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Change: Kyle Meyaard-Schaap on Climate Crisis & Christian Discipleship
Episode 1373rd May 2023 • A World of Difference • Lori Adams-Brown
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Climate Crisis & Christian Discipleship with Kyle Meyaard-Schaap

Join us as we explore one man's journey from skeptic to environmental advocate through the lens of his faith. But just as he begins to offer solutions, a looming threat interrupts, leaving him and the audience with a question: will the church wake up and stand up to protect God's creation?

My special guest is Kyle Meyaard-Schaap

Introducing Kyle Meyaard-Schaap, a devoted advocate for Christian climate action and environmental care.

Rev. Kyle Meyaard-Schaap (MY-yurd SKOP) serves as the Vice President of the Evangelical Environmental Network. For the last ten years, he has educated and mobilized Christians around the world to address the climate crisis as an act of discipleship and neighbor-love.

Kyle has been named to Midwest Energy Group's 40 Under 40, the American Conservation Coalition’s 30 Under 30, and the Grist 50 Fixers cohorts for his work on climate change education and advocacy. In 2020, he was named a Yale Public Voices on the Climate Crisis Fellow. His work has been featured in national and international news outlets such as PBS, NPR, CNN, NBC News, New York Times, Reuters, and U.S. News and World Report. His book, Following Jesus in a Warming World: A Christian Call to Climate Action, was released by InterVarsity Press in February 2023.

Kyle is married to Allison and lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with their two sons.

Visit his website at

Follow him on Twitter: @kmeyaardschaap.

Caring for creation is a fundamental part of every human being's vocation because that's how God made us. - Kyle MeyaardSchaap

In this episode, you will be able to:

Grasp Christian obligations towards environmental stewardship and climate action.

Find out the significance of incorporating native plants in the battle against climate change.

Expose the hidden causes driving climate change skepticism in political and religious spheres.

Discover the potential of generational dialogue in forging Christian action against climate change.

Engage in a hopeful pursuit of creative solutions and resolute action for a sustainable future.

The resources mentioned in this episode are:

Read Kyle's book, Following Jesus in a Warming World: A Christian Call to Climate Action.

Promo code: AWORLD23

Listeners can get 30 percent off the ebook and physical book (free shipping) at through 5/19

Find unique ways to care for creation and protect the environment, based on your own vocation and interests.

Implement practices that bring joy and enhance your experience of creation.

Participate in events and initiatives that promote environmental care and protection, such as Indie Creation Fest.

Support organizations like the Evangelical Environmental Network that are working towards climate change education

and advocacy.

Make sustainable choices in your daily life, such as using reusable bags and water bottles, reducing meat consumption,

and conserving energy.

Advocate for policies and actions that prioritize the environment and address climate change.

Worship as Awe and Wonder

Worship can be far more than a formalized gathering or ritual. It can be experienced as a profound sense of awe and wonder in

everyday life, especially when we open our hearts and minds to the beauty and intricate connections of the natural world.

Immersing ourselves in creation and marveling at the marvels of our planet gives us an even greater appreciation for the

Creator of all things. In the interview, Kyle Meyaard-Schaap shares his experiences of finding awe in God's creation. He talks

about attending the Indie Creation Fest, an event that celebrates God's creation and promotes efforts to protect it. Through

embracing beauty in nature, Kyle highlights the importance of cultivating a worshipful approach towards environment and

reveals how his faith has been enriched by his journey into creation care.

The Importance of Listening to the Younger Generation

The youth of today have a unique and valuable perspective on environmental issues, and their voices must be heard. As the

generation that will inherit the consequences of climate change, they are more keenly aware of its dangers and are passionately

advocating for collective action. By acknowledging their concerns and supporting their efforts, society encourages a more

inclusive and effective response to environmental challenges. Kyle Meyaard-Schaap emphasizes the need to listen to and learn

from the younger generation. He discusses how young Christians are beginning to question the narratives they were raised on

and are challenging the status quo in their communities. By offering support and encouragement to the next generation, we join

forces in ensuring a brighter and healthier future for all.

This is a beautiful, exhilarating invitation to become more human and to participate in God's joy. - Kyle Meyaard-Schaap

I don't know how to love God and to love my neighbor without doing something about forces that are destroying God's good

creation. - Kyle Meyaard-Schaap

Climate Change as a Moral Issue

As global citizens, we must recognize that addressing climate change and participating in creation care is vital. This

responsibility becomes even more significant for those who identify as Christian, as it speaks to the core principles of loving God

and loving our neighbors. Climate change is a moral issue that needs to be acknowledged and faced head-on, as it deeply

impacts not only the environment but also the life and well-being of countless communities around the world. By dedicating

ourselves to the cause, we can positively contribute to a better future. Kyle Meyaard-Schaap, in his conversation with Lori

Adams-Brown, underscores the connection between faith and creation care. Growing up in a conservative Christian community,

Kyle had not initially understood this connection. It was only through his brother's studies - and exploring the relationship

between ecology, biology, and scripture himself - that Kyle realized the importance of engaging with environmental stewardship

as a Christian. He encourages fellow believers to examine the issue through the lens of their faith and calls on them to actively

participate in creation care.

