God's Politics

God's Politics


Brian McLaren: Knee-Deep in a Swamp

posted by gp_intern

I took my day off yesterday and completed an annual pilgrimage of mine, a pilgrimage that began when I was a boy. I used to walk hand-in-hand with my dad to a pond near our home in upstate New York, and my dad would scoop out a mass of frog eggs with a big plastic bucket. Surrounded by the trills and calls of spring peepers, American toads, gray tree frogs, and leopard frogs, we’d bring home our prize and put in a goldfish bowl. In the coming weeks, we’d watch the eggs develop, hatch into tadpoles, and eventually, nourished by vegetable scraps and algae, they would metamorphose into little “froglets” and we’d let them go at the pond. I imagine that’s where my love for God’s creation began – and in large measure, my love for the God of creation, too.

So today I went down to a wetland in southern Maryland – one I’ve been visiting annually for about 20 years. I donned my hip waders and plunged into the jubilant outburst of spring. There weren’t any frog eggs yet – we’re about two or three warm days too early still. But there were a few spotted salamanders depositing their egg masses, and there was a veritable riot of toads trilling in the warmer shallows. As I watched the males ballooning out their chins and the females swimming between potential mates, I wondered if my grandchildren and their grandchildren will still be able to enjoy what, for me, are some of God’s coolest works of art. Amphibians are considered, after all, to be indicator species: when the environment is under stress, it’s often the amphibians that are the first to perish.

When a group of conservative religious leaders recently tried to stop the National Association of Evangelicals from addressing global warming in a serious and public way, they showed not only their lack of understanding of environmental science, but also of evangelicals. The tide has turned among many evangelicals, or perhaps we should say spring has come. Groups like A Rocha, Floresta, EEN, and Restoring Eden are mobilizing evangelicals to care for creation as never before, inspired by leaders like Cal DeWitt, Melanie Griffin of the Sierra Club, Matthew Sleeth, and many others. They know what the Dobson group doesn’t seem to know: Carelessness toward the environment represents an old kind of colonial, Industrial-age Christianity that is being left behind by younger evangelicals who are morphing into something new.

When I came home from my day in the wetland, I had an e-mail waiting that included a link to Restoring Eden’s response to the conservative religious leaders’ recent letter. Led by Peter Illyn, Restoring Eden is voicing a set of values that is attracting more and more people. A chorus of environmentally-committed voices is growing louder and louder among evangelicals every day – and among people of all faiths around the world. There’s no time to waste.

As the old hymn says, “This is our Father’s world.” Thank God for people who are speaking up on its behalf. Be sure to read the Restoring Eden statement.


Brian McLaren (brianmclaren.net) is an author, speaker, Red Letter Christian, and serves as board chair for Sojourners/Call to Renewal. His most recent book, The Secret Message of Jesus, just came out in paperback. Word is out that the book is ideal for study groups.



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HASH(0x116ee578)

posted March 26, 2007 at 8:17 pm


“Carelessness toward the environment represents an old kind of colonial, Industrial-age Christianity that is being left behind by younger evangelicals who are morphing into something new.” Caricatures of conservative evangelicals represent a new kind of colonialism.



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Anonymous

posted March 26, 2007 at 8:40 pm


It’s interesting that in a parallel universe yesterday Rev. Falwell also recalled the old hymn “This is my father’s world.” He followed that by saying, “of course we should pick up trash, but we shouldn’t hug a tree.” I believe there can be such a thing as self-caricature among various groups, even conservative evangelicals.



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kevin s.

posted March 26, 2007 at 9:05 pm


This is a growing a bit tedious.



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splinterlog

posted March 26, 2007 at 9:28 pm


If this place is getting too tedious or too colonial (that one made me laugh) then by all means please don’t feel the need to post here anymore.Brian – my closest friends are M.K.s from Indonesia and they’ve been tellign me that the effects of climate change on the human ecology there are already being felt. For eg. in the mountanous regions, mosquitoes are moving further and further up intto the highlands due to the warmer temperatures, in areas that people used to go to in the plast in order to escape the threat of malaria. They are seeing increased cases of malaria and related complications.The Dean of a local bible College recently told me that he has noticed a real change among students in the last 15 years. He said, back when he started, the students came in to get thei rBibel education and then go out to be pastors or missionaries. Today he says, their seeing crop of students who are more aware and who have broader profesisonal ambitions. They still train many pastoral and missional aspirants, but many also go on to work for groups like A Rocha.



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moderatelad

posted March 26, 2007 at 9:29 pm


A chorus of environmentally-committed voices is growing louder and louder among evangelicals every day… It has always been there, in the form of christians that enjoy a beer, time with friends, hunting and fishing in our ‘Father’s World’. If we had to relay on the groups that decry the environment everyday and blast others for not agreeing with them to save the environment – we would be in poor shape. Ducks Unlimited, Muskies Inc. and other groups like them have done more to secure wetlands and the ‘environment’ for generations to come then the Seria Club and organizations like them. The Seria Club has the ‘jaw-jacking’ down to a fine science – but really does little that really impacts the environment directly. Ducks Unlimited has purchased tens of thousands of acres of wetlands for our water foul to bread and live. Yes – this is My Father’s World – just not Father Al’s domain for him to dictate to us what needs to be done. Sorry Al – little too financially strapped to purchase those ‘credits’ that you talk about. Later – .



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Elmer Gantry

posted March 26, 2007 at 9:39 pm


” This is a growing a bit tedious.” As is your Republinazi prattle bub.



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justintime

posted March 26, 2007 at 9:48 pm


‘Moderate’lad: Ducks Unlimited, Muskies Inc. and other groups like them have done more to secure wetlands and the ‘environment’ for generations to come then the Seria Club and organizations like them. Prove it. While you’re at it, learn how to spell ‘Sierra’ and ‘fowl’. .



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Payshun

posted March 26, 2007 at 9:50 pm


At no point in time has Bryan even mentioned the Sierra Club or any other group. What I don’t understand is that Al and other leaders are pointing out a good thing. Something we will need to change to make this world better and all you all can do is bellyache about the poor way some conservative Christians are portrayed. Cmon now, since now of those Christians represent you, why do you Moderatelad, Kevin… care? p



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Payshun

posted March 26, 2007 at 9:51 pm


Correction: Cmon now, since none of those Christians represent you, why do you Moderatelad, Kevin… care? p



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Joy

posted March 26, 2007 at 10:48 pm


When my brothers and I were small my parents bought a set of hard covered, blue backed Bible story books. Even before I was old enough to read I would take them off the shelf and look at the pictures. What were my favorite pictures? The creation story and Noah’s ark. My mother would sometimes sit with me and read me the stories. She always pointed out the just as Adam and Eve were called to take care of the birds, animals and plants and Noah kept the animals safe during the flood we had a responsibility to God to do all we could to take care of and protect the earth. Maybe that’s why I grew up to be an environmentalist.



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Richard Benedick

posted March 26, 2007 at 11:09 pm


A global climate treaty must be implemented even if there is no scientific evidence to back up the greenhouse effect.



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Richard Benedick

posted March 26, 2007 at 11:13 pm


“We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we may have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.” – Stephen Schneider, Climatologist, Stanford University



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janet

posted March 26, 2007 at 11:16 pm


Thank you for your post. I just returned from a month in East Africa where weather and the environment are literally life and death for people. In the United States thinking about this is an option for me… I can’t say the same for my brothers and sisters in the Majority World. The book of Genesis teaches us that Adam and Eve were given the signifcant task of being stewards for God’s creation. I believe God is asking us to do this today as well. When we don’t care for God’s creation we are not bringing Glory to God or showing love to one another.



