Climate Church, Climate World contends that climate change is the greatest moral challenge humanity has ever faced. Hunger, refugees, poverty, inequality, deadly viruses, war—climate change multiplies all forms of global social injustice. Environmental advocate Rev. Jim Antal calls on the church to meet this moral challenge, to embrace a new vocation so that future generations might live in harmony with God’s creation. Antal proposes how people of faith can embrace new approaches to worship, preaching, witnessing, and other spiritual practices that honor creation and cultivate hope. This revised and updated edition includes a new chapter on political and policy shifts under the Trump and Biden administrations; the influence of Greta Thunberg and climate change activists; and updated information on the current science of climate change.
Jim Antal is a denominational leader, activist, and public theologian. He serves as the national spokesperson on climate change for the United Church of Christ. Yale Divinity School recently honored Antal with the William Sloane Coffin Award for Peace and Justice, in recognition of his lifelong advocacy for nuclear disarmament, racial justice, Middle East Peace, and climate change activism.
By Bill McKibben
The Earth Is the Lord’s, Not Ours to Wreck: Imperatives for a New Moral Era
Questions for Group Discussion and Further Reflection
1 The Situation in Which We Find Ourselves
What Have We Done?
Taking Responsibility—The Anthropocene
How Long Have We Known?
Are We Paying Attention?
What’s at Stake? How Urgent Is the Crisis?
Are We Choosing Extinction?
We’re All In This Together
We Already Have Everything We Need
2 A Loving God for a Broken World
Finding God in a Broken World
Should We Try to Keep Our Hearts from Breaking?
Gratitude for a God of Love
How Do We Remain Faithful?
Julian Bond’s Testimony in Handcuffs
The Mine and the Snow Geese—A Story for Our Time
The Story of the Mine and the Snow Geese: A Postscript
Interlude: If We Fail to Heed Our Calling
A Letter from a Pastor to Her Congregation on the Occasion of the Closing of the Church on Ash Wednesday 2070
3 The Church’s Vocation Today
What’s Church For?
History’s Lessons for an Unprecedented Time
With God, There Are No Externalities
God Calls Communities, Not Just Individuals…We All Live at the Same Address
Our Covenant With God: For All Time—With All Creatures
Golden Rule 2.0
Our Children’s Trust
Confronting the End of Continuity
A Kairos Moment—Time for a Moral Intervention
4 The Marks of the Church in a Climate Crisis World
Our Role as Keepers of Continuity
Building Resilient Communities
It’s Not Just About Me: From Personal to Communal Salvation
Step 1: Confess Complicity; Step 2: Change the System
Embracing Spiritual Progress in Place of Material Progress
Sacrifice and Sharing as Guiding Virtues
Embracing Moral Interdependence
Global Warming Intensifies All Forms of Injustice
Confront the Powers and Principalities
Sharing Our Fears and Hopes: Empowering Action
Truth and Reconciliation Conversations in Every House of Worship
Civil Disobedience—the Church Acts on Its Conscience
A Repurposed Church for a New Moral Era
Affirming these Marks of the Church in a Covenant
5 Discipleship: Reorienting What We Prize
Resilience in Place of Growth
Collaboration in Place of Consumption
Wisdom in Place of Progress
Balance in Place of Addiction
Moderation in Place of Excess
Vision in Place of Convenience
Accountability in Place of Disregard
Self-Giving Love in Place of Self-Centered Fear
Civil Disobedience and Discipleship
6 Worship as a Pathway to Freedom
How Much Is Enough? Climate Talk in Church
The First Announcement at Every Church Service
Invite Weekly Testimonies
Transform Familiar Liturgies and Create New Ones
Organize and Host a Climate Revival
Worship that Includes All Creatures
Ordination Vows and New Life in the Anthropocene
If Earth Were a Sacrament, How Would We Treat It?
Taking Liturgy to the Street, the Pipeline, and the Tracks
7 Prophetic Preaching: Freeing the Pulpit from Fear
Called to Preach on Climate Change
Why Preaching on Climate Change Matters
The Church Was Born for This
Pastors Must Prepare Their Hearts
Cultivating Courage—“Be Not Afraid”
Offer Hope—We Are Called to Change the Story
The Theological Foundation for Preaching on Climate Change
Preaching on Climate Change— Ten Considerations
8 Witnessing Together: Communal Action Can Free Us from Fear
Not the Vocation I Started With
What Is Witnessing?
Making Civil Disobedience a Normative Expression of Christian Discipleship
Driven by Love and Gratitude with Fear as a Catalyst
Divestment: Revoking the Social License to Wreck Creation
A New Take on Fiduciary Accountability
A Global Commons—End the Ownership of Nature
Building the Kingdom of God: Society Based on “The Common Good”
9 Trump, Biden, Greta—Years of Upheaval, 2018-2022
Finally—A Climate Bill (by another name) Passes
What Made Congress Act on Climate?
Truth Forever on the Scaffold
A New Moral Era—Yes! But Which One?
Nature Cannot Be Deceived
Congregations Responding to Covid and Climate
We’re Paying More Attention to the Climate Crisis
The Green New Deal—Aspiration Amidst Upheaval
Youth Cannot Be Ignored
What’s a Climate Church?
Our Generation Has a Vocation—We’re ALL In This Together
10 Living Hope-Filled Lives in a Climate Crisis World
Not Optimism . . . But Hope
Facing Reality—A Precondition of Hope
Expressing Grief—A Precondition of Hope
Acknowledging the Existential Threat of Climate Change
The Conviction of Things Not Seeable
The Conviction of Things Not Seen—Telling a New Story of Hope
Living a New Story of Hope
Spiritual Practices for Cultivating Hope
Imagine: A Message to the Church—Presented by a Teenager in 2100
Preaching Suggestions for a Climate Crisis World
About the Author