The key moments in this episode are:

00:00:00 - Introduction,

00:03:09 - Celebrating Earth Day,

00:08:41 - Climate Change as a Moral Issue,

00:12:54 - Finding Your Earth-Keeping Vocation,

00:16:01 - Conclusion,

00:16:32 - Worship as Awe and Wonder,

00:18:15 - Surprising Ways to Steward the Planet,

00:22:56 - Skepticism Around Climate Change,

00:29:06 - Muddy Public Conversation Around Climate Change,

00:31:31 - Recovering God's Story,

00:33:43 - The Importance of Listening to the Younger Generation,

00:35:20 - Recognizing the Need for Change in the Church,

00:37:23 - Finding Hope and Inspiration in Community,

00:38:30 - Casting a Vision for an Inspiring Future,

00:38:58 - The Epilogue,

If you're feeling frustrated and helpless because your efforts to protect the environment through actions like recycling or using

eco-friendly products aren't making a significant impact, then you are not alone!

Timestamped summary of this episode:

00:00:00 - Introduction,

Lori Adams-Brown introduces Kyle Meyaard-Schaap, the vice president of the Evangelical Environmental Network. They talk

about his book, Following Jesus in a Warming World, and his work on climate change education and advocacy.

00:03:09 - Celebrating Earth Day,

Kyle talks about Indie Creation Fest, an event he helped plan and host in Indianapolis. The festival brings together people to

celebrate God's creation, learn from each other, and get involved in activities that help protect the environment.

00:08:41 - Climate Change as a Moral Issue,

Kyle explains that climate change is a moral issue that Christians should care about. He believes that following Jesus means

loving God and loving our neighbor, and taking care of the environment is part of that calling.

00:12:54 - Finding Your Earth-Keeping Vocation,

Kyle believes that everyone has a unique calling to care for the environment, and that it's important to find practices that bring

you joy. He suggests reframing the conversation around environmental care from one of guilt and obligation to one of joy and

participation in God's joy.

00:16:01 - Conclusion,

Lori and Kyle wrap up the conversation by reminding listeners that caring for the environment is a beautiful and exhilarating

invitation to become more human and to participate in God's joy. They encourage people to find their own unique ways to

connect with the environment and care for it.

00:16:32 - Worship as Awe and Wonder,

Worship as awe and wonder, and taking care of the planet through native landscaping, scouting, and activism.

00:18:15 - Surprising Ways to Steward the Planet,

Kyle talks about the importance of using native plants for landscaping to help mitigate climate impacts, and how to bring your

land into better harmony with the natural ecosystem around you.

00:22:56 - Skepticism Around Climate Change,

Kyle addresses skepticism around climate change in the US, and the reasons why it exists. He discusses the political,

theological, and societal stories that have shaped American attitudes towards climate change.

00:29:06 - Muddy Public Conversation Around Climate Change,

Kyle talks about the concerted effort by fossil fuel corporations to muddy the public conversation around climate change, and the

false narratives and misleading information that have been spread about the issue.

00:31:31 - Recovering God's Story,

Kyle discusses the importance of recovering God's story in relation to climate change, and how the greatest commandment to

love God and love our neighbor is directly related to our responsibility to care for the planet.

00:33:43 - The Importance of Listening to the Younger Generation,

Kyle highlights the significance of listening to the younger generation and explains how they can help in shaping a better future.

He hopes that readers who recognize the harmful stories they were told about climate change and the environment will

understand that they are not alone in their passion for change.

00:35:20 - Recognizing the Need for Change in the Church,

Kyle emphasizes the importance of recognizing how the church has been compromised by incomplete and harmful stories

around creation and climate change. He encourages young Christians who have recognized this and still love the church to call

out the problematic stories and try to bring about change.

00:37:23 - Finding Hope and Inspiration in Community,

Kyle believes that the work of Christian climate action has to happen in community and encourages readers to find their people

and do this work together. He acknowledges that it can be hard to hold hope, and having a community to hold hope for each

other is crucial.

00:38:30 - Casting a Vision for an Inspiring Future,

Kyle talks about the importance of casting a vision for an inspiring future that can be created by taking action together. He

encourages readers to exercise their imagination and imagine the kind of world they want to create by taking action on climate


00:38:58 - The Epilogue,

In the epilogue, Kyle writes a letter to his imagined granddaughter in 2066, casting a vision for a better, safer, and more

prosperous world.

Calling all Christians who want to take action for our planet and its future! Have you heard the myths that suggest that taking

care of our environment is not a Christian responsibility? That climate change is not real? Or that our actions won't make a

difference? It's time to debunk these myths and embrace the truth. Join us as Kyle Meyaard-Schaap shares the facts and

inspires us to take action towards creation care and climate justice.

For those who are different and want to make a difference

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It. Welcome to the A World of Difference podcast. I'm Lori Adams Brown, and this is a podcast for those who are different and

want to make a difference. Our guest today is Reverend Kyle Meyard Scop, and he serves as the vice president of the

Evangelical Environmental Network. For the past ten years, he's educated and mobilized Christians around the world to address

the climate crisis as an act of discipleship and neighbor love.