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Christian Beyer

posted March 27, 2007 at 12:52 am


(a conversation overheard at a local Starbucks)Hundreds of millions of people will soon perish in smog disasters in New York and Los Angeles…the oceans will die of DDT poisoning by 1979…the U.S. life expectancy will drop to 42 years by 1980 due to cancer epidemics. Paul Ehrlich,nearly shouting, spilled some of his Chai Latte down the front of his hideous green tie. “This is as good a way to get rid of them as any.” replied Charles Wursta, of the Environmental Defense Fund. He chuckled at his ready wit, bits of free range papaya scone clinging to his moist lips.”I suspect that eradicating small pox was wrong. It played an important part in balancing ecosystems, said John Davis from Earth First Journal. Knocking back his second triple shot of espresso, his eyes were bulging with excitement. “Human beings, as a species, have no more value than slugs.” Drops of perspiration fell onto his SawdustBran Muffin. Paul Watson, founder of Greenpeace, glancd up.”I got the impression that instead of going out to shoot birds, I should go out and shoot the kids who shoot birds.” He went back to burying his nose in a thumb worn paperback copy of “The Essential Ghandi”.”While the death of young men in war is unfortunate, it is no more serious than the touching of mountains and wilderness areas by humankind.” Dave Brower, his voice fading off into incoherence, brushed some of the crumbs from Wurt’s scone off of his Land’s End Khaki Jungle Jacket. As the founder of Friends of the Earth and former executive director of the Sierra Club he got a nice discount.Of course leave it to one of the world’s historically oppressed peoples to put her finger solidly on the source of all problems facing our planet. Capitalism is destroying the earth. Cuba is a wonderful country. What Castro’s done is superb. Unable to light up in Starbucks,Helen Caldicott frustratingly chewed up the blunt tip of her Cohiba. At that a thoughtful silence ensued, perhaps intruded by the soft and spicy rythyms of the “Free Chilean People’s Anarctic Salsa Combo” playing on the coffee shop’s stereo system.



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jerry

posted March 27, 2007 at 2:24 am


here we go again; who said that dobson isn’t concerned about the environment? who said that conservative evangelicals aren’t concerned about the environment? why can’t there be less intolerance for differing priorities? why can’t i think that saving unborn babies is more important than ethanol? why can’t i think that stoping genocide in darfur is more important than global warming theories?



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jerry

posted March 27, 2007 at 2:42 am


justintime, beyer, benedick, payshun, and all you other enlightened ones. please reread your comments. and be more tolerant. you have no solutions. you have nothing but yourselves. name calling, chest pounding critics. you offer nothing constructive for me to do. you march and comment and say but you will not let me join you. i don’t think that the people that can implement changes will follow your whining. would you like a little cheese with your whine?



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Don

posted March 27, 2007 at 2:45 am


Jerry wrote: “why can’t there be less intolerance for differing priorities?” That’s just the point, Jerry. Apparently, Dr. Dobson and his allies have little or no tolerance for other evangelicals with priorities that differ from *his.* I’m sure if Dobson had said to the NAE that he doesn’t feel God has called him to work in the environmental area, nobody would have been upset with him. But that’s not what he is saying. He apparently wants to control what other evangelicals are concerned about. He has called for the NAE to censor or remove Richard Cizik. He has criticized and ridiculed evangelicals with environmental consciouses for years. Who is being intolerant here, Jerry? Peace,



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Christian Beyer

posted March 27, 2007 at 2:49 am


The world comes to an end in 2012. Climate change is a plot by the Democrats to keep us from having fun with our SUV’s. Live it up while you can. Just make sure you say your prayers. .



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James Dobson

posted March 27, 2007 at 3:12 am


Jerry: why can’t i think that saving unborn babies is more important than ethanol? why can’t i think that stoping genocide in darfur is more important than global warming theories? If you can’t decide what’s the most important concern to have, Jerry, don’t do anything. It’s better than doing the wrong thing. Just send a donation to Focus on the Family. We have solutions to the world’s problems. Trust us. .



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squeaky

posted March 27, 2007 at 3:27 am


Jerry– “who said that dobson isn’t concerned about the environment? who said that conservative evangelicals aren’t concerned about the environment? why can’t there be less intolerance for differing priorities? why can’t i think that saving unborn babies is more important than ethanol? why can’t i think that stoping genocide in darfur is more important than global warming theories?” Umm–Don addresses the first question quite nicely. It’s Dobson’s own words that lead us to that conclusion. I have actually heard him say that environmentalists are trying to destroy capitalism, which, of course, is a tactic that demonizes environmentalists and completely ignores their ACTUAL aims and concerns, and also leads me to wonder who his God truly is? Certainly there can be tolerance for different priorities. I’m pro-life and passionate about that as well. I’m very concerned about the issues in Darfur. I also think that many of these issues are connected. For example, as was blogged about a few weeks ago, the issues of world poverty and global warming are very much interrelated. As for Darfur, oil is a big part of that problem…and many scientists think the evidence shows that burning oil is a major cause of global warming. See the connection? Think in terms of the bigger pictures–as my undergraduate advisor liked to say, “Everything is ultimately connected out there.”



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squeaky

posted March 27, 2007 at 3:31 am


Christian Beyer–nice. I love it when people look at complex issues in terms of extreme positions that no one actually takes. It’s just so much easier to see things in terms of black and white, us vs. them then it is to actually try to understand the issue from all sides. However, it is far more fun and gratifying to do the other.



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Payshun

posted March 27, 2007 at 3:46 am


Jerry, Important question time.Why do you have to choose which one to work on? Why can’t you work on all of it? p



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moderatelad

posted March 27, 2007 at 4:04 am


justintime | 03.26.07 – 3:53 pm | #Google it.As for spelling – I am a product of public education where some ^&*( in their infinate wisdom made the decision to drop phonics and use sight words instead.Later – .



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moderatelad

posted March 27, 2007 at 4:35 am


James Dobson | 03.26.07 – 9:17 pm | #this is really in poor taste – but then again if someone can put it together for us so that we can understand ‘God’s Politics’, I guess someone can impersonate Dobson. Later – .



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Christian Beyer

posted March 27, 2007 at 4:36 am


The world comes to an end in 2012. Climate change is a plot by the Democrats to keep us from having fun with our SUV’s. Live it up while you can. Just make sure you say your prayers.” Hey, for the record, someone forged my name to this one. Besides, it’s not even funny.



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Christian Beyer

posted March 27, 2007 at 4:42 am


Jerry said…“be more tolerant. you have no solutions. you have nothing but yourselves. name calling, chest pounding critics. you offer nothing constructive for me to do. you march and comment and say but you will not let me join you. i don’t think that the people that can implement changes will follow your whining. would you like a little cheese with your whine?” Well,now if that ain’t a case of the pot callin’ the kettle black, well then I don’t know what is.As far as the ‘whine’ goes, I think I’ll pass on whatever it is you’re having. :(



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Christian Beyer

posted March 27, 2007 at 4:55 am


Thank you, Squeaky. (Unless you were being sarcastic then may a pox be on your land!) As you guys probably know, in that ‘coffee shop’ spoof, those were all pretty much direct quotes from the envrironmentalists cited. Now, I like most of those guys (particularly David Brower) but none of those remarks are even remotely defensible. Except perhaps as exaggerated bombast, near hysterical rhetoric used to get an important point across. Of course, those remarks probably didn’t win many converts to their cause. Pretty much what Dobson is doing. If you took the time to buy him (or one his cohorts) a cup of coffee (or cappucino) you both might find that there is more commonality among you than you had thought.



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kevin s.

posted March 27, 2007 at 6:33 am


“Christian Beyer–nice. I love it when people look at complex issues in terms of extreme positions that no one actually takes” I love it when certain members (any perceptive person can figure out who) post under other people’s names. It totally rocks, and I am very impressed when people take those phony comments at face value.



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Patrick Fitzgerald

posted March 27, 2007 at 6:40 am


Christian: As you guys probably know, in that ‘coffee shop’ spoof, those were all pretty much direct quotes from the environmentalists cited. Christian, we have reason to doubt those were direct quotes from the cited environmentalists, as you claim them to be. Where did you first hear these statements? Was it from the environmentalists themselves? Or did you first hear this as a joke from Rush Limbaugh? Sean Hannity? Bill O’Reilly? Ann Coulter? OK, you made it up yourself. Remember, you’re under oath. .



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Christian Beyer

posted March 27, 2007 at 2:34 pm


You have me dead to rights, Patrick. I must confess. I got those quotes from a back issues of the New American that someone gave me at a recent JBS meeting. (Should I put a smiley here?) I am confused and my brain hurts. I don’t know who’s side I am on anymore. Was squeaky busting my chops? And Kevin, is he being sarcastic or does he mean what he is saying? The voices in my head are getting louder and louder….There is so little time left.



