And I think your accusation of pantheism is a non sequitur.

    I wonder if you’ve been reading hollow earth books or something? That’s the closest analog I can think of to match your ideas of burgeoning ice growths and proliferating polar bears.

    No doubt there are some things about which the scientific consensus is wrong, but there is overwhelming evidence of climate change now in progress, with humans as the culprits. I assure you that one can hold this position and be firmly theistic. Trinitarian, in fact.

    Thanks for visiting this little corner of cyberspace.

    Peace,
    Scott

    P.S. If you can point me to what you consider to be excellent rebuttals to climate change theory, I’d be delighted to look at them.

  4. Scott,

    thanks for replying.

    There is so much credible evidence refuting the present orthodoxy that climate change is mostly anthropogenic that I hardly know where to start.

    The best resource I can thnnk of to start with is from the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine:

    http://www.oism.org/pproject/s33p36.htm

    There is, of course, the related petition:

    http://www.petitionproject.org/

    That’s not to mention sleight-of-hand, like weather stations being moved from the upwind side of cities to the downwind, or data enhanced by NASA showing the hottest year of the 20th century tto have been in the mid-’30’s and subsequently suppressed (then leaked).

    Here’s the NASA figures:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.D.txt

    And this site will point you to resources re the weather stations:

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2007/08/10/un-s-ipcc-accused-possible-research-fraud

    I am disappointed but not surprised that you compare me to a hollow-earther because I question the anthropogeneity of climate change – in the past I’v been compared to loggers in the Amazon, people searching for oil in Alaska, and once was frozen out of a church meeting for merely suggesting that there were two sides to the theory.

    All the best

    FD

  5. Scott Gunn says:

    Dear Frugal,

    Thanks for your comment. I’ll go look at that stuff.

    Please understand that I called you a hollow-earther in good fun. In another post on the same day, I’d gladly embraced the label “prayer book fundamentalist” that one of my colleagues sent my way.

    I think (but I’ll do my best to read with an open mind) that the overwhelming evidence is in favor of climate change and that you’re living in denial. But then again, maybe I’m just an errant pantheist.

    Peace,
    Scott

  6. Neil says:

    I’ve been trying to uproot Scott’s beliefs and undermine his congregation for years. I thought this whole climate change business would do the trick, but despite adopting my pantheist view on this matter, he’s still a believer and preaching the gospel to what seems to be a vibrant congregation. Drat! Foiled again!

  7. Scott,

    I’m sorry if I took the hollow-earth thing too seriously, I’m just so used to having similar epithets chucked at me for looking at the evidence for both sides of climate-change theories with what I think is an open mind that you get a bit fatigued at times and can miss humour.

    But I would like to pick out the phrase “in denial” from your reply – I think you are unaware of it’s origin as applied to those who don’t accept all of the anthropogenic theory of climate change: it’s related to the phenomenon of holocaust denialism. For example, Scott Pelley, of CBS’s “60 minutes”, was asked why he didn’t investigate both sides of the climate change theory, and his reply was:

    “If I do an interview with [Holocaust survivor] Elie Wiesel, am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?”

    Have a look and I’m sure you’ll find more examples.

    All the best

    FD

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