Kyle has been named to Midwest Energy Group's 40 under 40, the American Conservation Coalition's 30 under 30, and the

ge education and advocacy. In:

the Climate Crisis Fellow, and his work has been featured in national international news outlets such as PBS, NPR, CNN, NBC

News, New York Times, Reuters, US News and World Report. And his book, which I'm very excited to introduce you to if you've

not yet read it, is called Following Jesus in a Warming World a Christian Call to Climate Action, and it was released this

February. Kyle is married to Allison and lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with their two sons, and he is on the show today talking

about how he recently celebrated Earth Day and how we can do a better job of caring for this planet we all know and love. So

welcome to the show today.


Kyle admired Scott.


Hello, Kyle. Welcome to the World of Difference podcast today. Thanks for having me, Lori. Well, it's so exciting to talk about this

topic. This book that you've written is really unique, and I am really excited to dig into a little bit of what you've written here today

for our audience.


We've recently celebrated Earth Day, but every day here at their World of Difference podcast is a good day to just be so grateful

to be on this planet and all the diversity that lies in it. So how is your Earth Day? And do you have any particular thing you've

done year after year that's like a tradition, or do you do something different every year? How does that go for you? Yeah, so I

spent Earth Day with about 400 other close friends, strangers at an event that I helped plan and host called Indie Creation Fest.


So this is a really cool story if we have time for it. I've been working with some volunteers in Indianapolis for a couple of years

now, and it came out of this conversation that I just had with a couple of pastors in the area around how do we help our people?

Understand our call to care for creation and not kind of beat people over the head with it, but invite them into something joyful,

something life giving, something winsome. So they pulled together some volunteers from their church that they knew were

already excited about this, and they came up with this idea for Indie Creation Fest. It's essentially an open house, fair style

event with vendors and tables all over the place.


There's food trucks, there's electric vehicles that people can look at. There are rescue animals, pot bellied pigs that the kids can

pet. There are beekeepers and composters. And it's just a great time for people to be together in God's creation, learning about

what other people are doing, how they can get plugged in to that work, and just celebrating the goodness of creation and the

goodness of being creatures in creation. So that's how I spent my Earth day.


My family came down with me a few hours drive from home, so it was a lot of fun. To your other question, I don't have any Earth

Day traditions. I just kind of bounce around and find stuff that's interesting if I'm not working like I was this past year. But being in

my line of work, I'm usually quite busy around Earth Day. I would imagine so.


Well, what a fun event. Yeah, there's just so many different ways to celebrate Earth Day. I find it fascinating what people do,

what traditions they have, or whether they do something different every year. Yeah, we live here in the Bay Area. In California.


There's all kinds of opportunities to do things. As you could imagine, this place is pretty active around this type of day, and even

the job I do in Silicon Valley. There was a special event at my workplace where I work in tech around just how our company is

doing with sustainability and what our goals are and how we're meeting them, and just so we all understand. And that's really

important as an aspect of Earth Day as well. Unfortunately, earlier, like a little over a month ago, our rescue dog that we brought

from Singapore passed away.


She was just a little old lady, and we cared for her till the very end. It's super tough. And so we have signed up to be foster

families for a rescue here in California until we feel ready to find a new rescue dog to just bring into our home. Earth Day was a

little different for us this year because of that, but we do believe in our family very strongly and caring for creation, and also that

none of us can do enough by ourselves that we need each other as a family. We need our communities, we need our world,

really, to wink arms and come together.


So your book is all about this, but you also kind of dig into a little bit in the book, your own personal narrative. So my first

question for you was when did you really begin to understand the need to be involved in creation care? Yes. So I grew up in the

Midwest, in western Michigan, in a pretty conservative Christian family and community. I went to Christian Day school from

kindergarten through 12th grade, and it was a beautiful community that taught me a lot of really important lessons and values

and it didn't have much to teach me about my relationship to the natural world around me and what my faith had to say about

any of that.


That began to change for me when my older brother, who's a few years older than me went on a semester abroad program to

New Zealand. This was a Christian study abroad program that took kids from Christian colleges, brought them to New Zealand

and had them study at the intersection of ecology, biology and scripture, theology, church history bringing faith and science into

conversation together in one of the most beautiful pieces of God's creation. And he came back totally transformed. I think the

climax for me, in my memory at least is when he announced soon after he came home that he was now a vegetarian because of

his learning and his experiences. And literally, it was as if he had said to our family like, I'm a dog now.


I'm a dog now. That's who I am, right? It was so out of left field. I didn't know anybody like me who had ever made that decision.

I couldn't fathom anyone like me making that decision.


So I had a hard decision to make. Was I going to lump my brother into this caricature that I had built up around quote unquote,

vegetarians which was false because I didn't have any real life experience with it or was I going to suspend my assumptions and

hear him out? And he was gracious and kind and patient in helping me understand his journey. And what he revealed to me is

that that choice that he had made was not him rejecting the values that we had been taught in our conservative Christian

community. It was him doing his best to try to live more deeply into them.