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Christian Beyer

posted March 27, 2007 at 3:58 pm


The reprehensible remarks that I attributed to some prominent environmental leaders in an earlier comment are all actual quotes. They can easily be found by Googling them. I think it is important to look at the intentions and philosophies of some of the people that we may ally ourselves with in any attempt to help protect the planet. Although they may share our love for the Earth, many of their motivations and goals could be considered directly at odds with Jesus kingdom agenda.In the noble pursuit of environmental protection much compromise appears to be necessary. It sometimes looks as those who would criticize the reactionary stance of someone such as Barry Goldwater would have no hesitation in adopting his strategic philosophy; I would remind you that extremism in the defense of the planet is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of climate stability is no virtue! We may find these alliances to be expedient, but we run the danger of losing sight of Jesus as we get embroiled with these causes. Although she may not be well known, this lady put it much better than I ever could;Does this mean that Christians should have nothing to do with conservation? Not at all. But I think we’re doing ourselves a disservice if we think we can ever have more than an uneasy and temporary alliance with groups who see no transcendent value to human life, and who therefore speak quite openly about our ‘duty’ to eliminate most of the human presence on this planet. The difference between a Christian conservationist and an environmentalist can be summed up in this way: the first wishes to conserve and protect the natural resources of the planet for the sake of future generations, while the second wishes to eliminate future generations for the sake of the planet. – Erin Manning (as quoted by Rod Dreher on Beliefnet, March 5, 2007)



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Don

posted March 27, 2007 at 6:40 pm


“The reprehensible remarks that I attributed to some prominent environmental leaders in an earlier comment are all actual quotes. They can easily be found by Googling them.” Well, I’m skeptical. I’m certainly not trying to be an apologist for the radical environmental movement, and I fully agree with Christian that elements of non- Christian philosophy have infiltrated it–I’ve experienced elements of that myself. And I’m not saying that these individuals didn’t actually say these outrageous things. Perhaps they did. Nevertheless, I would need more proof than what I have so far seen offered on the Internet. I Googled some, though not all, of these quotes, and found mostly sites that are affiliated with radical-right organizations, which are using these quotes to dismiss the environmental movement out of hand. In particular, I saw no references regarding when and where the statements were made, and/or what publications they appeared in. Anyone using these quotes to build a serious argument would want to provide at least that much information. My verdict: insufficient evidence. Later,



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neuro_nurse

posted March 27, 2007 at 6:45 pm


“The voices in my head are getting louder and louder….” There are drugs that will take care of that.



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neuro_nurse

posted March 27, 2007 at 6:51 pm


“I saw no references regarding when and where the statements were made, and/or what publications they appeared in.” True, you need to cite your source. It is lame to post something controversial and when asked for the source to respond by instructing us to “Google it.”



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squeaky

posted March 27, 2007 at 6:53 pm


Umm…Christian Beyer–I think perhaps you are constructing a strawman. I think very few environmentalists fall into such an extreme picture as you paint, and thus painting all environmentalists with a broad brush detracts from the argument about the Christian’s role in stewardship of God’s creation. And certainly, Christians have no need to align themselves with any secular environmentalists whatsoever to see we are ruining God’s creation and need to be more active in our stewardship since it affects all of us and the next generations as well. Secularists could pull the same punches towards pro-life Christians by quoting the words of those extremists who have blown up abortion clinics in the name of the Lord. So let’s cut out all the politics and uninformed stereotyping and focus on what our role in creation care is as Christian’s.



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google schmoogle

posted March 27, 2007 at 7:34 pm


Christian Beyer and Moderatelad undermine their own credibility by using unsourced statements and quotations in their attempts to discredit environmental leaders and obfuscate environmental issues. If they expect to be taken seriously in the future they should post links to their sources. But the best way for them to restore their damaged credibility on this board would be to offer some constructive proposals for improving the health of our environment. Faith based science will get you nowhere in this debate. .



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Christian Beyer

posted March 27, 2007 at 8:05 pm


Christian Beyer and Moderatelad undermine their own credibility by using unsourced statements and quotations in their attempts to discredit environmental leaders and obfuscate environmental issues.” C’mon. Don’t like your own medicine? How many times have I read phrases like “99% of all scientists” or “every major accredited scientific establishment” agree or that it is an “established fact that global warming is a reality” without any footnotes or citations. (for the record I got the quotes from Zooinfo -perhaps not as credible as CBS but probably less partisan) “Secularists could pull the same punches towards pro-life Christians by quoting the words of those extremists who have blown up abortion clinics in the name of the Lord.” Not just secularists either, Squeaky. That’s what many on this website (and others) are doing over this whole Right-church / Left-church debate. Besides, the folks I quote are not considered extremist any longer. I don’t paint a picture of those folks, they paint that picture themselves. I have read David Brower and some of the others. I am a great fan of Edward Abbee. Misanthropy in the guise of ecology. I am not suggesting that the environmental movement be dismissed out of hand or at all. Believe it or not at one point I considered myself to be an environmentalist, even to the extreme. (I am ashamed to say in my youth that I even threw s few monkey wrenches into the works). We just need to be more calm, deliberate and thoughtful in our arguing and in the process be more persuasive. People’s lives and livelihoods are at stake (or at least they believe them to be) and the language that is being used seems to be inconsiderate of this fact. Since you like quotes I’ll leave you with another one that helps to understand where I, as a Christian, stand on this issue:The environmental movement I helped found has lost its objectivity, morality and humanity. The pain and suffering it is inflicting on families in developing countries must no longer be tolerated. Patrick Moore, Greenpeace co-founder



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Carl Copas

posted March 27, 2007 at 9:43 pm


Have been absent for several days. Nice to see the place is as insane as ever. LOL



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squeaky

posted March 27, 2007 at 9:49 pm


Who said I like quotes? It’s easy to throw stones. Lobbing verbal grenades at one another and pointing out the flaws of each other’s stances does nothing to address the question of what should a Christian’s role in stewardship of God’s creation look like. You are sidestepping the question. We all need to let go of our political agendas and answer that question. That’s where the discussion starts. It gets nowhere if everyone just points fingers at each other or makes political jabs at each other.



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moderatelad

posted March 27, 2007 at 9:51 pm


google schmoogle | 03.27.07 – 1:39 pm | #“Christian Beyer and Moderatelad undermine their own credibility by using unsourced statements and quotations in their attempts to discredit environmental leaders and obfuscate environmental issues.” Please – many on the other side of the issue just guote St Al and believe that the discussion is over. One of the biggest arguments in with Global Warming ($%^* keep forgetting it is now climate change – nice out if warming doesn’t pan-out) is that they plan out the future of the planet and what is going to happen. But when you use the same logic – info. and play it back (historical) it does not work. This benchmark has been used for other theories in science and has worked. Al needs to be cannonized and then set on the dashboard or shelf like other forgotten saints. Later – .



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Bookworm

posted March 27, 2007 at 9:58 pm


In Apocalypse, a study of Christian fundamentalism based on extensive interviews over a five year period with members of apocalyptic communities Charles Strozier identifies four basic beliefs as fundamental to Christian fundamentalism.(1) Inerrancy or biblical literalism, the belief that every word of the Bible is to be taken literally as the word of God;(2) conversion or the experience of being reborn in Christ;(3) evangelicalism or the duty of the saved to spread the gospel;(4) Apocalypticism or Endism, the belief that The Book of Revelations describes the events that must come to pass for God’s plan to be fulfilled. A few quick questions: 1. Is Crozier’s characterization of fundamentalist evangelicals accurate?2. Since fundies believe the world will all come to an end sooner or later, do they think it’s not very important to save the environment? 3. And is this why Christian Beyer seems more interested in discrediting environmental leaders than working to improve the health of the environment? .



