Nigeria: Climate change is not the problem of the poor alone…

Reflection to #fastfortheclimate on August 1, 2014 Fasting: Climate Change is a Global Threat From t

Norway: Fast for Climate Justice should lead to a fossil fuel fast

A reflection to Fast for the Climate Justice on August 1 by Einar Tjelle, Norway Fasting for Climate

LWF Council in Indonesia to join the #fastfortheclimate

by Terri Miller, LWF Council members of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) expressed solidarity wit

 

Nigeria: Climate change is not the problem of the poor alone…

July 31, 2014 in Africa, Climate Justice, Fast for the Climate, Tools, UN

Reflection to #fastfortheclimate on August 1, 2014

Fasting: Climate Change is a Global Threat

From the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria (LCCN)

God the creator of all humankind is the helper of the poor, helpless, and God can vindicate the innocent. Fasting is an intentional self-denial or abstinence from food, drink of any substances; fast is done for a particular threat being faced by people. Fast is a form of prayer that draws people closer to God, through self-discipline, voluntary suffering of the body, spirit, and soul. People call upon God to intervene, they gather up themselves; cry out religiously to be rescued from crisis and calamity by God (Ps. 18:6; 34:6; 130:2). It is a means of drawing closer and devoting self to God. The poor and the vulnerable call out for justice by intimating humankind with urgent need for care of creation. Climate change is not the problem of the poor alone, therefore, requires a collective response. The effect of the threat cuts across therefore includes those who think they are secured.

Period for fast varies by days, weeks, and months and even for years. Fast could either be absolute or partial whereby a person stops eating, or drinking one particular food or drink. Absolute fast similar to that of (Esther 4:15-5:8), the intention and encouragement is to seek for God’s favorable move in response to one’s petition over calamity, conflict, and crisis. A person cleanses, clears up self for purposeful spiritual-thinking-connection. As we can see how, human beings can also involve in fasting to achieve economic and political objective, (hunger-food strike) a nonviolent complaining and drawing attention to a particular situation.

LWF Council Members from Madagascar join the #Fastfortheclimate

Absolute fast is practiced by both Christians and Muslims in Nigeria. This brings spiritual discipline for people involved in whether (absolute and partial fast). No matter what reasons people have for engaging in fast, their central point is seeking for God’s will, help, guidance, protection, and intervention in their current circumstances. In Nigeria, this is practiced by people, regardless of their diverse religious and cultural differences, when faced with conflict or calamity people engage in fast.

Biblical, self-affliction in order to seek for God’s favor, for example, Nineveh fasted and averted God’s immediate punishment (Jonah 3:5-10).

Through fasting a person comes closer to God and does not see worldly things as important again, rather turns absolutely to God.

When the rich, the powerful, and the poor fast together in solidarity, they share with one another common human suffering (the King of Nineveh and his subjects). There are certain things that self-meditation alone cannot change; as a result, people willingly give themselves to God’s guidance and to have intimate relationship with Him. Jesus says in (Mk. 9:28) some of these calamities and diseases cannot be healed without prayers. Self-suffering and prayers enable one to grow spiritually and in the end brings victory.

When people approach a major threat confronting them, they seek for God’s favor in removing such problem. Today, the world is faced with rapid climate change, human life is in danger.

This threat does not discriminate based on religious, racial, social, continental, or political affiliations.

People are being killed in thousands daily through conflict, diseases, natural disasters. But climate change is going to be more destructive than any of these factors in human history.

Nigerians have a powerful concept of causation of problems that affects people. Any wrong-doing to the nature, ancestors, and God, it brings God’s wrath and suffering upon the individual, family and community. Traditionally, there are mediating divinities, as Christians, people contact God directly through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, when they are faced with calamities such shortage of rainfall/draught, floods, locusts, disease outbreak, and other natural disasters. Communities engage in fasting in order to avert such as calamities or sins through confession, repentance practiced as a sign of obedience to the Most High (Neh. 9:1-2; Ezra 8:21-23; Joel 1:13-14). This practice can also happen with individuals facing specific problems in their lives. Suffering or spending time in solitude cleanses and purifies self and enables a person to intentionally name her/his problems before God.