And that was the first time that anyone had given me permission to think about something like environmental care or the flip side

of it environmental degradation, pollution, climate change through the lens of my faith and to understand that I could take action

because I'm a Christian, because I'm trying to follow Jesus and not in spite of it. So that was kind of my spark that got fanned

into flame when I went to college and had my own experiences after that that we could dig into but that I also write about in the

book as well. Meeting people who are on the front lines of climate impacts and having stories and faces to put to these big

issues that can feel abstract, can feel theoretical but got really human really quickly for me.


It's not easy for a brother to change a brother's mind in a culture that's that entrenched says. I really loved reading that part of

your story. And, I mean, who doesn't go to New Zealand and all of a sudden have awe and wonder about God's creation and my

experience of living and working in Asia. I had several Kiwi friends and they would often joke about American Christians and our

lack of understanding about basic things like the ozone layer and holding the ozone layer and how that directly affects their

country in ways that are harmful and that type of thing. But in your book, you talk about that climate change really is a moral

issue that Christians should be really not only concerned about, but have calls to action essentially to be a part of helping link

arms and change things together.


So explain how that looks for you and how you think, as Christians, we should be involved. Yeah, so you're right. I want to help

the church understand climate change with our own language, language that we understand, the language of Scripture and the

language of morality. Right. Scripture is very clear, and Jesus is very clear that the most important aspect of what it means to

follow after him is to love God with everything we've got and to love our neighbor as if their current circumstances and their

future prospects were our own.


And when I look out at a world being pressed on by climate change, being pressed on unequally, it should be said, right?

Certain people are feeling the impacts of climate change more strongly than others. When I look out at that, I don't know how to

love God and to love my neighbor without doing something about forces that are destroying God's good creation, that God loves

and tells us to love and care for. And forces that are making it harder for my neighbor to feed their families, to pay their bills, to

be safe and to flourish and thrive in a healthy creation, as we were all intended to. So I often say I found my way into this work

not as a Democrat or a Republican, not even as an environmentalist.


Right? I'm a pastor. I'm an ordained pastor. I studied religion in college. I went to seminary.


I'm doing this because I'm trying to follow Jesus. I don't know how else to follow Jesus in the 21st century when Jesus says,

love God and love your neighbor. And when I look out and I see that climate change is making both of those things harder to do.

So, yeah, I do think that climate change is a moral issue. And as such, it requires that the church wakes up, stands up, and does

something about it.


So in terms of what does that look like, I write a bit in the book that I think it looks different for everybody. And here's why. I

believe that caring for creation is a fundamental part of every human being's vocation because that's how God made us. Right?

If you go all the way back to Genesis, we see that the first commands that God gives to humans in Genesis One and in Genesis

two are to rule over creation, to subdue it.


Those are strong words that the church has often misinterpreted, in my opinion. But in Genesis two, it says serve and protect it,

right? So rule creation, but rule it through service. Rule creation, but rule it by protecting it. Rule as I rule because I'm creation's

true kings as Jesus, right?


And how does Jesus rule creation? Well, Jesus trades heaven for a womb. Jesus washes feet. He climbs up on a cross. Jesus

rules through humility and sacrifice and service by seeking the good of that which is ruled.


And our rulership is derivative of Christ. So if we're going to rule creation, we have to rule as Christ rules. And that's through

service and sacrifice and protection. As such, every human being has this holy vocation put on them, right? We are earth



This is part of what it means to be a human being. And so every one of us has this calling on our lives. But just like your

vocation, Lori, is different than my vocation. I think everybody's unique calling to respond to the realities of environmental

degradation and climate change is different. So I don't want to prescribe for anyone how God has uniquely made them to tend

creation, to care for creation and to protect it.


I think there are broad principles that we could discuss that I get into in the book a little bit, that kind of umbrellas that all of us sit

underneath. And there are lots of options underneath those big umbrellas. But I think most basically everybody, as part of their

vocation has an earth keeping box, right? This is part of your calling, whether you know it or not, because you're a human on

planet Earth. And I think one of the invitations that I want to offer to people is get familiar with the unique ways that God has

created you to live into that vocation, find practices that bring you joy.


Because I can tell you when you try to implement and institute practices in your life to try to care for creation or live more gently

on the Earth, and if your motivation is guilt and drudgery and obligation, you get burned out really fast. But when you enter into it

with the idea of vocation and you think, okay, how have I been wired to connect with creation? What brings me life and joy in

creation? And what are practices that can enhance my experience of creation and enhance my own sense of self? That's when

we find joy.


And as a Christian, I believe that's where we find God's joy, because God takes joy and delight in creation. Scripture is clear

about that. And when we find ways to find joy in creation, we're participating in God's joy. And that is a gift, right? I think all too

often we talk about creation care practices as obligations rather than gifts.


But this is an invitation to become more human and to participate in the joy that God has in God's creation. So one of the things

I'm trying to do is reframe for the church how we even think about this right. This doesn't have to be guilt and shame and blame

inducing. This is a beautiful, exhilarating invitation to become more human and to participate in God's joy. Yeah, it's so good.


Honestly, wherever we live on the planet, there's usually unique opportunities to enjoy, even just the outdoors that can really

look different in, like, an urban jungle, so to speak. But where it's smoggy, and maybe not as easy, but whether it's enjoying a

beach nearby or rainforest or a mountain or in California, we're blessed to have both, like cliffs on the ocean, which is just

absolutely gorgeous.