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Christian Beyer

posted March 27, 2007 at 10:21 pm


We all need to let go of our political agendas and answer that question.”Squeaky, I agree with your prescription completely.Why is it that you can’t see that? Apparently I have given the impression that I have a political ax to grind. Is it because I (along with some others) are taking some of our beloved icons to task, and holding them to the same standard they profess to hold others too? Instead of telling others that they are wrong headed (Dobson busts Czik, McLaren busts Dobson, etc etc – a perpetual game of politico-religiious tag) we need to SIT DOWN AND TALK TO THEM. I have said it before, our first and formost focus as Christians should be on Jesus. As disciples we need to invite his authority and expertise into everything we do, from the mundane to the mighty. If we take on the mind of Christ, the rest will work out. Discipleship building is the key to all the world’s problems. His call was to win victories through surrender, not through browbeating people. (again, we are all guilty of this)Global warming may be a fact – it may not. Not everyone (or even the majority) agree on what it is and what needs to be done. Neither side is wise to try and ram their point of view down another’s throat.I pray to God that it is only a natural cycle but if it is real then we will need cool heads to make rational, realistic decisons. If it is only a cycle, then I pray that we don’t do anything that we may regret later. In spite of the sad, sorry state of this planet, we have been making progress along many environmental lines, long before we ever heard of this threat. (BTW – if I was a drone of the ‘religious right’ as some have suggested, why would I subscribe to Sojourners? Why would I attend McLaren’s home church? (hardly conservative). Why would I belong to an organization that promotes Fair Trade? I’ve read just about everything that McLaren and Wallis have written and I love them. They have been very important influences on my journey. I just think that in this particular instance, in the way that they are reacting to and treating their adversaries, they, along with many of their followers, are off the path.)



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Christian Beyer

posted March 27, 2007 at 10:46 pm


I published that last comment before I read Bookworm’s.Bookworm, I used to be a fundamentalist – at least I thought I was. I was definitely a legalist. After running away from that camp I found that I was still a legalist in that now I was judging my former fundamentalist friends by my standards of what a Christian should be,not Jesus’. Legalism has as its basis hypocrisy, for the legalist always knows that he must compromise his standards somewhere, even the zealot. That’s what Jesus was saying to the Pharisees when they busted his chops for healing the sick on the Sabbath. He knew that even the self-righteous Pharisee would pull his own drowning donkey out of a well on the Sabbath. Meanwhile he cared little for the individual who was suffering, so blinded was he by his self-righteousness. So legalism is grounded in hyporcrisy, and I sense a creeping legalism here in the ‘emerging’, ‘liberal’, ‘post-modern’ what have you church. We object to the rigid and intolerant standards of the fundamentalist and the religious right, yet we create our own rigid entrance standards and new doctrines of faith. What are you doing to improve the health of the environment, Bookworm? I don’t mean to single you out, but you brought it up. Is it through campaigns,is it through votes? Political action groups? Lobbies? Or is it in the daily choices we make at the grocery store, gas station, airline counter and car dealer? Where do you live, Bookworm? Is it in a modest inner city apartment, the most space efficient, energy efficient and resource efficient dwelling? Or can you afford a nice ‘eco friendly’ solar powered home? Do you let the water run while you shave or brush your teeth? Do you drive a Prius? I can’t afford one myself, and besides it is merely another status symbol(you’d do better with a Civic). I like this version Matthew 7 from the message:“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor. Peace.



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squeaky

posted March 27, 2007 at 10:51 pm


Moderatelad– I’m tired of this “St Al” business. I am sorry that he took on the cause of Global Warming because now everyone sees it as a political issue even more than they did before. He is not a scientist, nor is he the person saying the climate is changing. SCIENTISTS are saying that, and specifically CLIMATE scientists. You don’t like Al, fine. Now take the time to study what scientists are saying. Argue with THEM, not with Al.



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squeaky

posted March 27, 2007 at 10:59 pm


Christian Beyer–your last two posts make perfect sense, and I agree. However, you ask this: “I agree with your prescription completely. Why is it that you can’t see that?” The reason it is (was) hard to see that is your “Starbuck’s” post. I don’t think that post jives with your last two posts even a little. Unless it was someone else posting under your name, as Kevin S. suggested…



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moderatelad

posted March 27, 2007 at 11:30 pm


squeaky | 03.27.07 – 4:56 pm | #Al has put himself into the public as the ‘expert’ on the topic so but I am not to take issues with what he says.poor logic. He is the one that made it political. He is the one that wants us to purchase ‘energy indulgences’ for whatever reason and who knows where the money will be going to? He is the one that wants me to reduce my use of energy while he consumes enormous amounts.Not adding up in my book – more like the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ premise. Later – .



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squeaky

posted March 28, 2007 at 12:17 am


Moderatelad–fine. Ignore Gore, then (nice rhyme, eh). What do the scientists say? How do you respond to that? Get out of the political arena and take the time to learn the science. Again, it gets back to the question of what is the Christian’s responsibility when it comes to stewardship of God’s creation? Ignore, for a moment, politics, money, feelings about Al Gore, feelings about environmentalist, or whatever, and address that specific issue.



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Carl Copas

posted March 28, 2007 at 1:37 am


It seems to me that much of the criticism of Gore is the old game of shooting the messenger because some don’t like the message. Focus on the messenger allows folks to ignore the message, or to denigrate it.



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bookworm

posted March 28, 2007 at 1:44 am


Christian Beyer, We live 6 miles away from the nearest small town in a 900 sf depression era bungalow. We also have an office/shop/studio building, a tool shed, a Honda Civic and a Toyota pickupWhen we first moved here 35 years ago we dug a new well, cleared the brush and planted an orchard / arboretum. We’ve raised 3 kids here. I’m a self employed architect and can do my business communications over the telephone, fax and internet. Before I moved my office out here, I was commuting 50 miles one way. Now I try to stay out of automobiles as much as possible. We grow our own food, heat our buildings from a sustainable woodlot and recycle everything. Saving the environment can enter into every decision you make when you consume the wealth of God’s creation. Keep it simple. Do you think Apocalyptic Fundamental Christians are likely to get interested in the environmental movement? The creationist fundies don’t believe in science. They’ve already made up their minds. Even though there is now overwhelming evidence that man is causing global warming, they refuse to accept the evidence. They argue with you and won’t do anything. Al Gore is trying to tell them the truth but they won’t listen. .



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squeaky

posted March 28, 2007 at 1:49 am


There is no one so blind as the one who refuses to see. Why is that? Most people who refuse to see, or even look when people say “hey, look at the evidence” know that if they see and understand, they then are required to act. And acting moves into realms we aren’t comfortable with, particularly if it requires us to sacrifice.



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Christian Beyer

posted March 28, 2007 at 3:30 am


I guess the Starbuck’s post was a little provocative. The point I was trying to make is the point that you later made yourself, Squeaky. Much of the furor over our adversary’s rhetoric can also be directed back towards ourselves. I believe those people made those remarks. I think that people sitting around Starbuck’s as well as McDonald’s are making similar, shoot from the hip, ill considered statements. What Dobson (or Wallis) say in the heat of battle does not always reflect their actual point of view. Exaggeration and hyperbole. Bookworm, your lifestyle says that you are serious about your convictions. It sounds like the life I would like to live -if I could afford it. Most people (I am not referring to myself here) don’t have the options that you have had, forced to struggle just to make ends meet. They need to shop at Wal-Mart because they can’t afford to shop anywhere else. They can’t afford to buy Fair Trade coffee or clothes made in the USAmerica. They are forced to drive old Chevy’s that have poor spark and a caked catalytic converter. And if it wasn’t for relatively cheap electric air conditioning they would be miserable during the summer in our sweltering urban centers. As far as fundamentalism goes, it’s not their lack of scientific understanding or their closed minds that is the problem. It is their misunderstanding of the Gospel that is at the heart of the issue. And that same misunderstanding of the Gospel can effect people on many different levels of the church. The gospel is about tolerance, acceptance and forgiveness.You speak poorly about them when you (and others) bring attention to their disagreements with you: “Even though there is now overwhelming evidence that man is causing global warming, they refuse to accept the evidence. They argue with you and won’t do anything.”There is no one so blind as the one who refuses to see.” And yet I do not accept ‘global warming’ as fact. You do not know me. Would you automatically consider me to be uneducated,selfish, close minded or indoctrinated? I don’t agree with you but I do try to respect your point of view. (Sorry for the Starbuck’s post. I thought it was kinda clever) A dios.



