Solar panels on the church roof.

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.

Pope Francis comes out against fracking, for the protection of all life and the poor

(article by citisvenFollow for DK GreenRoots)

 Pope Francis holding up anti-fracking t-shirts following a meeting with a group of Argentinian environmental activists to discuss water and fracking issues. The shirts read “No To Fracking” and “Water Is More Precious Than Gold.”

No fracking, says Pope.

Pope Francis holding up anti-fracking t-shirts following a meeting with a group of Argentinian environmental activists to discuss water and fracking issues. The shirts read “No To Fracking” and “Water Is More Precious Than Gold.”

This week Pope Francis met with Argentine filmmaker Fernando “Pino” Solanas (La Guerra del Fracking — The Fracking War) and environmental activist Juan Pablo Olsson at the Vatican to discuss fracking and water pollution. Olsson posted the photo of himself, Solanas and Pope Francis.

Finally, a logical pope. If your belief tells you that God gave us the Earth to be stewards of, then injecting millions of gallons of water and chemicals into the ground to fracture massive rocks for their extra oil and gas and in the process threatening the air we breathe, the water we drink, the communities we love and the climate on which we all depend, seems like a really bad idea.

For a pope who has demonstrated that he is able and willing to connect some serious dots by coming out against poverty, inequality, and bigotry, stepping into the environmental arena is the next logical move. After all, it is the poor and underprivileged who have not only been taking the brunt of industrial pollution and environmental degradation that comes with the fossil fueled life but are also at the forefront of suffering the consequences of climate change. He reportedly told the group he “is preparing an encyclical about nature, humans, and environmental pollution.” Francis is actually living up to his name as the patron saint of the poor.  St. Francis was named the patron saint of ecology by John Paul II in 1979, because of his theological connection to poverty.

“It is my hope that the inspiration of Saint Francis will help us to keep ever alive a sense of ‘fraternity’ with all those good and beautiful things which Almighty God has created,” Pope John Paul II later explained. “And may he remind us of our serious obligation to respect and watch over them with care, in light of that greater and higher fraternity that exists within the human family.”

How the Egypt civil war may be a grim harbinger of things to come

In a perceptive and prescient essay by journalist Chris Hedges, published on Alternet (August 15, 2013  | By Chris Hedges ) he argues that  “the massacres in Egypt are a precursor to a wider global conflict between the elites and the world’s poor.  The engine for this chaos is not religion but the collapsing global economy, a world where the wretched of the Earth are to be subjugated and starved or shot.

Radical Islam is the last refuge of the Muslim poor. The mandated five prayers a day give the only real structure to the lives of impoverished believers. The careful rituals of washing before prayers in the mosque, the strict moral code that prohibits alcohol, along with the understanding that life has an ultimate purpose and meaning, keep hundreds of millions of destitute Muslims from despair. The fundamentalist ideology that rises from oppression is rigid and unforgiving. It radically splits the world into black and white, good and evil, apostates and believers. It is bigoted and cruel to women, Jews, Christians and secularists along with gays and lesbians. But at the same time it offers to those on the very bottom of society a final refuge and hope. The massacres of hundreds of believers in the streets of Cairo signal not only an assault against a religious ideology, not only a return to the brutal police state of Hosni Mubarak, but the start of a holy war that will turn Egypt and other poor regions of the globe into a cauldron of blood and suffering. The only way to break the hold of radical Islam is to give followers of the movement a stake in the wider economy, the possibility of a life where the future is not dominated by grinding poverty, repression and hopelessness.

The lifeblood of radical movements is martyrdom. The faces and the names of the sanctified dead will be used by enraged clerics to call for holy vengeance. And as violence grows and the lists of martyrs expand it will ignite a war that will tear Egypt apart. Random attacks and assassinations by gunmen will puncture daily life in Egypt as it did in the 1990s when I was in Cairo for the New York Times, although this time the scale of the attacks will become fiercer and wider, far harder to control or ultimately crush.

What is happening in Egypt is a precursor to a wider global war between the world’s elites and the world’s poor, a war caused by diminishing resources, chronic unemployment and underemployment, declining crop yields caused by climate change, overpopulation and rising food prices.

The belief systems the oppressed embrace can be intolerant, but these belief systems are a response to the injustice, state violence and cruelty inflicted on them by the global elites. Our (common)  enemy is not radical Islam. It is global capitalism. It is a world where the wretched of the Earth are forced to bow before the dictates of the marketplace, where children go hungry so global corporate elites can siphon away the world’s wealth and natural resources and where U.S.-backed militaries carry out massacres on city streets. Egypt offers a window into the coming dystopia. The wars of survival will mark the final stage of human habitation of the planet.”

Beautiful and amazing photos of animals.

http://rense.com/general96/shots.html