My friend Nancy ortberg I've heard her describe worship as awe and wonder, and she likes to go surfing, too. We live near

Santa Cruz. I live in the same town as her. And we're, like, without traffic 15 minutes from where surfing came to the mainland in

the US. So there's a lot of people out there that every time I go, they're just surfing.


And I would never get in that cold water and surf like that. But it does cause me awe and wonder. Just to watch how the waves

crash against the cliffs or the sunshine as it feels on your skin, especially on a cold day. It just feels wonderful and a reminder

that climate is changing and we have a role to play. And if it's just all three of our kids have been scouts at different points,

especially in our Singapore years, where they would pick up trash in parks and things like that.


Relatively, Singapore is much more clean than the average country because they have strict laws against throwing trash on the

ground. You get fined, like, a lot of money, like $500,000 for doing that. Wow. I know. And they do enforce those laws, so it's why

it's beautiful.


And it's called the Garden City because it's got gardens everywhere. It was designed by Lee Kuan Yu, who loved gardening. But

there are very different ways we can participate in helping the world be a better place. And like you said, I think it's important to

choose something that is naturally something we're inclined toward, as opposed to putting on some system that feels like

drudgery because there are so many ways to care for our Earth. And so what are some of the ways that you have found maybe

are surprising to people, or are things they often wouldn't think about that can be ways we can steward our planet?


Well, yeah, I love that question. Yeah. So some of the ways that I've been surprised by in my own journey in my own life, and

some of the ways that I think people are interested in, one is just your own landscaping around your house. Right. Turf lawns

are not particularly natural.


Right. There's this aesthetic in the United States, especially around uniformly cut grass, manicured lawns. And a lot of the plants

are non native, which means, ecologically, they're pretty useless. They're pretty to look at. But they're not serving much of a

purpose in your local place.


So one of the things that I've been learning more about and that my wife are trying to implement in our own home is native

landscaping. So learning about what are the plants that are indigenous to your place, that serve an ecological function in your

place, whether it's feeding, pollinators, filtering rainwater. And that's becoming more and more important in the place where I live

in the Midwest, because some of the predictions for climate impacts in the Midwest are more intense precipitation events. So

maybe not necessarily more rain, but more rain all at once, as well as more heat. So when we talk about stormwater

management, native plants actually have a really important role to play because turf grass has really, really short root systems.


And when water falls on turf, very little of it soaks down into the ground, which means most of it runs off, runs off our lawns, runs

off of our hard pavement, picking up all of the oils and particulates and the gross stuff on the street with it and going straight into

our stormwater. And I live right on a creek called Plaster Creek, which is one of the most polluted waterways in the state of

Michigan, because we have very poor stormwater management. So this summer, my wife and I applied through a local

organization, and we were approved to get a rain garden put in our front yard with native species, native plants. And one of the

things about native plants is their root systems are much, much longer, which means they suck more moisture, more water

down into the ground to manage it. So it's not all running off the street into Plaster Creek.


It's contained and it's filtered and it reaches the water table more slowly. And when it reaches the water table, it's much cleaner.

It filters out a lot of those toxins that would otherwise be swept into Plaster Creek. And I just think it's really pretty. There's these

beautiful flowers that the bees and the butterflies and the pollinators can sip on.


So that's one thing that I've really enjoyed learning about, all of the benefits of it. And I think it's really pretty and it makes for

really interesting landscaping. So even stuff like that, like thinking about what do you have planted around your house? Is it

native? If not, why not?


And what are some natives that you could potentially put in native to your place that the insects and the pollinators and the birds

have all grown used to being in relationship with and eating from or being shaded by? And how can you even bring your own

patch of land into better harmony with the natural ecosystem around you? Not just because it looks pretty, but because it can

help mitigate some of those climate impacts, too. What a wonderful way. I know several people that listen to the podcast that

enjoy gardening, so hopefully that gave some people some ideas on a different turn.


Sort of the elephant in the room is the fact that some Christians listening. Don't even. I know I'm speaking probably largely to

white evangelicals in the United States at this moment that listen or have relatives in that camp or friends. Sometimes people

can be skeptical around this whole conversation of climate change because of a variety of false narratives or misleading

narratives that have been part of media consumption in the US. Or maybe even things they've heard in their own churches from

their own pastors mouths.


How do you think your book is going to be received by Christians who might be skeptical of climate change or who prioritize

other issues over this? Yeah, it's a great question. I hope that folks who might have some questions around climate change

would would find my book to be I hope at the very least, my book is gracious. I tried very hard to write in such a way that nobody

felt judged, nobody felt belittled or put down if they have questions about climate change because I understand it right like I

used to. I haven't always understood what I understand now about climate change, and I used to be skeptical and kind of side

eye a little bit myself.


I had to go on a journey myself, and I needed people to help me along that journey. So I always try to remember that that

everybody's on a journey and nobody deserves to be judged or ridiculed for wherever they are on that journey. I do hope that

people who might be skeptical will approach the book at least with some openness because I do think there are theological,

economic, political reasons why skepticism of climate change is almost a uniquely American phenomenon.