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Don

posted March 28, 2007 at 3:37 am


“[I] keep forgetting it is now climate change – nice out if warming doesn’t pan-out” Once again, apparently, we need to be reminded that “climate change” is NOT a fudge phrase. It’s NOT a “nice out if warming doesn’t pan out.” It’s simply a more accurate term for describing what is really happening as the *atmosphere* is getting warmer. (Of that there is no doubt. Some want to question whether this atmospheric warming is human-generated. Most *climate* scientists don’t question that any more.) Scientists prefer the term “climate change” because the earth’s climate–which is a very complex system made up of interdependent and interlocking systems–is changing and will continue to change as a result of atmospheric warming. But these changes don’t result in an equal amount of warming everywhere. For example, the polar regions are warming much faster than the mid-latitude regions. The lowland tropics have warmed even less, but higher altitudes in tropical regions have warmed faster. Atmospheric warming will result in more extreme weather patterns–longer heat waves and droughts, for example, though some places will become wetter. And if the atmospheric warming shuts down warm ocean currents–a real possibility–regions that are warmed by these currents will actually become colder. The most familiar example of that would be western Europe. If the Gulf Stream shuts down, Europe’s climate will more closely resemble Labrador’s. In short, global atmospheric warming is resulting in and will continue to result in climate changes. This isn’t a semantic game. Peace,



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moderatelad

posted March 28, 2007 at 3:07 pm


squeaky | 03.27.07 – 6:22 pm | #OK – no Al in this post. For every item or issue that they point to about ‘this is evidence of global warming’. You can find the oppsite somewhere else in the world. ie. this animal is in decline because of GW. but in the same area or somewhere in the world another creature is on the rise population wise. IF it were that GW was causing harm to our wildlife – shouldn’t all creatures be in decline or at least stabel in the numbers? When you play a computer program out into the future to predict. Playing it backward into history should match was has happened historically. It dose not. There is no computer evidence that what ‘he who shall not be named’ (cute eh) talks about is going to happen – has any root in what has happened.As I have said before. I drive cars/van that are effecient. My home is modest and a gathering place for family and friends. I love to garden and walk in God Creation. I plant trees all over the place so that we keep adding to the beauty of God’s Creation. I support the development of alternative fuels by encouraging people to see what we can do to make our planet a better place. Not by attacking the compainies that are involved so that we put people jobs and lives at risk.The purchasing of ‘fuel vouchers’ or whatever they are called. Where is the money going to go to and who will administrate it? Didn’t the Catholic church get in trouble for something simular? How are the poorest in our country going to do this- it is really going to hurt them more than we know.Later – .



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bookworm

posted March 28, 2007 at 3:38 pm


Beyer, ‘It is their (fundamentalists) misunderstanding of the Gospel that is at the heart of the issue.’ In what way do fundies misunderstand the gospel? Beyer ‘And yet I do not accept ‘global warming’ as fact. You do not know me. Would you automatically consider me to be uneducated,selfish, close minded or indoctrinated?’ Possibly all of the above, but probably you’re just not curious enough and too lazy to find out the truth for yourself. .



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Don

posted March 28, 2007 at 3:52 pm


“ie. this animal is in decline because of GW. but in the same area or somewhere in the world another creature is on the rise population wise.” Well, moderatelad, this is entirely to be expected from world climate change. A moderation of climate in a colder area will encourage animals from farther south to migrate and flourish–as is happening here in Ohio, by the way, as southern species are migrating farther north. At the same time, species that depend on colder weather are in decline in the same areas–we’re seeing that with polar bears in the arctic regions. Climate change that harms some organisims will benefit others. That’s only to be expected. It certainly doesn’t disprove climate change theory; in fact, it confirms it. Some of the things that “he who shall not be named” has said have indeed happened and are happening now. Sorry to burst your bubble. Remember, “he” is not a scientist, but he does read what scientists are saying and predicting. In fact, things scientists six years ago said would be happening in the next 20-30 years are beginning to happen *now,* in some cases at an alarming rate. So the rate of change is accelerating from what was predicted only a few years ago. There’s no way out of this, moderatelad, except by cotinuing to deny it. The head-in-the-sand approach only works for a while, though. Later,



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Christian Beyer

posted March 28, 2007 at 4:27 pm


Bookworm, why is it that you insist upon taking this argument personally?You know nothing about me at all, yet because I dare to disagree with you I am “just not curious enough and too lazy to find out the truth for myself”. Who is close minded here? I detect an air of smug superiority, an elitism that is unfortunately present among those who feel that they hold the moral high ground. I think that fundamentalists may misunderstand the Gospel in precisely the same way that you apparently do.



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bookworm

posted March 28, 2007 at 5:19 pm


Nothing personal, Christian. But global warming and the resulting climate change are facts. Facts have nothing to do with smug superiority, elitism, personal preference or moral high ground. You don’t get to choose your own facts. Facts are facts. If you want to get to the bottom of this issue and find out the facts, you will have to approach it with an open mind and educate yourself. This requires a degree of intellectual curiousity and persistence. But the truth is right out there in plain sight. You have to want to know the truth. I suspect you aren’t that interested in knowing the truth about global warming. And from your position of ignorance, you discredit with snide humor those who have gone to the trouble of educating themselves about global warming. Do you think you’re superior to them? .



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moderatelad

posted March 28, 2007 at 5:35 pm


Don | 03.28.07 – 9:57 am | # 3 There’s no way out of this… really? GW is still a theory and what is happening now may have happened in the past in one form or another.The computer forcasting that ‘he who shall not be named’ has talked about so many times. The forcasting in order to be taken seriously should be able to be played backward and match up with what has happened historically. This is something that has been done to prove or disprove a theory. GW does not play backward so it puts the forcasting in doubt.Fuel Indulgences – please. Who thought of that one and why?Too many red flags on GW theory. I really like that they are talk more ‘climate change’ as that gives them an out when GW does not pan-out the way the preach about it. They can say that it is still climate change that ‘they’ are concrened about. “Stay Home with Sojo” Later – .



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bookworm

posted March 28, 2007 at 5:45 pm


Moderatelad is also in denial about the reality of global warming. Global warming was a theory 15 years ago. But now there is ample evidence to place global warming into the category of facts. The glaciers are melting. The oceans are rising. And you’re all wet. Educate yourself, moderatelad. .



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moderatelad

posted March 28, 2007 at 7:01 pm


bookworm | 03.28.07 – 11:50 am | #I am educating myself and there are just too many red flags for me to wholesale buy into the Gore Garp. They have not eliminated the fact that there could be other reasons for these happenings around the earth. Look at Japanese Art over the centuries – Fuji has had its snow cap change all the time – and it took years for it to happen. Oceans rising – Florida is going to flood. Then why are they experiencing so many sink holes that are a product of lack of water? Yes the glaciers are ‘receding’, but the polar caps are getting thicker. So rather than being large and flat – could they be getting smaller but thicker? Same amount of ice/water…just distributed differently. Someone wrote an article on this site about the Greenland icecap receding at a rate of a football field a day. That is an average of 2 miles a month along the edge of the cap. Satellite pictures do not support this claim.Just because I have not developed the bobble-head affirmative nod when St Al talks does not I am not listening or educating myself. (please remember – AL is the father of the internet…) There are other theories out there that address why things are happening and have evidence to back them up.Stay Home with Sojo Later – .



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Don

posted March 28, 2007 at 7:15 pm


“I really like that they are talk [sic] more ‘climate change’ as that gives them an out when GW does not pan-out the way the preach about it. They can say that it is still climate change that ‘they’ are concrened about.” I really like that I can write a detailed explanation of why scientists prefer to use the phrase “climate change,” and at the same time refute the totally unfounded notion that it’s some kind of verbal slight of hand, and moderatelad can repeat his absurd statement as if I had written nothing at all. Moderatelad, please re-read (or read for the first time) my post from 03.27.07 – 9:42 pm. Later,



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bookworm

posted March 28, 2007 at 7:22 pm


Moderatelad, With all due respect, you’ve allowed your God-given reasoning power to become confused by faith based scientists putting out specious arguments at odds with the latest data. You sound just like a creationist, trying to convince me that God created the earth in seven days, 6,000 years ago. I suggest you get to the bottom of the global warming issue and come back here with the best scientific evidence you can find, one way or the other. Google it! .



