Some Evangelical Leaders Go Green As Skepticism Lingers [Excerpts]
When Bishop Harry Jackson saw melting glaciers and devastated forests on a recent trip to Alaska, he decided that global warming should be a higher priority on his list of key issues for evangelicals.
"I thought the globe was warming, but I thought that there was a whole lot of hype attached and there were not a lot of practical solutions presented," said Jackson, pastor of a megachurch in Beltsville, Md.
The trip to Alaska was a bit of a road-to-Damascus moment for Jackson, a leading voice among conservative black pastors. Earlier this year, he had gone on CNN to question environmentally friendly evangelical leaders and joined a protest against the green-minded vice president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE).
But now, after traveling with scientists and evangelicals on a weeklong trip last month sponsored by Harvard Medical School and the NAE, Jackson is ready to work to bring evangelicals from the left and right together to address reducing carbon emissions and oil use.
"I believe we can kind of come to a working agreement on an environmental agenda," he said.
Progressive evangelical and megachurch pastor Rob Bell, who leads Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Mich., recently concluded a summer sermon series on "God is Green."
Bell, who's preached on the environment for five years and downsized his family from two cars to one and swapped a clothes dryer for a clothesline, said he was surprised that a statement from the Evangelical Climate Initiative was even necessary.
"To me, it's just obvious," said Bell, an up-and-coming evangelical author. "It's sad to me that they would even need to state the obvious."
[TBC: For a good perspective see The Greening of the Cross by Dave Hunt: http://www.thebereancall.org/node/5820 ].