Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action


Evangelical Climate Initiative




The Evangelical Climate Initiative is an organization of Christian leaders in America whose "love for God and neighbor...compels [them] to recognize that human-induced climate change is a serious Christian issue requiring action now." Responding to contemporary reports of unprecedented global warming, the Initiative published a statement that views the reality of climate change as evidence of humanity's poor stewardship of the earth. The statement issues a call to fellow Christians to alter the destructive behaviors that have led to the changes in climate -- for the sake of the earth and for the sake of the poor. But are religious grounds the best grounds from which to make such an appeal? And are the behavior changes the ECI suggests that Christians ought to make really the ones that will benefit the earth, and the poor, the most? (Be sure to read also the response to this statement issued by the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance. Both statements echo and develop themes that are present in Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem "God's Grandeur.")

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Reading - Short Enough to Read Aloud.


Faith and BeliefJustice and EqualityKnowledge and UncertaintyMotives and ValuesNature and the EnvironmentPoverty and Need

Big Questions

Sample Discussion Questions

  1. Questions for the Call to Action paper:
  2. What is the problem that the Evangelical Climiate Initiative is concerned with? How do they interpret it?
  3. Do you agree with this statement - and why? "Because all religious/moral claims about climate change are relevant only if climate change is real and is mainly human-induced, everything hinges on the scientific data."
  4. What reasons does the Evangelical Climate Initiative give for being concerned with climate change?
  5. What are the similarities and differences between the view of stewardship held by the Evangelical Climate Initiative and the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance? Are these important?
  6. Which perspective do you most naturally agree with? What would it take for your to change your mind?
  7. Do you think the signatories of either letter are willing to revise their opinions? What would lead them to do this? Wat would be the barriers to this?
  8. What is the connection between faith and stewardship? Do we need to have faith to have a coherent picture of stewardship? Saving the Crippled Boy Beatty, Jan Who is the narrator and what is her connection to the boy?
  9. Why does the narrator kiss Bob Saunders?
  10. From what does the narrator want “to save him, just to save him”?
  11. Why does the narrator try to save him - and why does she think he needs saving?
  12. Is she really trying to save him or is she doing something else? And if it's something else, what is the something else?
  13. What makes the narrator overcome her initial aversion to Bob?
  14. Why does the narrator grow “small and hard” when she tells Bob, “This is what you can't have”? What does this experience lead her to think about her “sick, ailing heart”?
  15. Why do you think the narrator recalls this tenth-grade experience so vividly, many years later? How do you think this experience might afterward have affected her capacity to help others?
  16. Is the language of saving" appropriate? Do we all know now that it's not possible to save another or is that language still common?
  17. Was the narrator's attempt to “save” Bob a good deed?
  18. How do you know when your help is effective—is really for others and not yourself?
  19. Under what circumstances do we find ourselves like the narrator in the poem, growing “small and hard” when we do good deeds? How is it that doing good deeds can sometimes have this effect on us?
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