It exists in Australia, too. It exists in the UK and Canada to a certain extent, but it's largely wealthy Western countries where this

skepticism persists. One of my overwhelming takeaways from going to the Cop 15 climate change conference in Paris in sorry,


overwhelming takeaway was everybody is around the table here. Like, even Saudi Arabia was at the table, and their entire

existence depends on sucking out oil from the earth and selling it.


Right. So of course they were slow walking everything. They were trying to water down the language, but they weren't at the

table saying, climate change is a hoax. Right. That is a uniquely American phenomenon, and I think there are particular reasons

for that.


There's a political story that has formed a lot of Christians in this country that tells us that to be a good Christian in public and to

engage in political issues as a Christian requires concern around a handful of issues, and the environment isn't one of them.

Climate change is kind of excluded from our concern, and it's even viewed with some fear around? Could it be a Trojan horse to

kind of take our money, take our freedom?


There's a political story that has formed a lot of Christians that has said climate change is outside of your concern. It has nothing

to do with a Christian public theology or a Christian political theology, so you don't have to worry about it. So a lot of Christians

just were never told that it was something that they needed to concern themselves with as they engaged in public conversations

around issues that affect their communities. I think there's a theological story, too, that is shaped by kind of the philosophical

dualism of Greek philosophy that infused so much of the early Church. And we continue to drink downstream from a philosophy

that separated the spiritual and the material and said that the spiritual is what's ultimate.


The spirit and the soul is what matters most, and the material is passing away. It's imperfect. We don't have to concern

ourselves with it. And it gave rise to this theology that elevated human souls over against human bodies, and it elevated Heaven

over Earth, and it separated all of these things that, in my opinion, were never meant to be separated. When you look at

particularly the Old Testament, this idea of a separation between soul and body, separation between heaven and earth, these

things were foreign to the ancient Hebrews.


And it was really only with Hellenistic thinking, kind of this merging of Greek philosophy with the way of Jesus in the early

centuries of the Church, that we began to see this dualism creep in to our theology. And again, we were formed by it today still,

right? How many of us were told we don't have to worry about things like climate change, we just have to save souls. We have

to worry about saving souls? And how many of us were told that the ultimate hope of the Christian story is Heaven, right?


We got to get to Heaven and we forget about how Scripture actually tells us that the hope is not ultimately Heaven. It's what

happens after Heaven when Jesus comes back in his resurrected body and all of us join him in resurrected bodies, and we live

forever here in this place in a renewed Heaven and a renewed Earth. So again, I think theology, too, has overemphasized the

spiritual, over the material, and has told us that we don't have to worry about the Earth, we don't have to worry about bodies, we

don't have to worry about physical, material things because that's not what's ultimate. What's ultimate is the spirit and the soul

and Heaven. And I think it should be said, too, there has been a pretty concerted and pretty successful campaign from the

parties in power who stand to benefit the most from maintaining the status quo fossil fuel corporations, a pretty concerted effort

to muddy the public conversation around climate change.


This is not theoretical. There is data to back this up, right? Like we have documents from ExxonMobil that said in the 1980s we

have a pretty good idea of what climate change is going to do. And we need to confuse the public so that we can continue

digging up and exporting fossil fuels for as long as possible. So we've also been the victims of a pretty successful PR campaign

and propaganda campaign to confuse the American public about the consensus among climate scientists around climate

change, about the effects, the expected impacts of climate change, about humanity's role in driving climate change.


All of that has been confused on purpose because there are people who benefit from the status quo and who don't want

anything to change. They have a lot of money to make sure that the status quo stays the same. So there's a lot of reasons, and

I explore a lot of this in my book. There's a lot of reasons, I think, why particularly Christians here in the US have found it hard to

understand what climate change has to do with our faith or what people of faith might be required to do in response to

something like climate change. And again, I want to finish my answer by saying I don't want to blame anybody for that.


Right. We've been told stories, and stories are powerful. Stories form us. And none of us created these stories. We were told



And I think part of the task of faithful discipleship is recognizing what are the stories I've been told that are from God and what

are the stories I've been told that are not of God. And I think some of those political stories, those theological stories, those

maybe sociocultural stories around truth and how can we be sure what truth is? Some of those stories are not of God. And we

have to recover God's story, which I try to do in the book a bit by looking at Scripture, looking at the greatest commandment that

Jesus gives us, to love God and love our neighbor and to realize actually, this story that forms us, the story of God's work in the

world through Jesus Christ, has everything to do with what climate change is doing to God's world. And to my neighbor.


And I'm invited to be a part of responding to that. Yeah, so helpful to understand, I think, when we can just have clarity in our

conversations and clarity is kindness. It may be uncomfortable to just say things the way that they are, but it's kind to us, our

souls, our brains and our bodies, all the integrated forms of that right and the earth that we get to live on that hopefully for

generations we can preserve for those we love and care about. And I think that there are some uniquely American aspects to

this because so many other cultures I've lived in, for example, have been collectivist cultures and this understanding that we

need one another not just to survive, but to thrive. And so.


That implies understanding how we are on this global planet and even in our communities, and it's much data to support that.

