Christian Anarchy in the UK

Fundamentally, I believe in tolerance. But since I’m tolerant, I’m not going to preach it. However since I’m a fundamentalist about tolerance, I’m not going to tolerate anyone preaching fundamentalism.

It doesn’t take a psychoanalyst to understand the tension implicit in those last sentences. And yet Christian Anarchists live with this complex, tortuous position every day, while remaining really well-balanced, considering.

One of the largest turn-off problems with American Christianity, (you know, the big tent, amplified preaching, missionary movement, that forces you into a corner and tells you to believe), is the underlying problem of homogenity.

I don’t mean homosexuality, although that is another very tense corner of the mindset. I mean uniformity, conformity, conversion to a formulaic catechism.

Some of the most intelligent, well-motivated people in the Climate Change social movement are Christian Anarchists. Acting as the yeast within the dough, but not changing the flour. Living unsegregated to a faith ghetto, living in the world, and influencing it, but not compromised by it. Living as the people of God, loving instead of correcting, serving without sermonising.

Many of my closest friends have chided me for being so up-front and explanatory about my faith and my science and my politics, accusing me of trying to convert them.

But you’ve got to understand something : there’s so much bad and unhelpful messaging amongst humankind that it’s hard to hold one’s tongue.

There are matters in life that are matters of belief, and I sincerely respect what other people hold dear, and I don’t think it’s doing God’s will to try to enforce a mindset on others, particularly as you can’t really change someone else’s beliefs.

There’s no admission that even amongst Christianity there is a range of depths of belief, and a range of things believed. Honestly poll a churchful of Christians about the Evangelical creed and I can guarantee you you wouldn’t get concordance.

The thing about Christians is that, generally, they know what they are supposed to believe, as they have had decades of indoctrination. But ask them what they accept genuinely, and the answers could well fall short of the gold standard.

But apart from belief, there are facts, and a daily bombardment of messaging from many sources tends to cloud facts with a kind of retail attitude to every idea. Everyone is trying to sell you their products, their ideas and their cause. They’re selling Jesus again, especially with preacher-speaker DVDs.

The latest tactic of the Climate Change Deniers is to accuse Climate Change scientists, activists, proponents and expositors of “belief” in Climate Change.

They say that our messaging is one of “faith” and not facts. But the facts are continuing to bounce back and skewer them.

There is still a desperate need for factually correct Climate Change communications, done in a non-preachy way, done in a non-judgemental way.

The reason is that there is a barrage of myths about the mitigation of Global Warming, about what it will imply for human society. Plus there is a whole baleload of falsely optimistic narratives about big-ticket construction-project technology that simply doesn’t help.

Here’s a sample conversation from the Liverpool Street Station to Chingford overground train yesterday evening.

I strike up a conversation with a handsome fellow passenger, and offer him a copy of NOT THE Financial Times. He reads for a while, sometimes getting the humour, pausing over some of the words, reflecting on why the newspaper has been published.

After letting him inwardly digest for a while, I explain to him that the paper is connected to the people that brought you the film The Age of Stupid. Then I try to engage him on the issues. It was a fairly constructive conversation, and yet it had blockages.

Blockage Number 1 : My conversatorial partner believes that Energy waste can be tackled by measures such as Recycling.

I explain that Recycling is almost worthless, as we would do better not to create the waste in the first place. I also explain that the Energy implications of Recycling are very small, compared to Energy waste in heating and electricity and transport.

Blockage Number 2 : My conversatorial partner believes in the “energy mix” argument – that we have to continue using all forms of Energy – since Renewables cannot possibly satisfy our needs.

I ask him if he’s done the calculations. I ask him to read Zero Carbon Britain, a strategy that involves cutting Energy use and increasing Renewables development.

Blockage Number 3 : My conservatorial partner believes that new Nuclear Power will help with Climate Change.

I explain that the current auction of new Nuclear sites is on such a small scale that it can only be considered a replacement programme, not a scaling up of the technology. As such, it cannot possibly help with Climate Change. I explain that within 40 years, the supply of Uranium could be seriously stressed if the whole world plumps for new Nuclear.

Blockage Number 4 : My conversatorial partner believes that he can dismiss the use of Renewable Energy because wind turbines are not very efficient.

I explain that there’s one key fact that eludes most commentators : in Renewable Energy technologies, the fuel is free. This means that it doesn’t matter how much wind a wind turbine captures. By comparison, if I burn Coal at 45% efficiency, I have wasted 55%. And that costs money.

