What I Said At the Parliament of World Religions last month:

I don’t know which comes first – my love for God or my love for creation? Do I love birds and trees and oceans and forests because I love the One who created them, or do I love the Creator because I love this exquisite, precious, fragile, resilient, beautiful earth? I don’t know which comes first, but I do know the two go together.
Global warming is a spiritual issue, a moral issue, and people of faith around the world know it. We know that many of the stories we have been telling ourselves and our children are destructive, harmful, and dangerous.
Our old stories often said that God gave the earth to humans so they could use it for their profit. They said that God would soon destroy the earth, which gave powerful people a license to plunder it as if it were a store going out of business.
Our old stories often said that God chose and favored some to the exclusion and diminishment of others. Men and boys over women and girls, one race or tribe over others, straight over gay, this religion above and over that, the pure and orthodox over the skeptic or different, the rich over the poor.
Or maybe our old stories said that everything was a matter of fate, or that the earth was an impermanent distraction from which we can escape on our own private inner enlightenment vacation while the rest of the world burns.
The earth is singing to us, crying to us … telling us we need to learn and tell a new story, a bigger, better, and more gracious story, rooted in the diverse riches of our various traditions, spoken in the accents of our different cultures, but leading us to common action.
Something is trying to be born among us. Something is trying to take flight, take root, and break free. It is a movement, an urgent multi-faith spiritual movement that looks like the people gathered here – diverse, mutually appreciative, and deeply dedicated.
It has been said that organized religion is dying, and sometimes, that may be a good thing … because the religious industrial complex is often stuck and stagnant, organized for the wrong purposes: self-preservation, protection of privilege, an escape into yesterday or tomorrow rather than an engagement with the fierce urgency of now.
The movement we need must transform organized religions into organizing religions, religions organizing for the common good, religions equipping and deploying people in a global, passionate, dynamic movement to heal the earth and protect all living things.
We can’t treat climate change as just one more problem in a list, one problem unrelated to all others. Rather, we must realize that the burning of fossil fuels is closely related to the combustion of human beings to fuel a destructive economy …

– millions of farm workers sweating in the hot fields for obscenely low pay,
– millions of women of heroic character and dignity whose potential melts away because of selfish and arrogant men who exploit them,
– millions of boys and girls who have neither clean water for their bodies nor a quality education for their minds,
– millions of frightened grandfathers and brokenhearted grandmothers burning in the fever of hate, racism, and war.

Just as many pronounce religion as passe, irrelevant, and dead, suddenly we need religion as never before to come together in saving love to avert climate disaster on planet earth.
If we stop and listen, we will hear the earth and the poor together cry to us, people of faith of many religious traditions, to put our individual and institutional egos aside … to come together in humble, earnest, self-giving zeal, and tell a new, life-giving story of repentance, reconciliation, and regeneration.
If we love God, we will love creation. If we love our children, our grandchildren, and our neighbors, we will love creation. What we love, we honor. What we love we protect. May our religions become what they were meant to be … schools of love that heal and change the world.