My family was privileged to get abroad last summer to Sardinia. As we arrived at our rental apartment, we spotted a handwritten sign reminding us to shut the gate to keep wild boar out – danger! We dutifully made sure the gate was kept closed and bolted. Two days into the holiday, my teens went for an evening stroll down to the beach, to watch for shooting stars. However, within minutes they came racing back to the house in a state of panic, having stumbled across a large wild boar on a similar night excursion. When I asked my son why he was so surprised, considering the warning sign in our garden, he replied, ‘Well, you just don’t think it will happen to you.’
This optimism bias is magnificently displayed in Jesus’ story of the wise and foolish builders (Matthew 7:24-29). My Messy Church Goes Wild explored this bible story recently as part of a ‘Wild and rocky’ Messy Adventure. I pondered on the foolish builder’s story. The warning signs were all around, and yet he continued down the easier path of building a house on the sandy flood plain. Did this builder optimistically think the inevitable rains would never come? I found it easy to scoff at the lack of firm foundations and feel superior that I would obviously have chosen to build on the rock, however, there’s something about human nature that ignores the warning signs.
This got me thinking about climate change. The warning signs are all around us. The world is experiencing more natural disasters because of extreme weather events: droughts, wildfires and flash flooding. We shouldn’t be surprised. We’ve known about this for decades. We hypothesised about global warming during my school years in the 1980s, however, I’ve now lived long enough for these events to become a reality.
So why is it so hard to change my habits and consume less water, energy, and plastic? Like the foolish builder, I have opted for ease and convenience within my lifestyle as the consequences seem so remote and far off. I’m particularly inspired by the Bland family’s effort to do their bit for the environment, described in the case study in chapter nine of Messy Church Goes Wild. The key thing is to start with small steps.
What small changes your Messy Church could make in order to care better for God’s creation?
Sadly, the issue of climate change will not go away if ignored. As international governments gather for COP27 in Egypt this November, let’s commit to praying for our political leaders to make bold commitments that will protect our planet. However, we all must start making changes and I’m going to keep talking about how we need to make our lifestyles and Messy Churches more sustainable, so beware of the bore!
BRF Messy Church ministry lead
Photo of boar warning sign © Aike Kennett-Brown BRF.