#StandUpCharlie: Risking arrest for climate justice

Under threatening skies, a group of men and women gathers in the basement of the Paulist Center, less than a block from the Boston State House. One by one we introduce ourselves and offer a one-word summary of how we feel as we prepare to risk arrest. “Ready.” “Resolved.” “Grounded.” “Centered.” Everyone has been trained in non-violent civil disobedience. Everyone has taken the necessary practical steps, such as removing wedding …

Listening to Native voices: Standing Rock is everywhere

Hundreds of people – including leaders and elders of Native American tribes from across the U.S. – assembled yesterday under a large tent at Agape, a Christian community in the woods of central Massachusetts that is dedicated to social justice, non-violence, and sustainable living. We were there to mark the 35th annual celebration of St. Francis Day at Agape, and it was a thrilling, even transformative day, a day of …

Building the interfaith climate movement: Let go, hold on, and stay faithful

For the interfaith climate movement in Massachusetts, this is a day for lament, gratitude, hope, and praise. Lament It’s official: Massachusetts Interfaith Coalition for Climate Action – MAICCA, for short – is suspending operations, at least for now. The news went public yesterday. After a nearly three-year run, our Leadership Team concluded, after careful reflection, conversation, and prayer, to suspend future activities of MAICCA for the time being. As we …

Hurricane Harvey: Rising up as the waters rise

Like many Americans, I have been gripped by news of the disaster now unfolding along our nation’s Gulf Coast. As torrential rains bear down on Texas and Louisiana and the floods swell, people are struggling to survive and struggling to rescue family-members, neighbors, and pets. Stories of tragedy and terror, courage and loss have unfolded all week: trapped in his car, an elderly man is rescued from rising waters by …

An Opportunity for which the Church Was Born

An ecumenical statement from Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts and Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ, responding to the President’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. To download a pdf, click: An Opportunity for which the Church Was Born. President Trump’s decision to abandon the Paris Climate Accord violates the values and vision that are basic to Christian faith. Our Judaeo-Christian heritage teaches that the Earth and its …

Science on Screen: BEFORE THE FLOOD

Today is Earth Day, and along with millions of people around the world, I am praying for our blue-green planet, our common home. As part of Amherst Cinema’s “Science on Screen” film series, I recently gave a short talk before the screening of Leonardo DiCaprio’s film, Before The Flood.  I and the other guest speaker, Professor Scott Jackson of Kestrel Land Trust, were asked to speak briefly about the roles …

Standing Rock: Good tidings of great joy

Faith and fear duke it out I am not a brave person. In fact, I am quite familiar with anxiety. I know what it’s like to wake up wide-eyed in the middle of the night, imagining the future with dread. Deciding to go to Standing Rock was not easy. I heard in late November that Chief Arvol Looking Horse was urging people of faith to travel to Oceti Sakowin Camp …

We are the earth: public prayer for the planet

Last Tuesday, Americans voted into office a Presidential candidate who has embraced fossil fuels, called climate change a hoax, and vowed to withdraw from the Paris agreement. Yesterday, five days later, Christians from across Massachusetts gathered on a hillside to reaffirm our dedication to restoring God’s creation. Led by five of the top Protestant and Roman Catholic leaders in our Commonwealth, we prayed and sang under an open sky as …

Resilience, before and after the election

With only a few days left before the Presidential election, the city of Washington, D.C., is humming with anxiety. The taxi driver from Ethiopia asks, “Have you voted already?” Two people jog toward me in a park north of the Capitol, deep in conversation. As they pass, I hear one of them say, with alarm, “….and the difference is only 3%!” My friend, an environmental lawyer with the Interior Department, …

Climate change: An emergency of the heart

Text of a keynote address for “An Interfaith Climate Justice Meeting” organized by Springfield Area Interfaith Climate Action Network (SAICAN), held at First Church of Christ, Longmeadow, MA, on October 30, 2016 Thank you for inviting me to speak. I am excited by what you’re up to as a coalition, and very interested to see what emerges from today’s meeting. I have worked with some of you. Some of you …