Communities around the world that may have less means than, say, for example, the United States does are especially in some

areas that are islands that are at risk for rising sea levels. I mean, these things are impacting parts of the world more than

others. So they get a firsthand look at it, and the way they share the narratives around what's happening can be different. But it

can be really hard on a psychological level to admit we were wrong and we are currently wrong and that people told us things

that aren't true.


It's not comfortable for us to say the media I've consumed, the pastors I've listened to, the books I've read, the community that's

raised me and taught me has been telling me something that was based on maybe greed from ExxonMobil in the 80s. It's a

really hard thing to admit to oneself, and it can feel as though the whole world is spinning out of control to even question that. So

I do want to just hold space for how hard that can be to change one's mind. But I think Gen Z is hopefully helping us to say we

don't live in a world where we can ignore this anymore. They understand it on a different level.


So I have a lot of hope that if we listen to the younger generation, they'll help us. What are you hoping readers can take away

from your book and that will inspire them for climate change action? Yeah, I think that's such an important point. Thank you for

making that and for holding space for that because it is really hard. It is really hard.


And I think one of the reasons I wanted to write the book is because so many young Christians that I was speaking to over the

course of my work were telling me such a similar story about how they came to understand that the stories that they had been

told were incomplete and maybe even false in some circumstances. And how painful it was to recognize that and to kind of walk

the road of listening again to different stories or finding the courage to open yourself up to different sources of information. And I

think one of the things that I hope people might take away who have felt that way is that they're not alone. That they're not alone

in recognizing that some of the stories they may have been told growing up were harmful and were incomplete and were false.

They're not alone in recognizing that the church has been compromised by a lot of those stories, and they're not alone in their

passion for wanting to see the church do better.


I know a lot of young Christians in particular who have done the first step. They've recognized that the stories they've heard are

harmful or wrong, and then they walk away right? And everybody is on their own journey. And if that's what you needed to do for

your own spiritual and physical health and mental health especially, zero judgment, right? I recognize that everybody has their

own story and they have to walk their road.


At the same time, there are a lot of young Christians who grew up with a lot of these stories that we've been talking about who

have recognized how problematic they are and have tried to call that out in the church because they still love the church, right?

They still believe that the church can be what they were taught it is and they were taught it can be. And they want to help the

church be better, and that can be really hard. So one thing that I hope readers can take away is the realization that there are

literally millions of us out there that recognize that the church's stories around creation, around climate change, they've been

deficient for a long, long time. And the church can and should and needs to do better.


And that if you feel alone in calling for that in your church or on your Christian campus or in whatever context you may be in, you

are not. There are so many of us out there that are trying to help the church do better. And that's one of the things I write in the

book, too, is that the work of Christian climate action of trying to do this work as an expression of our discipleship and love of

Jesus has to happen in community. It has to happen in community because it's too hard otherwise. And so one of the things I

hope people are inspired to do is to find your people that might be at your church and it might not.


It might be people you went to high school with that you haven't connected with, but who post interesting things on Facebook

that you kind of resonate with. It might be people from college. It might be people you met at the Earth Day event that you went

to locally last week, right? Whoever they are, find your people and do this work with them. Because there are days when it's

really hard to hold hope that we're going to turn the ship around as quickly as we need to.


And when you have those days, you need people to hold hope for you. And when you are finding it easier to hold hope, you

need to hold that for other people who are having a harder time holding hope. So I hope that people will be encouraged not only

that there are millions of us out there somewhere, but also encouraged to find some of those millions wherever you are in your

community and to do this together. Because it has to be done together. It does have to be done together.


It's too overwhelming even to just picture what it could look like by ourselves. And yet your epilogue in the book is really

beautiful and unusual, and I wanted to just give you a chance to help us have that vision you have as a grandpa and a

granddaughter in the year:

fun writing my epilogue.


So the epilogue is a letter to my imagined one day, perhaps granddaughter. I do. I do have two sons, five and 15 months, and I

date it May:

a couple of reasons.


One, because I think conversations about climate change tend to be far too stuck in the problem and far less often focused on

the opportunities that climate change offers. The opportunities to create a better world, a safer world, a healthier world, a more

vibrant, prosperous world, a world where more people can flourish and thrive, and a world more like how we want it to be, right?

I think the climate movement, quote unquote, however you want to think about that, has been really, really good at helping the

public understand the challenges we face and the dangers in front of us, but far less good at casting a vision for an inspiring

future that we can all create together by taking action. So that was one of the things I wanted to do, was to try to cast a vision

and say, what might the world look like if the church does get its act together and start leading in the ways that it needs to lead

on this issue? And another reason I wanted to do it is because I wanted to model what it looks like to exercise our muscle of



I think imagination is really, really important when it comes to addressing something like climate change, because, like you said,

it is so big, it can be so overwhelming. And I think we have to be able to imagine our way out of it in some senses. We have to

be able to imagine what kind of world we can create by taking action together. So I not only wanted to kind of exercise that

muscle myself, I wanted to model for the reader what it might look like to try to imagine and to cast a positive vision for a future

that we might yet be able to achieve if we can take action. But I didn't want it to be too saccharine.


