InterVarsity Press, 200 pages |Published February 21, 2023
Kyle Meyaard-Schaap extends an open invitation to all Christians – from the climate skeptic to the climate anxious – to build a livable future for all.
Following Jesus in a Warming World: A Christian Call to Climate Action is not just a “how to,” but also an assessment of how we got here and how to hold the pain of a climate-changed world. Through a harmonious mix of storytelling, history, Scripture and personal experience, Meyaard-Schaap grounds us in the realities of our current climate crisis and paints a hopeful vision for the future, along with concrete steps to get us there.
Meyaard-Schaaps asserts that our world has changed, and so must our faith. As a young adult, I resonate with his diagnosis that much of the U.S. church has been slow to respond to climate change, leaving many in the pews wondering why our changing world does not translate into a call to action from the pulpit.
On a sweeping tour through Scripture, Meyaard-Schaap points out the creation mandate in Genesis: our vocation as humans is to actively participate in the flourishing of all creation. So we must expand our view of repentance, transformation and redemption as it relates to climate change. Meyaard-Schaap reminds us that sharing the good news extends to all creation. In a time of what seems like one bleak climate report after another, we could all use the more expansive good news Meyaard-Schaap offers.
I appreciate his illustration that the greatest commandment – to love God and neighbor – is to love God’s creation and move toward climate and environmental justice for our neighbors, those most affected here in the United States and around the globe. As someone who lives by a refinery, I long for the day that more Christians understand the greatest commandment this way.
Meyaard-Schaap demonstrates that stories change us far more than the settled science of climate change does. Stories of the flooding of New Orleans or the flattened mountain tops of West Virginia remind us that climate change affects us now; it’s not just a future problem or issue facing only the Arctic polar bears. These stories call us to action more readily than a graph or chart could.
Moving stories are accompanied by actionable steps, for inside and outside our congregations, with suggestions to work toward personal and systemic change without losing hope. Even when the situation around us calls for despair, he reminds us of the joy we have as Christians.
This is an accessible book for all Christians, regardless of level of knowledge regarding the science or Scripture of climate change. Without being overly academic, it draws on Scripture and science, making it a good choice for a small group, a congregational handbook, or a personal guide for those tough conversations with Christian family members who seem immovable in their denial of climate change.
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