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Don

posted March 28, 2007 at 7:42 pm


“GW is still a theory…” Yeah, yeah, yeah… Evolution’s a theory, too. So is gravitation. Scientists don’t mean the same thing by ‘theory’ that English speakers normally mean. What we think of as a theory is known in science as an untested hypothesis. A theory in science is a description of a natural process that is supported by relies on extensive known evidence and well-documented facts. Theories can in principle be overturned if new evidence is presented that casts doubt upon the description. But that new evidence has to pass the rigorous evidence test known as the scientific method. I’ve written extensively on this methodology in earlier threads (you can find them in the original God’s Politics discussions of the Dobson letter to the NAE), so I won’t repeat myself here. The theory that current global atmospheric warming, and the global climate changes that are resulting from this warming, are being caused primarily by human activity has been developed over the last several decades of research, observation, investigation, and modeling. In recent years, the foundation of the theory has been strengthened as more and more evidence falls into place supporting the theory. You may question the human-generated aspect if you wish, though if you do so, you should back up your arguments with scientifically-verifiable facts, if you can find them. I repeat, the head-in-the-sand approach will only ‘work’ for a while.If you continue doing that, be my guest, but beware of the tides. Later,



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Aaron

posted March 28, 2007 at 8:12 pm


I am educating myself and there are just too many red flags for me to wholesale buy into the Gore Garp. They have not eliminated the fact that there could be other reasons for these happenings around the earth. Look at Japanese Art over the centuries – Fuji has had its snow cap change all the time – and it took years for it to happen. Oceans rising – Florida is going to flood. Then why are they experiencing so many sink holes that are a product of lack of water? Yes the glaciers are ‘receding’, but the polar caps are getting thicker. So rather than being large and flat – could they be getting smaller but thicker? Same amount of ice/water…just distributed differently. Someone wrote an article on this site about the Greenland icecap receding at a rate of a football field a day. That is an average of 2 miles a month along the edge of the cap. Satellite pictures do not support this claim. So many things wrong, so little time.



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Christian Beyer

posted March 28, 2007 at 8:20 pm


you discredit with snide humor those who have gone to the trouble of educating themselves about global warming.” Hey, Bookworm. Lighten up a little bit. You remind me of Bush when Colbert did the White House Correpsondent’s Dinner. It was a joke (although I didn’t put the words in their mouths).”Do you think you’re superior to them?” I am superior to no one. To disagree with someone is not to present an atitude of superiority. To dismiss what they have to say without hearing them out, to trivialize their intentions, to personally insult someone’s intelligience merely because they disagree with you does indicate a sense of arrogance and superiority. And it is demeaning to all concerned. “I repeat, the head-in-the-sand approach will only ‘work’ for a while.” Folklore has it that the ostrich has been reputed to hide his head in the sand at the first sign of danger. I don’t think moderalated is the one displaying unnecessary panicky reactions. Perhaps to turn it around, everytime nature throws us a curve ball it does not mean that the sky is falling. But whether or not GW is legit or not is not my concern. It is how those who have accepted the theory as fact are treating those who disagree with them.BTW, what do you prefer; Novacaine or Nitrous Oxide? I feel like I’m pulling teeth here. :)



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neuro_nurse

posted March 28, 2007 at 8:28 pm


Don You are correct in saying “scientists don’t mean the same thing by ‘theory’ that English speakers normally mean.” Please allow me to introduce some definitions that might clarify the meaning of the word theory. Steadman’s Medical Dictionary defines theory as, a reasoned explanation of known facts or phenomena that serves as a basis of investigation by which to seek the truth. See also hypothesis, postulate.Webster s: the analysis of a set of facts in there relation to one another; a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principles or body of principles offered to explain phenomena.In other words, a theory is an explanation of a phenomenon something that is observable, a fact. Global warming in not a theory, it is a fact, and there are theories to explain how and why it is occurring. Scientific investigation begins with a hypothesis, a postulated explanation for a phenomenon. The hypothesis is expressed in mathematical terms and is tested. The result of hypothesis testing yields a probability that the hypothesis is correct. The hypothesis and the theory may be incorrect, but the phenomenon remains a fact. The phrase, just a theory is a colloquialism which has absolutely no relationship to science. Peace!



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bookworm

posted March 28, 2007 at 9:11 pm


Christian:’But whether or not GW is legit or not is not my concern. It is how those who have accepted the theory as fact are treating those who disagree with them.’ Christian, like a little child, has everyone sidetracked into feeling sorry for those whose feelings have been hurt because their denial of global warming is not respected.Don’t take it personally, Christian. It’s just a fact – climate change is happening now and is a real threat to human society around the world. So let’s say that you were to do your due diligence and discover scientific evidence behind the fact that the climate is changing and is a threat to human society…. What do you think humans should do about it, if anything? .



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moderatelad

posted March 28, 2007 at 9:45 pm


OK – going over some of the transcripts of the senate hearing with Al. Here are a few of the things that he did not refute or address when challenged. Several scientists that 15 years ago were on the same page with him about GW from the UK, Israel, FR and the US are now on the other side of the issue from him. They have gone on record that there is no real science to prove GW. There is no definitive evidence that the oceans are not rising. There is no direct connection between GW and the number and severity of hurricanes. IF, and it is a big if, we do not do all that St. Al is telling us that we need to do, we might have a 7/100 increase in the global temperature. The ‘Carbon Reduction Indulgences that Al is asking us to pay would be the largest tax increase in the history of the US. So – it is all about the money. I will try to get you the names of the scientists – I will be about as successful as some of you are. Later – .



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Christian Beyer

posted March 28, 2007 at 10:28 pm


In other words, a theory is an explanation of a phenomenon something that is observable, a fact. Global warming in not a theory, it is a fact, and there are theories to explain how and why it is occurring.” Exactly, ‘neuronurse’, but by your own admission there exists more than one theory to explain global warming. And though global warming may be a fact (anyone can read thermographs) the contention that it is not part of a natural cycle is a theory. Fact. “Christian, like a little child, has everyone sidetracked into feeling sorry for those whose feelings have been hurt because their denial of global warming is not respected.” You insist upoon being derisive, don’t you? Well, bookworm, this is supposed to be a website that represents and is represented by Christians. Now, I think that the term “Christian” has most likely outlived its usefulness in that it means so many different things to so many different people, much of those things having little to do with Jesus’ message. So in that regard I will stand by my complaint that some of the authors and contributors on this site show a consistent and deliberate lack of regard for others, especially those they veiw as enemies of their point of view. “If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matt 5:46-48 Now in an abstract sense there is much talk about being concerned for humanity, just as in an abstract sense there appears to be a lack of concern for other elements of humanity. But even if you think my position is merely sentimental fluffery, can’t you at least consider the possibility that the way you are presenting your argument is less than persuasive and often combative? That being said, I apologize if things that I have said have raised anyone’s blood pressure. That was never my intent. “What do you think humans should do about it, if anything?If that were to happen,I would have to say (unlike quite a few of the folks posting here), that I don’t have any answers. Try to establish a consensus on what kind of a threat it would be? Look at ways that may realistically reverse the process without doing more harm than good? Look at ways that we could adapt to or possibly even benefit from the situation? At the very least look for ways to compassionately educate people as to what they will be facing. I know what I would not do, and that would be make rash decisions that may do irreparable harm to millions of people based upon a possibly unrealistic sense of alarm. The problem with the planet, (and I don’t deny that we have ‘effed’ things up royally) is the same thing that causes the rest of the world’s ugliness – being out of touch with God, thinking of our own selfish interests, demanding that we be the first, the stongest, the richest and righteous. I think that by looking towards the world’s historical ways of solving problems; governmental enforcement, bureaucratic controls, new laws, international black mail through treaties and tariffs rather than trying to change people’s hearts is like putting the cart before the horse.



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neuro_nurse

posted March 28, 2007 at 10:40 pm


moderatelad “Several scientists that 15 years ago were on the same page with him about GW from the UK, Israel, FR and the US are now on the other side of the issue from him. They have gone on record that there is no real science to prove GW. There is no definitive evidence that the oceans are not rising. There is no direct connection between GW and the number and severity of hurricanes.” Please cite your sources Christian Beyer “by your own admission there exists more than one theory to explain global warming. And though global warming may be a fact (anyone can read thermographs) the contention that it is not part of a natural cycle is a theory.” True, and I don’t claim to be familiar enough with the science behind global warming to defend it. My point was that to dismiss global warming as ‘just a theory’ shows a lack of understanding of science. I will add that I believe that dismissal is usually a diversion away from meaningful discussion on the subject.