I wanted it to feel real and honest. I didn't want it to be trite. So I do acknowledge that the world that she lives in is different than

e the world look different in:

we stop emitting greenhouse gases today, there's a lot of warming that's already baked in.


And I grapple with that. I grapple with this idea of how do you hold fear and hope at the same time? Is it a failure to be afraid?

And what does it mean for hope if you're also afraid at the same time? Afraid specifically for the future of my kids and my



So it was a meaningful thing for me to write, and I hope it can help people kind of catch a glimpse for yeah, what does it look

like? To try to imagine the type of future we want to create for ourselves and for the people we love, but also still honor the fact

that even when we have hope and even when we're acting in hope, it's okay to still be afraid? I think sometimes that's the only

time we can have hope is when we're afraid. Because if there aren't circumstances that are causing you to be afraid or to be in

fear, to have fear, then what is that other future you're hoping for to begin with? So I guess I wanted to name that for people and

make it okay for them to if they're feeling afraid, because I do.


Yeah, so good. Yeah, just right before, I mean, this morning when I was talking to my husband, he was reading a Dan Allender

book, and he read out loud this quote to me really close to that. It had to do with risk taking. People who hope take risks and

taking risk. You're afraid, but you actually have this audacity of hope that you believe that this risk is worth it even if you're afraid.


And that's kind of the essence of what hope is. And I thank you for ending the book in this way. It's a beautiful book. To those

listening, pick up this book and read it. It's really well written and full of narratives and compassion for those who may have

some fears around it or are having trouble changing your mind.


And we hold space for all of that here as well. I would love to let people know where to find you. So if you could let people know

where to find more of your writing and keep in touch with you throughout your journey of what is going to be coming out next.

Yes. So you can find a lot of my other writings and get in touch with me if you want to at my website,


You can also find that's the website for my organization, the Evangelical Environmental Network, where I

serve as the vice president. I'm on Twitter. I'm on Instagram, Facebook. So I'm pretty findable as long as you know how to spell

my name. So that's another reason to pick up the book, so that you can read my name off the COVID and you know how to

spell it.


Yes. Oh, my goodness. Thank you so much for being on the show today, for all your work to help our planet be a home for all of

us, for our great grandkids, too. And may it be true that one day your granddaughter can have a vision fulfilled on her

commencement day, where we have done this work together to preserve the world for her. Thanks for being on the show today,



I really appreciate you. Amen. Thanks, Lori. Well, I hope that you were inspired today by just the work that Kyle is doing, the

calls to action. He was inviting us into opportunities to change our minds and be curious as to whether or not the narratives

we've been told were true or false or mixed with some greed from some corporations that had vested interest in us not

understanding the full picture.


And also some theologies that go way back to Hellenistic culture in the first century of the Greco Roman world that may have

not served as well in many areas of separating bodies, souls and minds, not only in the area of climate change, but just

embodying our own healing in various ways. Moving forward in our lives and not understanding how to do that well, based on

separating those. And so as he spoke today, I would be curious to know what stuck out to you when it comes to climate change.

It's rapidly happening. And like we mentioned, Gen Z has a whole different perspective on it than maybe Gen X or Boomers did

because of the way the world has changed, the way storms are coming in different ways, the way places are hotter than they

used to be, the way that snow is piling up in places that it never has.


Just all these various things that are happening that are just different changes on our planet. My family recently, because my

oldest son is a person who's always been very interested in climate change since he was just a little boy, he would check out

books from the library in Singapore when he was just a little shrimp, eight, seven years old and really fascinated by climate

change. And he got us into the show on Apple TV recently. That the last episode just aired on Earth Day, but it's called if you

want to check it out, it's called Extrapolations. No, they do not sponsor this podcast, although if Apple wanted to sponsor my

podcast, I would absolutely welcome that.


But this has some great acting in it. It's eight different interconnected stories in the show called Extrapolations that's told over 33

years to explore how our planet's changing climate will affect family, work, faith, and survival. So if you watch Extrapolations or

you've recently watched it, I'd love to have a little conversation with you on Twitter. Or if you join us in our Patreon community,

we can comment there on this exclusive episode that Kyle ended up hanging around for another question about. I asked him

what was the hardest question or difference he often had to address when he talked with people about climate change.


So he dug deep into that. And so if you're in our Patreon community, or want to join us, you're always welcome for as little as $5

a month and get some free merch if you stick around. But in there, we dig a little deeper into the episodes with our podcast

guests. So Kyle stuck around for that, and I'd love for you to join us there for that conversation. Once again, we need as many

brains around this issue as possible.


Solving the climate change crisis is not going to happen by just one person from one generation who speaks one language and

said, the Paris agreement in:

has a vested interest in keeping the oil production going. So if they're even at the table, then certainly we can be at the table

trying to figure out how we can move forward in a way we're all image bearers around the world, and all of creation can flourish

together for many generations to come. So thank you for being here today. Thank you for listening.


It means a great deal to me. You are making such a world of difference wherever you are, and I would love to hear about the

difference that you're making. Hang in there. Keep doing it, and let us know how we can be inspired by the work that you're

doing, and we'll talk again next week. Bye, everyone.