Can Climate Change Strengthen Young People’s Faith?

By path2positive

 

Growing up in Manhattan, Rosina Pohlmann was disturbed by the impact that climate change was having on her city - on God's creation. Greif stricken, she began preaching to her congregation from Luke 12:13-21, organizing events at her church like 'Green Sunday.' Compelled to empower other Christians to act on climate, the young Evangelical further investigated the scriptures to ward off the 'specter of climate change' that 'stalked [her] spirit.'

Still, she could not shake the uneasy feeling that tormented her evenings after work, infiltrating her slumber with nightmares of 'scorched earth.' And then it occurred to Pohlmann that, "God is revealed to us not only through creation but even more so through the suffering we feel on account of our love for it." 

Pohlmann is one of many young people strengthening their faith in search of guidance on one the most important issues of our time. In droves, young people are turning toward faith leaders in search of answers. Will your house of worship be there to provide this guidance?


How climate change challenged, then strengthened my faith (COMMENTARY)

Rosina Pohlmann | RNS

WASHINGTON (RNS) Growing up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan during the ’90s, I was something of a weirdo for believing in God. The majority of my peers rejected religion as a stubborn strain of insanity, but I — the product of an evangelically raised father and a long line of Christianish mystics on my mother’s side — never wavered in my faith. I didn’t accept the typical Sunday school conception of God as a humanlike, vaguely male, invisible conferrer of love or judgment.

But I knew God existed, because when I went to bed anxious or upset, I asked for peace and received it. I knew God existed because I had heard the 2nd movement of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony and there felt divine compassion for all human pain. Perhaps more powerful than anything, I had seen God in nature.

Even though I lived in a city of concrete and steel, an intense love for nature permeated my heart and my imagination. I wrote poem after poem on the beauty of the stars and the snow; I can remember sitting in my school courtyard as a light, gray drizzle fell around me, finding a way to describe it in sublime terms.

I was in love with the seasons: those first crisp September days, a clear, satisfying cold at Thanksgiving, snowy winters. The way spring would burst open from the earth around Easter, unfolding with increasing brightness into May and June, and then the hot, lush summer months. These seasonal rhythms were reliable even when other things were not. They were an assurance that God — full of beauty, peace and catharsis — was here with us.

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