The 8th Commandment: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Luther’s Small Catechism
What does this mean? We are to fear and love God, so that we do not tell lies about our neighbors, betray or slander them, or destroy their reputations. Instead we are to defend them, speak well of them, and interpret their actions in the kindest possible light.
[Jesus said,] “But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another,
‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn.’
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” Then he began to reproach the cities in which most of his deeds of power had been done, because they did not repent. (Matthew 11:16-21)
Jesus calls the religious leaders and people out. They want to have it both ways. They disparage John the Baptist because he was too self-righteous, pietistic, and austere. Yet, they also question Jesus’ credibility because he hangs out with sinners and parties too much. They want it both ways. They will say anything they can to make their own opinions and ideas come out as the “correct” one. These days, in our polarized culture of politics and opinions, “fake news” and “biased media”, it can be challenging to speak kindly of “self-righteous tree-huggers” versus “selfish climate change deniers.” What way today can you gently but firmly encourage care for creation?
As an evangelical Christian & a scientist, Katharine Hayhoe is already a member of a rare breed. As a climate change researcher who is also married to an evangelical Christian pastor, she is nearly one of a kind. “Climate Change Evangelist”, Katharine Hayhoe delves into deep discussion of the perceived conflict between climate change and Christian faith. She explains that admitting her identity as a Christian and a scientist can be uncomfortable. Since evangelicals are the targets of much disinformation concerning science in general — and specifically the science surrounding climate change — many people in the church have a misguided view of the subject and do not look kindly at her career choice. One woman encountered by Hayhoe at a church in Texas, for example, believed that global warming was a lie taught in schools to mislead her children. In an effort to realign misguided views like these, Katharine Hayhoe and her husband wrote a book addressing the deep-rooted emotions often associated with climate change. People fear that addressing the climate issue will bring forth changes in the economy and uproot their way of life. However, Hayhoe encourages her viewers to act out of love, as the Bible calls us to do, rather than out of fear. Acting out of love inspires us to consider the poor and disadvantaged people around the globe when we respond to the reality of a changing climate.
- Learn More about Katherine Hayhoe’s faith and her scientific research about climate change.
- Learn how the ELCA is addressing climate change:
- Contact the media and ask that climate change be presented not with skeptics’ perspectives but according to the overwhelming scientific consensus.
In October 2017, Lutherans mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with the occasion of Martin Luther writing his 95 Theses. As a church that is “always reforming,” we know that the good news of God continues to encounter us in our life. We are invited to look at classic Lutheran teachings in new ways. These daily summer devotions look at Luther’s Small Catechism through the Lens of Ecology & the Earth. Pastor Molly edited and adapted them from the website http://www.lutheransrestoringcreation.org/