Overriding all that faces the Judicial Council are the scientific warnings that global warming is proceeding faster than previous predictions. We are accustomed to projections pointing to the end of the century (80 years). Some have identified 2050 is a check point with regard to some aspect of global warming. But the most recent observations indicate that we have ten years before reaching the point of no return for our survival.* No, everyone will not die in 2031 like the dynosaurs all seemed to die at one time. But the oceans will be too hot to function right, terrible storms and fires will strike many parts of the earth. Shore lines will be inland from where they are now and millions of people will be displaced and food will be scarce for most of them, to say nothing of housing and order and jobs.
What will our children and grandchildren say when they look back at what we are spending our time on now. Splitting a denomination? Arguing fine points of legal terminology? Questioning how much it will cost to go to General Conference?
John Wesley once was asked what he would do differently if he discovered that he would die tomorrow, so my history professors said during seminary. He replied, “I’d finish out what I have to do today.” Or something to that effect. There is wisdom in that. After all, what am I doing? These things have to be done, seeking resolution to complicated questions, resolving personnel issues, etc. If predictions are wrong. if solutions are found that put off or even eliminate the dangerous future facing us, these kinds of things will be important.
But where are our priorities. Can we change them to mobilize in such as way that we can be part of the solution rather than be distracted by personal feelings, by legalisms that complicate things, by agendas that have been important perhaps for our whole lives? Is our heart as a denomination big enough to show our love for the Earth and for our neighbors? Can we lay down our petitions and our arguments and our distractions long enough to see what is actually happening and see just how critical it is to act now?
To the Judicial Council and those bringing their cases, I say do your thing. But to the General Conference, I ask you to switch priorities and start asking how to plug in on all the ways being found to deal with global warming and save some of these intramural conflicts for another generation.
*Type “2030 global warming” into any search engine like Google for confirmation.