The JRI annual conference in association with A Rocha and Redcliffe College is to be held on Saturday 7th March at Wotton House, Gloucester and, as expected, its theme – Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change – is generating a lot of interest. The ‘Early Bird Discount’ price of £38 per delegate is only available for bookings made before 31st January. So to be sure of your place, and to take advantage of the lower price, please BOOK SOON. Further details and the booking form download are available from the conference page on this website or if you want to go straight to the booking form download click here.
The John Ray Initiative is pleased to announce the publication of Briefing Paper No. 30 by the Chair of JRI, Dr John Weaver. “Is Fracking Good For Us? – Energy Security, Energy Prices and the Environment” presents the current estimations for the potential of shale gas provision in the UK, and also the environmental concerns raised by the process for its extraction. The possible contribution that fracking for shale gas may present to meet the UK’s future energy needs is set beside the commitment to achieve lower carbon-based fuel supplies and increased renewable energy targets. Energy security needs world-wide are explored alongside the greater threat of irreversible climate-change. A Biblical perspective contributes to the debate on the question “What then is the Christian response to fracking?” and provides a challenge to Christian discipleship. This is an 8 page document in pdf format which can be downloaded here (right-click to select option to open in new window)
A Rocha have now posted all the talks and the associated resources from the ‘Hope for Planet Earth – A Christian response to climate change’ tours in 2008 an 2009 on their web site: http://atyourservice.arocha.org/en/hope-for-planet-earth-a-christian-response-to-climate-change/ and JRI also have a page on this site giving some additional details, including how to obtain a hard-copy DVD of the presentations which may be of use when sharing the material in group settings.
JRI is pleased to announce that booking is now open for their annual conference in association with Redcliffe College and A Rocha. “Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change” Environment Day Conference will be held at Redcliffe College Gloucester on Saturday 7th March 2015. The conference has drawn together scientists, theologians and other professionals to give us a snap shot of where we currently stand on climate change. The main speakers are Mike Morecroft, Allan Findlay and Michael Northcott, and seminars will be led by Sir John Houghton, Andy Kingston-Smith, Caroline Pomeroy, John Weaver, Sara Wiggins and Billie Anderson. Further details and links to book are available on this page on our site and a copy of the conference leaflet (pdf) can be downloaded here. Book early as we expect places to fill quickly!
In his book Who Is to Blame? Disasters, Nature and Acts of God (Oxford, UK and Grand Rapids: Monarch Books, 2014) Bob White presents a most helpful exploration of theodicy – defending the idea of a just and loving God in the face of what seems contrary evidence.
We have little problem in identifying where human beings, given freedom by God, act sinfully and cause the suffering of the innocent (‘moral evil’), but cases of disease and the tragedy of natural disasters are far more difficult to explain. We cannot begin to deal with these problems without asking serious questions about how we believe that God acts in the world, and this involves both a theological and a scientific perspective.
With the help of modern science we are able to predict where and when natural disasters are likely to take place. So countries which are rich in resources and technology could counter such anticipated problems and avoid the worst effects if they had the will-power to accept the economic costs; for example, houses need not be built on an earthquake fault, and farmers need not farm on the side of Mount Etna. Poorer countries have less choice and are less able to take evasive action. Unless developed countries are willing to share their wealth, living space and expertise with others less advantaged, large populations will go on living – for example – on the coastal flood plains of Bangladesh. Thus, when we raise the moral question of the goodness of God, we recognise that this also involves a moral issue for us. It is often a matter of justice.
Bob addresses these questions, while also addressing the ‘elephant in the room’ – population growth, which is a contributory factor in extent of many disasters.
Keith Innes provides a useful review of the book, which can be read here on the JRI website.
– Natalism and Bible Interpretation in Modern America
Religion is a wildcard in shaping birth rates. The normal factors that affect “ideal family size” e.g. women’s education & access to contraception, don’t much influence affluent American fundamentalists who (wrongly) interpret Bible verses like “be fruitful and multiply” as a divine desire today for high fecundity and big families. Happily, history shows that even fundamentalists’ interpretations can change (e.g. regarding slavery). JRI Associate Dr John McKeown has tackled this topic in his book “God’s Babies” which JRI are pleased to promote
“God’s first words to Adam and Eve recorded in Genesis 1 v 28 were ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth….’ John McKeown in his book ‘God’s Babies’ takes these words and the many related references in the Bible and in Christian literature over the years and carefully discusses how Christians should apply them today in our increasingly crowded and damaged world. It is a subject of important relevance that we Christians today need to take on board. John’s thorough and careful treatise provides a good basis from which to begin.”
— Sir John Houghton CBE FRS
There is more information about this book from this page on our site, and it can be obtained from http://www.openbookpublishers.com/product/263/gods-babies–natalism-and-bible-interpretation-in-modern-america