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moderatelad

posted March 28, 2007 at 10:46 pm


neuro_nurse | 03.28.07 – 4:45 pm | #dismiss global warming as ‘just a theory’ shows a lack of understanding NO – I understand but it is just a theory at this time, just like there are other theories about what is happening with climate change that deserve their time at the podium. The 15 scientists were discussed with Al at his meeting with the senate. I will try to get the names.Later – .



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Christian Beyer

posted March 28, 2007 at 10:48 pm


neuronurse, I agree. This is an important issue and should not be dismissed out of hand, as it has been by so many. Once we ameliorate our language then I think real progress can be made. I would very much like someone to be able to convince me one way or another as to what this precisely is and what can be done about it. Hopefully GW is part of a cyclical trend but either way, if this does nothing more than make more of us aware of how we can be better stewards of the planet then we can count it a blessing.



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bookworm

posted March 28, 2007 at 10:55 pm


‘So – it is all about the money. I will try to get you the names of the scientists – I will be about as successful as some of you are. Later – . moderatelad’ ____________________ Have you been googling, moderatelad? What did you come up with? .



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bookworm

posted March 28, 2007 at 11:23 pm


‘Hopefully GW is part of a cyclical trend but either way, if this does nothing more than make more of us aware of how we can be better stewards of the planet then we can count it a blessing. Christian Beyer’ ________________ Christian can pray and hope to eternity for God’s blessings but The inconvenient truth is that recent weather data is direct evidence that Earth is entering a long, perhaps irreversible, cycle of global climate change that will have disastrous consequences for human societies around the world. Radical climate change is already happening. There’s strong evidence that if we act now the impacts of the coming environmental disaster can be dramatically alleviated. The value of efforts made now will pay off dramatically as we progress further into ‘Waterworld’. If we wait until this disaster develops any further, it might be too late to learn how to be ‘better stewards of the planet’. We have to learn about climate change and act NOW! We must stop playing ‘chicken’ with the fate of the planet and human civilization. .



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Christian Beyer

posted March 28, 2007 at 11:46 pm


“We must stop playing ‘chicken’ with the fate of the planet and human civilization.” Interesting choice of words: “The sky is falling!” cried Chicken Little. “We must tell the king.” “I know a shortcut to the palace,” said Foxy woxy sweetly. “Come and follow me.” Of course Chicken Little was wrong, and the fox never believed him at all, he was just an opportunist playing lipservice. But perhaps referencing that little story isn’t fair, though another does come to mind. There really was a wolf here! The flock has scattered! I cried out, “Wolf!” Why didn’t you come?” An old man tried to comfort the boy as they walked back to the village. “We’ll help you look for the lost sheep in the morning,” he said, putting his arm around the youth, “Nobody believes a liar…even when he is telling the truth!” I think that the most tragic thing to possibly come of this mess is why, if it is so obviously true, there is such resistance to accepting the (supposedly) predominate scientific communiy’s findings? Perhaps they only have themselves to blame, what with all of the other doomsday scenarios tha we have had impressed upon us over the past 40 years or so.



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bookworm

posted March 29, 2007 at 12:13 am


Global warming is not a story out of a children’s book, Christian. I’m glad you’re not teaching science to my kids. Playing chicken is waiting until the last second to avert disaster. Are you referring to the many failed predictions for the second coming of Christ, the ‘End Times’, the Tribulation and other Apocalyptic Armageddon scenarios? That was faith-based science, not real science. Do your homework, Christian. .



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BuddyO

posted March 29, 2007 at 12:21 am


2 things are indisputable. – The mean global surface temperature of the Earth is rising. – Humans have neglected God’s ordinance to be good stewards of the Planet and each other. Of those two only the second one really matters. Perhaps it may be the only one we can do anything about. If we could begin to take better care of our environment while simultaneously take better care of the poor and oppressed things would just work themselves out.I contend that if we find ways to be better stewards the ‘problem’ will be a lot closer to being solved. Just maybe the climate would level out and the GW crowd would be proven right. Perhaps it wouldn’t make any difference to the climate because it’s a natural cycle, we’d still be better off. Id’ like to see more discussion from our leaders about things like: -How can we provide ways to be more responsible to the environment that are accessible even to the impoverished? -What sorts of Environmental policies can be created which will allow us to be better stewards while being sensitive to global unemployment? -How do we help poor nations become more responsible to the environment without financially burdening them? How do we get them interested when their people are starving? -What ways can we begin to lower the West’s insatiable consumerism without crushing the global economy? Instead the discussion seems to be centered around instilling an apocalyptic fear into people hoping it will scare them into action… However the actions proposed are typically unreachable for all but the wealthiest, impractical or socially and/or economically just as damaging. Seems like theres a better use for our time. Just my 2 cents.



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Smokey the Bear

posted March 29, 2007 at 2:15 am


BuddyO, You’re full of beans. You don’t have to be rich to do something good for the environment. Plant some trees. Now is a good time to do it. Take a careful look at your household waste stream. Where all did that mountain of trash come from? Most of it is packaging, right? What didn’t you need? What can you avoid getting in the future? What can you recycle? See if you can make your trash barrel take longer to fill up. This won’t cost you a dime. In fact it might even save you some money. And don’t give us any more excuses for being lazy about the environment. .



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BuddyO

posted March 29, 2007 at 8:13 am


Smokey, I do all those things you mention. I tend to look a things with a slightly broader view. For example, I recently spent some time in Beijing, one of the largest cities in the world. The lifestyle of the people there would make the most frugal environmentalist in the US look like a glutton, however the pollution in Beijing is some of the worst in the world. These people have no concept of the things you preach. Theres a particular species of river dolphin in the Shanghai river that is suffocating itself to extinction because the water is so polluted. Even back home I don’t think your message would fly in the most populated centers of the US. When the priority is just daily trying not to get shot while not starving paying attention to the amount of packaging in one’s grocery bag is not on the top of the list. You and I can do all we can, but in the larger scheme of things it doesn’t make a bit of difference until we can figure out China, India, Africa, Philadelphia, New York City, Detroit.



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Smokey the Bear

posted March 29, 2007 at 4:37 pm


The Chinese have planted billions of trees. There is an environmental awareness in China but economic expansion is happening at such a breakneck speed that housekeeping gets left behind. Yes, environmental awareness takes a backseat to the ratrace. The role of government needs to be expanded. In Germany, there is a packaging surcharge for manufacturers using flashy, bulky packaging. This covers the cost of disposal and provides an incentive for reducing the bulk of packaging. It works. .



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Christian Beyer

posted March 29, 2007 at 9:33 pm


“Instead the discussion seems to be centered around instilling an apocalyptic fear into people hoping it will scare them into action… However the actions proposed are typically unreachable for all but the wealthiest, impractical or socially and/or economically just as damaging.” We don’t always agree, but when you are right you are right. “Are you referring to the many failed predictions for the second coming of Christ, the ‘End Times’, the Tribulation and other Apocalyptic Armageddon scenarios?” Actually, no. I was referring to the impending ice age, the wholesale shortage of food, the disappearing ozone layer, acid rain etc. etc. “The Chinese have planted billions of trees.” I hope they didn’t plant them upriver from Three Gorges. “The role of government needs to be expanded.” Now, wouldn’t that just be the icing on the cake? I am beginning to seee through the veils to catch a glimpse of your ultimate goal.



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BuddyO

posted March 29, 2007 at 10:14 pm


“The role of government needs to be expanded.” Oh that’ll help, history proves that… ;) “See if you can make your trash barrel take longer to fill up.” While excessive trash accumulation is an important environmental (economic?) issue, it would have no impact (according to GW theory) on climate change. This has more to do with airborne pollutants. “There is an environmental awareness in China but economic expansion is happening at such a breakneck speed that housekeeping gets left behind” Are you making my point or yours..? Have you spent time with the Chinese people? “In Germany, there is a packaging surcharge for manufacturers using flashy, bulky packaging.” Ironically, I’m contributing to this blog from a hotel room in Frankfurt. Let me tell you, environmental pollution ain’t any better here…“We don’t always agree, but when you are right you are right.” Man… this has to spell trouble… Maybe “hell freezing over” results in the Earth getting warmer….



