Never has a more poignant representation of creation care discourse been displayed than when Anna Jane Joyner penned a compelling open letter to her Evangelical superstar father, Rick Joyner. Her earnest plea, “Daddy, I know you are someone who takes stewardship of creation as a moral mandate. I believe ignoring climate change is inconsistent with our faith,” was a genuine attempt to bridge a gap that exists between many young Christians and their parents. It was, in my opinion, a condensed amalgamate of tension between Evangelical fathers that have emerged from the fog of overly conservative Christianity and the children that must reconcile these differences.
Since the letter’s release in 2012, Joyner began working with Here Now, an organization that performs climate education in various Christian communities. In a recent Rolling Stone article, Joyner discussed her current attempt to sway this previously perceived to be ‘unreachable audience', by demonstrating faith's true potential to answer societies toughest questions. Instead of harping on how climate denying Christians are wrong, she reveals subtle changes in perception to illuminate the possible ways forward.
Young Christians, such as Joyner, have made tremendous headway in climate action, but they cannot do it alone. As Joyner shared, “…We need [their] leadership to achieve a bright future for all of us — and our children.” If God’s creation is to be fixed, it will require the collaboration of all humans, regardless of age, clique or party.
Anna Jane Joyner is evangelical royalty: Her father, Rick Joyner, founded a South Carolina-based megachurch with 1,000 congregations in 59 countries. But Anna Jane had a political come-to-Jesus moment while at UNC, where she embraced progressive politics. Today, at 29, she's the millennial face of a growing national movement that seeks to convince America's 80 million evangelicals that biblical tenets are compatible with environmentalism. "There's a huge host of faith communities who get it theologically, who even get the science piece of it," Joyner says. "But they're not mobilized in taking action."
Last year, Joyner was featured in Showtime's documentary series Years of Living Dangerously, where she debated climate change with her father in a gripping segment. "What I found was that his resistance had very little to do with theology and much more to do with his entrenched political ideology," she says. "Conservative talking heads and think tanks don't have to prove the science, they just have to introduce an element of doubt."