Blockage Number 5 : My conversatorial partner believes that it is expensive to build Renewables, which is ruling out building them.

I explain that all new Energy infrastructure requires serious capital up-front investment, whether public or private.

I explain that by 2050 the world will probably have to spend something in the region of 45 trillion US dollars on new Energy plant and infrastructure, anyway, because old plant has to be closed down. So the new might as well be green. Especially since there are problems with various peaks, such as Peak Oil and Peak Uranium, where supply will fall below demand.

And so, you see, people have not had enough information about Climate Change and Energy. And so, you see, I have to continue to shout about it.

I hope I am doing this in a peaceful way, as a foil to the onslaught of the violence of modern environmental destruction and the enforced chaos of social dissolution through gross injustices.

May you know peace and be satisfied with your own variety of beliefs.

May you act in peace to challenge the inhumanity and insanity of man.

May we all learn to respect and protect Life on Earth.

May we find a way to cooperate in true freedom.

Christian Anarchists in the UK are inviting all Christians to join them in communion on 1st April at the G20 Climate Camp in the City of London.

This was received by e-mail :-

“…so here’s a basic suggestion for Climate Camp on 1st April: Everyone please bring as much food and drink as you can, a heap of sweets to give out (but not too quickly!), a small bread roll and a small plastic bottle containing red wine, to be kept separate! (3 Guesses). Once the crowd assembles, bang on 12.30 (not 12noon as originally advertised!) we’ll find each other as fast as possible and figure out our numbers. We’ll try and mark a space on the ground with chalk or bags or something, and once everything is vaguely calm, we’ll have a quick pray before taking part in whatever workshops materialise. Then at about 7-8pm, communion!”

Another e-mail :-

“Wednesday 1st – 2nd April. Climate camp is descending on the City to highlight the problems of carbon trading. See http://www.climatecamp.org.uk/g20. Christians will be taking part and supporting the action in prayer and presence. Again, let me know if you’re coming so we can meet up. Bring lots of food and water, and a pop-up tent & sleeping bag and even more food and water if you’re staying for the 24hrs. I’ll be bringing a ruck-sack full of vegan chocolate cake!”

I’m wondering if the Archbishop of Canterbury will be taking part :-

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7964880.stm

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1164946/God-wont-protect-humanity-environmental-doomsday-warns-Archbishop.html

Ni Dieu, Ni Maître (a very loose translation)
Léo Ferré

La cigarette sans cravate
Qu’on fume à l’aube démocrate
Et le remords des cous-de-jatte
Avec la peur qui tend la patte
Le ministère de ce prêtre
Et la pitié à la fenêtre
Et le client qui n’a peut-être
Ni Dieu ni maître

This rebellious smoking without the right jacket on
That smolders at the Dawn of Democracy;
The regrets of those in neck-ties
Who dealt the fear card, which held you back;
The religious delivery of this sermon
Throwing pity out of the window
Along with the congregation who, perhaps, had
Neither God nor Master.

Le fardeau blême qu’on emballe
Comme un paquet vers les étoiles
Qui tombent froides sur la dalle
Et cette rose sans pétales
Cet avocat à la serviette
Cette aube qui met la voilette
Pour des larmes qui n’ont peut-être
Ni Dieu ni maître

The feeble torch that you bear
Like a standard to the stars,
Those who fall cold on the road;
And this crushed rose without its petals,
That this lawyer flushed away,
This Dawn which casts a veil
Over those tears of sadness which, perhaps, have
Neither God nor Master.

Ces bois que l’on dit de justice
Et qui poussent dans les supplices
Et pour meubler le sacrifice
Avec le sapin de service
Cette procédure qui guette
Ceux que la société rejette
Sous prétexte qu’ils n’ont peut-être
Ni Dieu ni maître

These wooden placards that speak to one of justice
Which forge forward with demands,
And will decorate personal sacrifice
With the wooden lumpen crucifiction of service to violence;
This process which spies out and conscripts
Those which society rejects
Under the pretext that, maybe, they have
Neither God nor Master.

Cette parole d’Evangile
Qui fait plier les imbéciles
Et qui met dans l’horreur civile
De la noblesse et puis du style
Ce cri qui n’a pas la rosette
Cette parole de prophète
Je la revendique et vous souhaite
Ni Dieu ni maître

This Gospel message of revolution
That bends stupid minds,
And implants, imputes in civil horror
Nobility and then fashionable adherence;
This shout that does not bear an election rosette,
This word of the True Prophet;
I assert and I wish you all
Neither God nor Master.

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