Copenhagen climate change conference and environmental stewardship

A Christian view of environmentalism and climate change does not have to be anti-green; nor do we need to have unhealthy fear of big brother and government control.  The environment is not about us.  It is about God’s earth and God’s creation.  Therefore, as Christians, we should approach environmentalism from a theo-centric and biblical perspective.  From a biblical perspective of environmental stewardship, it is difficult not to be anthropocentric but the responsibility does rest on humankind because we are stewards, and not owners of God’s green earth. Scripture says:

“I am putting you in charge of the fish, the birds, and all the wild animals.” (Gen. 1:28, GNT).

“You appointed them rulers over everything you made; you placed them over all creation: sheep and cattle, and the wild animals too; the birds and the fish and the creatures in the seas.” (Psalm 8:6-8, GNT)

If we reject human stewardship over the earth, we are rejecting God’s charge of humans over God’s creation.  We are not owners but merely inhabitants and are allowed to share in God’s goodness of creation.

The Copenhagen U.N. Climate Change Conference 2009 is where climate change is now being discussed.  Some conservative environmental policy organizations claim that greenhouse gases are not having a negative effect on global warming.  Scientists say it does, while critics say it is unfounded. I have some reservations about the effects of greenhouse gases on global warming. At the same time, I also think that it could be a real possibility; however, like many people, I have reservations about the validity of scientific data.  The criticism from environmental groups are not all unfounded, though some are based on data that’s cooked-up (e.g., Al Gore).  So what we need is some real honesty and integrity of data from scientists.

President Barack Obama may have committed the United States to cut emissions beyond what realistically possible for U.S. industry.  It will undoubtedly hurt businesses and their ability to compete in the world.  But I wish all the best to American businesses.  This may look good for Obama’s political reputation abroad but it will hurt him at home.

Canada is America’s largest source of crude oil and it’s main source today is Canada’s Alberta Oil Sands Project. An oil pipeline is currently being built half-hour from where I live, which will run all the way to Chicago. Alberta’s oil sands only produces 5% of Canada’s current greenhouse gas emissions, and only emitted 1.7% of the world’s greenhouse gases (in 2005), but it bears the brunt of lashes from environmentalists. I would agree that the effects of greenhouse gases is difficult to measure because some of the indicators of greenhouse emissions are not all scientifically proven, but there are other environmental factors that can be measured so it doesn’t have to be tied to greenhouse gases.  We should also look at the air pollution and toxic emissions of cancer-causing polycyclic aromatic compounds (or PACs), emitted downstream into the Athabasca River near the oil sands (research paper released by the National Academy of Sciences-USA).  There is a noticable difference upstream vs downstream.  We can also pay attention to rising sea-levels, dying animals, sea creatures and plants. We still need to solve the problem of the receding Arctic icecap, the shrinking Rockies Glaciers, the disappearing salmon on the westcoast and the almost extinct cod in the eastern Maritime provinces.

Canada has a good reputation as a source of cleaner energy and has surged ahead of a lot of developed nations in some areas.  However, the oil sands project has put Canada in the doghouse at Copenhagen.  Businesses are doing the hard work of building solar arrays and wind farms and exporting clean energy to energy-hungry nations like the U.S.  Canada the “true north strong and free” is clearly an energy superpower, and it’s energy and environmental policies are quite different from the “land of the free and the brave” in many ways.  Canada’s energy consumption is probably no different from that of the U.S., but it’s clean-energy generation and energy efficiency has, and still is, improving against many industrialized nations like the China, and even the U.S.

It’s time to deal the facts and realities of what’s really happening around the world. China should not be let off the hook and should pay for the environmental degradation committed against its own land and against its own people. China should also pay full price for new environmental technology now being developed. Hey, they’re not poor and undeveloped anymore.

I don’t know if we can do much about the warming temperatures in Canada because that’s a worldwide problem that is not all of Canada’s responsibility so let’s not make Canada the scapegoat.  Canada is already trying to do a decent job in greening the environment in comparison to other developed nations.  I’m encouraged by Canada’s realistic effort to cut emissions by 20 percent from 2006 levels by 2020 — a modest and more realistic target.

How to approach apocalyptic text

I watch Left Behind recently.  Ever wonder how you should approach our preaching in a Christian culture that is dominated by Left Behind dispensational perspective? I have.

A conference back in 2005 sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary, explored these urgent questions. This is my future reading. There were a number of big names: Fee, Platinga, Block, Beale.  HT: Justin.

Blogging less these days

You may have noticed that I haven’t been around the blogosphere and interacting as much lately since my family came back from their trip overseas trip from Asia.  I’ve been quite busy, and will be busy from now until the new year (Advent, Christmas) so I won’t be posting as frequently. But I will still be reading your blogs on my google reader to try to keep up with everyone.

What if Prof. Bart Ehrman hadn’t gone to Princeton?

I was just reading a very interesting blog post on Parchment and Pen (HT: TC & Joel) posted by Daniel Wallace (a dispensationalist at Dallas Theological Seminary) where there’s an excellent exchange of ideas and views.  Wallace’s beef is with liberal theologians who regard themselves as open-minded but their behavior is less than open-minded when it comes to how they treat evangelical students. His statement is a little disheartening:

Many of the mainline liberal schools routinely reject applications to their doctoral programs from evangelical students who are more qualified than their liberal counterparts—solely because they’re evangelicals. And Dallas Seminary students especially have a tough time getting into primo institutes because of the stigma of coming from, yes, I’ll say it again—a dispensational school. One of my interns was earning his second master’s degree at a mainline school, even taking doctoral courses. He was head and shoulders above most of the doctoral students there. But when he applied for the PhD at the same school, he was rejected. His Dallas Seminary degree eliminated him.

This can be very infuriating to evangelicals. I agree, I think there is still a lot of prejudice at some or many liberal seminaries; and faculty do make it harder for evangelicals to get through a program at their seminaries. At the same time, there are many liberals who are not prejudiced against evangelicals. In fact, they like the evangelical perspective because it’s fresh and new to them. Evangelicals are able to hold to orthodox theology while being open to  a critical view of biblical scholarship; while some liberals seem to have lost all their theological bearings and thrown out the baby with the bathwater.

Think about Bart Ehrman for a minute. What if his application to Princeton Theo. Seminary was rejected?  Bart Ehrman was a hardcore evangelical who did his theological degree at Moody Bible Institute but later did his PhD at Princeton. Princeton was where his view of the bible changed 180 degrees. He no longer considers himself a Christian. That’s scary. I’ve always wondered what if Prof. Bart Ehrman hadn’t gone to Princeton?