Nigeria faces the threat of desert encroachment, food shortage, rivers and wells that have never dried up for many years past have dried up this year. As Christians, we fast consistently to face our current challenges. Therefore, as God’s people and on behalf of the entire creation, let all humankind make common cause of safeguarding and restoring love for nature, peace, justice, and freedom.

God always listens. Amen.

Rev. Sekenwa Moses Briska PhD

Bronnum Lutheran Seminary Mbamba, Yola

Nigeria

Norway: Fast for Climate Justice should lead to a fossil fuel fast

July 31, 2014 in Climate Justice, Ecumenism, Europe, Fast for the Climate, UN

A reflection to Fast for the Climate Justice on August 1

by Einar Tjelle, Norway

Fasting for Climate Justice -

Spirituality versus Advocacy?

Spiritual fasting versus advocacy fasting? Is it a contradiction? I don`t think so. On the contrary, a spiritual approach could initiate and empower an urgent ethical and political global journey towards climate justice.  Faith without works is dead, according to James ch. 2. Personally, I findprayer and spiritual fasting to be a source for a praxis-oriented commitment for climate justice.

Most of our fellow human beings belong to a faith-tradition. But it`s not obvious that faith and social attitudes and commitments are interlinked. Not in a Lutheran context either.  A possible pitfall for a church is to be only a spiritual or a ritualistic church. Or on the contrary, a church only engaged in activism and political engagement. Both are false representations of who and what we are as a church.  However, I think there is an empowering dynamic between these two. An important bridge has to be established between the spiritual fasting and the advocacy (political) fasting.  For me the prophet Isaiah provides a strong message in chapter 58, on what proper fast is all about:

Is it a fast that I have chosen,
A day for a man to afflict his soul?

2014: LWF Council members from Bangladesh join the #fastfortheclimate

Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush,
And to spread out sackcloth and ashes?
Would you call this a fast,
And an acceptable day to the Lord?

6 “Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

The increase of climate change is a direct result of our fossil fuel driven economy, as well as egocentric consumerism.

The negative effects of climate changes are already felt around the world. In Norway and other rich countries as well. But most problems and even deaths are appearing in the most vulnerable societies, countries with a minimum of excessive emissions. This is what the prophet Isaiah named as yokes and bonds of wickedness. An this is what we today call Climate Injustice.

A fasting-praxis, such as not eating or not using fossil fuel for one day, does not make a big difference in and of itself. But it is a kind of bodily language, a symbolic language, with a potential to enable a redirection:

See more clearly. Listen more carefully to the voice of God. And the voices of the most vulnerable.

Maybe they represent the same voice. Take action.

In our Norwegian context, a Fast for Climate Justice, should lead to a fossil fuel fast in the years to come.

We urgently need radical mitigation, a green energy shift, necessary divestment and green investments in our huge national pension fund. This is the urgent political approach.  But also a journey towards a simpler life, and a fair distribution of wealth and resources.

Fasting is about  redirection and justice. On the first of August I will fast for climate justice.

Einar Tjelle

Deputy General Secretary, Church of Norway Council on Ecumenical and International relations

www.facebook.com/klimarettferdighet

LWF Council in Indonesia to join the #fastfortheclimate

June 16, 2014 in Asia/Pacific, Climate Justice, Ecumenism, Fast for the Climate, Tools, UN, Youth participation

by Terri Miller, LWF

Council members of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) expressed solidarity with the people most affected by climate change and severe weather events by joining in the Fast for the Climate campaign and calling upon the Lutheran Communion to join the campaign. More than 100 people, LWF Council members, observers and staff, fasted lunch on Friday, 13. June 2014. With this symbolic action, LWF underlines the urgency of a concrete international agreement for climate justice.

The interfaith campaign “Fasting for the Climate” was initiated by the LWF delegation at the UN Climate Conference (COP19) meeting in Warsaw, Poland in 2013. At that conference, delegate Yep Sano, whose family in the Phillipines had been severely by typhoon Haiyan, started fasting to urge for climate action. The interfaith campaign has been taken up worldwide, with people fasting on the first day of the month. “There are thousands supporting that action worldwide, and our numbers are growing,” LWF vice-president Bishop Dr. h.c. Frank-Otfried July said. “We will fast every month – until the start of the UN climate conference in Lima in December 2014.

