In the blog cited in the previous post (by citisvenFollow for DK GreenRoots), the author also gives examples of some other religious professionals who have come out in favor of a green economy. For example,
Pastor Peter Hasenbrink, whose church in Schönau Germany has 431 solar modules on its rooftops, generating more than 40,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year, enough for eight churches of its size.
Follow me below the fold for a few statements from my interview with Pastor Hasenbrink about tying Christian theology into environmental action. Lutherans in Germany have long been on board with the Energiewende, but their Catholic brothers and sisters are starting to get into it too. So this is some of the “theosolar” language Francis could use.
“God has put a lot of love into this creation,” Hasenbrink says, explaining what he considers the natural affinity between faith and environmental stewardship. “When you look around, you can only be in awe of how well-conceived everything is, and we humans are called upon to not only be beneficiaries but to intelligently and responsibly sustain this creation.”
In his sermons, Hasenbrink would point to the importance of combining inner and outer work, citing St. Paul’s letters in Romans 8—“For the creation is eagerly awaiting the revelation of God’s children”—as a call to action for us caretakers to relieve the strain on the earth, to signal our participation, and to move toward salvation…
The name “Creation Windows” was a cinch. “We thought, wouldn’t it be a great metaphor of what a church should be doing anyway, transforming the power of God into energy for our daily life? Just as electricity is a symbol of light and power, faith is a symbol of the power that God gives us to have hope and trust in humanity, to help each other and to co-create.”
With Germany’s recent decision to phase out nuclear energy by 2022 and switch to 100 percent renewables by 2050, the small church community suddenly finds itself at the cutting edge of a new energy age. Together with EWS, the Schönau energy rebels’ cooperative, which today employs more than 50 people, provides renewable power to 115,000 homes and businesses throughout Germany, and earned Sladek the Goldman Prize. They are leading the way in a shift of both policy and consciousness that few could have imagined just a decade ago. “If we wait until powerful leaders start to do good, the train will long have left the station,” Hasenbrink says. “You have to start wherever you’re at, but if it’s many of us, then one drop will turn into a big lake. And that’s what happened here.”
Another story of how Pope Francis is living up to the principles exemplified by his illustrious 13th century namesake, appeared in an Associated Press story dated Nov 27th, 2013. Pope Francis urges finance reforms to aid world’s poor was the headline. This refers to a document entitled Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), in which he lays out a shift of the church’s emphasis from from a focus on doctrine to one of joyful welcome for all. His statement of priorities refer back to his predecessors, Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI, who presided over the Second Vatican Council. Consistently with his denunciation of fracking, cited above, Pope Francis denounced trickle-down economic theories as unproven and naïve, based on a “survival of the fittest” mentality, “where the powerful feed upon the powerless” with no regard for ethics, the environment or even God. “Money must serve, not rule!” he said in calling for political leaders to reform the system. “The Pope is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, protect and promote the poor.” While still adhering to the Church’s opposition to abortion, he stated that there is a hierarch of truths, in which mercy is paramount, proportion is necessary and what counts is that all are invited. “I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out in the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.” Truly, this homily of the Pope could apply to everyone… rich or poor, catholic, protestant or atheist.
Perhaps I’m naïve, but I suspect that this Pope is moving, slowly and gradually, to awaken the Church to 20th century realities. If his luck and his strength holds, he may eventually be able to dismantle or at least relax a little its opposition to birth control including abortion – which would be a blessing for humanity and this overcrowded planet.