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BuddyO

posted March 30, 2007 at 7:54 am


Europe is leading the way in bad Ecological policy. Take the RoHS and WEE directives, both of which were originated by the EU. They do little or nothing for the environment and absolutely nothing for GW. They are merely measures intended to appease the guilt of bad stewardship and are an example of the narrow lens through which economic policy is currently developed. The result of RoHS and WEE is that it forces electronic manufacturers to produce inferior product at higher cost. I know of several small businesses that have had to close their doors (read unemployment) because they couldn’t bear the cost of RoHS compliance. It has also eroded any remnant of global economic parity. China for example requires all imports to meet RoHS standards but is not required to comply on it billions of dollars worth of goods it exports to the US. That keeps US goods from being competitive in the Global marketplace. This is just one example of short sighted economic policy.



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Smokey the Bear

posted March 30, 2007 at 3:16 pm


BuddyO, “Are you making my point or yours..?” What is your point, anyway? Do you think the planet is doomed? Can anything be done? Or should we just not worry about it and make the most of what little time is left? .



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Smokey the Bear

posted March 30, 2007 at 5:30 pm


“The role of government needs to be expanded.” Christian: ‘Now, wouldn’t that just be the icing on the cake? I am beginning to seee through the veils to catch a glimpse of your ultimate goal.’ The ultimate goal is to clean up the environment and turn back global warming. For six years, Bush has been dismantling environmental oversight, putting industry attorneys and corporate polluters in charge of the oversight. Do you agree with Bush’s environmental policies? Do you think unregulated capitalism is likely to produce a cleaner environment? What evidence do you have this is working? Have you seen Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’? Do you believe the Apocalypse is coming soon? .



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Christian Beyer

posted March 30, 2007 at 5:45 pm


Smokey, No. No. None. No. No. If you insist upon using extreme language then I can play that game as well. What evidence can you give that authoritarian governmental control has benefitted the environment?Russia and the old USSR? The old Warsaw Pact countries? The People’s Republic of China? Cuba? Albania? Unfettered governmental control doesn’t have a great track record either.BTW, has anyone checked out what is happening with reforestation policy in New Zealand? Kyoto is already backfiring.



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BuddyO

posted March 30, 2007 at 7:19 pm


EDIT previous post: This is just one example of short sighted environmental policy. sorry



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BuddyO

posted March 30, 2007 at 7:21 pm


” What is your point, anyway? Do you think the planet is doomed? Can anything be done? Or should we just not worry about it and make the most of what little time is left? “ Smoke-man…. My point is theres great hope and grace available for us all.My point is that we are misplacing our efforts on arguments and policies that miss the point and even make things worse. Your right we should not worry about GW. We should instead place our efforts in improving our stewardship of the planet and caring for others. BTW: An interesting side note… I read this morning in the Financial Times a blurb about some scientist who has evidence that the extinction of dinosaurs didn’t contribute to the diverse explosion of mammals. There was an off handed comment in the article citing the known scientific fact that there was a major increase in global temperature in the transitional period between dinosaurs and mammals…. hmmm…. perhaps tyrannosaurus rode around in SUVs and the anklyosaurus used too much aerosol hairspray…?



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Smokey the Bear

posted March 30, 2007 at 7:46 pm


BuddyO: ‘Your right we should not worry about GW. We should instead place our efforts in improving our stewardship of the planet and caring for others.’ How do you think we can ‘improve our stewardship’? What would be your recommended approach? Does government have a role? .



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Smokey the Bear

posted March 30, 2007 at 7:48 pm


Christian: ‘BTW, has anyone checked out what is happening with reforestation policy in New Zealand? Kyoto is already backfiring.’ Tell us why. .



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Christian Beyer

posted March 30, 2007 at 8:41 pm


“Smaller investors, spooked by the threat of Kyoto-related intervention in the sector, appear to be being put off forestry as an investment choice.For the first time in recent history, New Zealand cut down more trees last year than were planted.According to Agriculture and Forestry Ministry figures, planting of new forests declined from 34,000 hectares in 2001 to 6000ha in 2006. An estimated 5000ha is forecast this year.At the same time deforestation – taking land out of forestry into another land use – was less than 1000ha a year from 2001 to 2004, rising to 7000ha in 2005 and an estimated 12,700 hectares last year.MAF estimates made public this week show that trend continuing, with 12,800ha of deforestation predicted in 2007 and an average of 10,000ha a year from 2008-12.” (The Kyoto Chainsaw Massacre by ANDREW JAMES – The Dominion Post | Saturday, 3 March 2007) http://www.stuff.co.nz/3979848a13.html



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Smokey the Bear

posted March 30, 2007 at 9:02 pm


Not enough clues in the excerpts to support your statement, Christian. And what’s your point anyway? Do you have a link to the whole article? How do you think we should clean up the environment, Christian? Does government have a role at all? Or should we just wait for the free market to clean up the environment? .



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BuddyO

posted March 30, 2007 at 11:26 pm


How do you think we can ‘improve our stewardship’? Unlike many contributors here, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I do however have some darned good questions to start the discussion. (see my first post)



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Christian Beyer

posted March 31, 2007 at 1:48 am


Smokey, I pasted the link to the article at the bottom of that comment.My point is this; ‘governmnents’ often make hasty decisions that would seem have the majority’s moral stamp of approval. When the desirable outcome looks to be so good or necessary then many reasonable voices of dissent are squashed. Often times these voices could have illustrated errors or possible consequences that had not been considered. Many, if not most, of the military actions the USofA has engaged in would fall into this category. Take Iraq; the vast majority of US citizens and their elected representatives endorsed our incursion into that country. It seemed like the obvious and necessary thing to do. Not so now, eh? Where were the voices objecting to invasion? They were there, but they were muffled by the ‘mob’. In the 1930′s the Roosevelt administration established the TVA to help provide jobs and cheap electricty for our nation. 50 years later the Bureaus of Reclamation has impounded almost every major river in the USA and we are left with a national envrironmental as well as economic disaster. The AEC encouraged and subsidized nuclear power plant construction from the late 1940′s up until the 1980′s giving little regard for what we were to do with the spent atomic fuel. Local and federal authorities (the Corps of Engineers) have created a portending disaster on the Mississippi River that will make the recent devestation in New Orleans look insignificant. Some day the Mississippi will return to the meandering it was meant to follow and when it finally breaks through the levees millions of people will be tragically affected. Meanwhile, because of our good intentions the Gulf is becoming devoid of a viable fishing industry. The EPA established the CAFE standards for the auto industry which lead to the current obsession our country now has with SUVs, as trucks were exempted from that legislation. The market will always find a way around what it feels to be impractical and ill thought out laws (much like the Mississippi). We need to find ways to look at the situation that will include both government, citizen groups, church and social leaders as well as businessess. But we must beware of those who will be led to profit unduly from any laws that are passed. This is already happening with those companies that have jumped onto the GW band wagon, advertising their committment to the ecological cause. Do we really think ANY bank out there really gives a hoot about the environment? Who has funded all the industry which has been held ‘responsible’ for climate change? (I am thinking about a certain bank’s TV commercial in which a very hip and very well off older couple are retiring to their ‘eco-friendly’ home they had built in the Southwestern desert. C’mon who’re they kiddin’?)I live near a river in Maryland, the Patapsco. When I was a boy the river was an open sewer. Near our town, two fabric, one paper and one flour mill dumped all their chemicals, dyes and organic waste into the stream. For each of these mills to functton, dams, built by the state, closed off riverine fish migration (not that any could live in the fetid water).30 years later their are trout fisherman wading in the shallows and herring and shad runs are using the elevators and ladders built to help them circumnavigate the dams (hopefully the dams will be dismantled but there is no money available right now) So to anwer your question, most definitely yes, there is a necessary and essential place for governmental leadership in assessing and repairing damage we have done to the invironment. The tremendously successful acts passed to protect our air, water and wildlife are examples of how government can be effective as well as efficient.



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Christian Beyer

posted March 31, 2007 at 1:52 am


How come Haloscan doesn’t have a spelling and grammer checker? Sheesh!



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