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Christian Aid turns to prophets of old for climate change hope

31 October 2014 - As the question of how we set about tackling climate change increasingly becomes not just an economic and political issue, but a moral one too, a new paper from Christian Aid draws inspiration from the Biblical prophets.

Song of the Prophets: A global theology on climate change reflects the views of theologians from the global south where climate change is having its greatest impact.

The paper says that the manner in which a number of Biblical prophets confronted opposition in their own times, gives hope  in a demoralised and demotivated world.

It coincides with latest synthesis report on the impact of global warming from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is expected to warn that time for effective action against climate change is fast running out. The IPCC report comes out on Sunday, November 2, six days before the anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan which devastated parts of the Philippines last year.

The paper’s author, Rev Dr Susan Durber, said: “We all need those who will help us to see the truth from which we might be tempted to turn, to face things we can hardly bear, and to find a source of hope that is real. We have often called the people who can do this for us ‘prophets’. They help us to discern the truth and to act upon it.

“Prophets are sometimes unpopular, especially with those who have much to lose if things change. But they consistently, and without fear, speak out. Sometimes people think them mad. Sometimes they are indulged as though they are naïve. All this happened to the prophets in the Bible, and it happens still to truth-tellers in the world today.

“Prophetic voices, whether from the Scriptures, from climate science, or from people living in poverty today, sing a powerful song. We need to hear the challenging voices and the calls to repent and change, for the sake of those who are suffering now and for the sake of future generations.

But we also need to imagine a redeemed and restored world, one marked by justice and hope and built on new foundations, for such a vision will overcome our fears and give us strength to change.

“It takes courage to listen to voices that go against our immediate and pressing self-interest, but if we shut down in the face of the challenge to ‘repent!’ we shall also shut down the possibility of receiving the gift of hope for a renewed earth. It is this gift that we need above all, a gift that faith can offer, in humility, to the world. Prophets are the ones who can reveal that ‘it doesn’t have to be like this.”

Over the weekend of October 18-19 hundreds of churches around the UK took part in a weekend of prayer and action urging MPs to tackle climate change, and praying for their sisters and brothers around the world. 

As Christians around the world increasingly begin to grapple with the moral questions raised by climate change Christian Aid hopes that this paper may prove a useful tool in shaping a theology of climate change full of justice and hope.

Ends

The full paper can be downloaded here http://www.christianaid.org.uk/images/song-of-the-prophets-a-global-theology-of-climate-change-november-2014.pdf

For more information contact Joe Ware at jware@christian-aid.org. The 24 hour Christian Aid press duty phone is 07850 242950. 


Notes to editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 50 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended:  this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development.  Further details at http://actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk

 

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