April 25, 2007 | Graham

Oh Lord give me strength

In an article entitled “Thou shalt use a toaster” thisislondon.co.uk details how the Church of England has come up with some “Green Commandments” and suggestions for how Anglicans can cut their carbon footprint.
The commandments include:

  • Organise a car-sharing scheme for travelling to and from Sunday worship
  • Book some holiday time from work – but cut transport emissions
    by staying locally and rediscover the interesting features of the
  • Use the toaster rather than the grill when making toast to
    conserve energy
  • Help a churchyard become a ‘green lung’ for the community by
    setting aside a wild area’
  • Review any floodlighting the church has and whether the bulbs
    are energy-efficient and directed at the building rather than the
  • Sign up to stop receiving wasteful junk mail.

No wonder the church is in trouble. Did anyone give any thought to walking to church, or at the least riding a bike, or is the age of the average worshipper so advanced they have to order an ambulance Sunday mornings. And how do you sign-on to “stop receiving wasteful junk mail”?
They might have considered special advice to High Anglicans to stop burning all those candles and switch to gas.
Did the “consultants” who wrote this pamphlett do a proper accounting of the carbon savings on offer? It sounds to me as though they would be a long way short of a 30% reduction by 2020 which is the official British target.
The church isn’t the only organisation in this campaign. Apparently British Gas, Marks and Spencer and Tesco along with five other corporates are along for the ride, but the Anglicans are the only ones whose core business is morality, the others just serve customers what they want.
Looks like we’re in for a tidal wave of conspicuous compassion, but with not much to show for it once it’s washed over.

Posted by Graham at 10:05 pm | Comments (7) |
Filed under: Environment


  1. Human beings did not cause global warming, climate-change, or what ever the wackos are calling it this week.
    And human beings have absolutely no control over natural, cyclic changes in weather. Nothing they do will make a jot of difference.

    Comment by Leigh — April 26, 2007 @ 12:55 pm

  2. And how do you sign-on to “stop receiving wasteful junk mail”?
    one of those mailbox stickers? ticking the ‘don’t add me to mail lists’ box on all forms you fill out? listing yourself on marketing registers you can sign up to for phone, print and net marketers? where there’s a will there’s a way.
    maybe it’s time to consider whether the real reason the church is in trouble is because the idea of a deity is increasingly implausible and definitely unhelpful in these uncertain times where greedy, selfish and aberrant human behavior is the simple root of most misery. God is conspicuous by His absence, busy elsewhere in the universe perhaps.

    Comment by Gianna — April 27, 2007 @ 10:17 am

  3. There’s a “No Junk Mail” sticker on our letter boxes, and that sure generates a lot of junk Gianna.
    I think that you’re right that the church for the most part hasn’t managed to work out how to deal with the Enlightenment. Science seems at first blush too successful in explaining the world. But then you realise that it has limits, and that there is more than enough room for God – a more sophisticated version than the one you lampoon, but one that’s certainly there in the Christian tradition, even though it was conceived by pre-scientific people.

    Comment by Graham Young — April 27, 2007 @ 2:06 pm

  4. Believers always want to make their beliefs seem more sophisticated than those of simple atheists. (Maybe atheists like to think their beliefs are more realistic.)
    It is the Christian God, isn’t it, who came up with the whole idea of human sacrifice, arranging as part of his grand plan for His own son to be killed–the killers “know not what they have done”, since they were just fulfilling their role in God’s plan–in order to save a planetful of alleged sinners. Great plan, God!That’s “sophisticated”?
    Science never “proves” a theory, so of course it can never “prove” there is no God. This doesn’t mean there is one.

    Comment by Gianna — April 28, 2007 @ 8:00 pm

  5. “the Christian God…came up with the whole idea of human sacrifice”? That’s a new one on me, but interesting to see that you think the “Christian God” exists. You need to tell me more about your atheism!

    Comment by Graham Young — April 28, 2007 @ 10:37 pm

  6. oh, i forgot to state the obvious: “according to the mythology of Christianity,…”
    re: new to you – really? surely it’s what is endlessly preached; that Jesus died for our sins, that he was a martyr for us, that this was part of God’s divine plan, etc etc.

    Comment by Gianna — May 7, 2007 @ 11:20 am

  7. Gianna, I don’t think this is the place to have a debate on basic Christianity, but human sacrifice is something which is outside the Judaeo-Christian tradition. It is specifically rejected in Genesis in the story in which Abraham offers to sacrifice his only son Isaac. God refuses the sacrifice and provides a ram.
    At other places in the bible human sacrifice by the Canaanites, for example, is specifically condemned.
    Christ’s death on the cross is in some ways an inversion of the whole idea of human sacrifice. Christians accept that there are higher things than clinging on to one’s own life and that voluntarily giving it for another can be not just a good thing, but the best thing. It’s not unique to Christianity in any way.
    So, I’ve got no idea where you are coming from.

    Comment by Graham Young — May 7, 2007 @ 6:43 pm

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