“We call to voluntarily fast for the climate for those who are able to. It is a call to join in solidarity with all those with deep hunger for both: food and change, both rooted in climate justice today” LWF vice-president for Africa, presiding Bishop Alex G. Malasusa said, adding that for many people, fasting is not a choice because they are “imposed to starvation every day”.

“We understand it as a moral responsibility to build awareness for climate justice,” Council member Warime Guti from Papua New Guinea said. He indirectly referred to the call by UN Executive Secretary  Christina Figueres who recently urged religious institutions worldwide to “find their voice and set their moral compass on one of the great humanitarian issues of our time”.

LWF has been advocating for climate justice on a global level since the LWF Assembly 2010 in Stuttgart, Germany. Bishop Tamas Fabiny, LWF vice-president for Central Eastern Europe, called upon governments and leaders to act for climate justice. “Being citizens of this world we need to speak about about their climate change politics”. LWF would not stop advocating for climate justice. LWF president Bishop Munib A. Younan closed the fasting action with a prayer, recalling the spiritual dimension of fasting.

See more at: http://www.lutheranworld.org/blog/lwf-council-shares-fasting-climate#sthash.TFAlYpIM.dpuf

what, who, why, when… to #fastfortheclimate

May 30, 2014 in Climate Justice, Eco Justice, Ecumenism, Fast for the Climate, Life, LWF, Poverty, Tools, UN

Are you hungry for climate justice?

Then you are invited to again #fastfortheclimate this Sunday, June 1, together with thousands around the world!

Why fasting for the climate?

 This ongoing fast seeks to send a message to governments that people from all walks of life, from all corners of the globe, expect climate action. Already, millions of people have lost their homes and livelihoods as a result of climate change. Yet government action remains profoundly inadequate towards a safe and just future for people and the planet.

How to fast?

Our understanding of fasting is going without something voluntarily. In this case we are mainly talking about going without food. Most of us are fasting on the first of each month, for 24 hours. But there is no right or wrong way to do it. Some people are skipping a meal together once a month. Some people are fasting from carbon consumption and production. Some people are fasting from food waste.

If you’ve never fasted before, here are a few tips:

Fasting for a day from time to time doesn’t harm your health and many people believe it is beneficial to your health. But, if you are suffering from any serious health problems, do check with your doctor before fasting.

  • Don’t eat too much the day before, but ease yourself into it with a light meal beforehand so it isn’t too much of a shock for your body.
  • While you are fasting, drink plenty of water, or tea if you prefer.
  • Fast with someone else, fasting is normally a deep personal experience, but sometimes it’s good to talk through it with someone else.
  • When you break your fast, ease yourself gently into eating again with a small amount of light food first.
  • Use your body’s feelings of hunger to remind you of your purpose and focus on the reasons for your fast instead of the temporal feelings of hunger.

 

Who else is fasting?

Since the launch of the Website www.fastfortheclimate.org many more global organizations, artists and leaders have joined the fast.

New fasters are for example….

Organisations: Religions for Peace Peru,  Global Climate Fast (US), Canadian Council of Churches, French Council of Churches, Latin American and Caribbean Communication Agency, the P3 Foundation (NZ), Clean Air Carolina (US),

Musicians: Los Aterciopelados (BR), Desert Rose (SA) and DJ Spookey (US)

Personalities: Ekedy Sinha (priestess of the afro-brazilian Candomblé religion), Rafael Soares de Oliveira(Executive Director of KOINONIA), Nicolas Hulot (Special Envoy for the Planet of the French President and President of the Nicolas Hulot Foundation for Nature and Man), Bishop Marc Stenger – (representing the Catholic Conference of Bishops in France), Nicolas Kazarian (representing the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops in France)

Tareq Oubrou (Great Imam of Bordeaux from the Great Mosque of Bordeaux), Morgane Créach ( Director of the Climate Action Network France)

 

Where can I find more information?

There was a well discussed article in The Guardian that you can read here http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2014/may/09/climate-change-yeb-sano-fasting-campaign

And the Fast is also an answer to the call for religious voices in the climate talks, as described by UNFCCC Exec. Secretary Christiana Figueres: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/may/07/faith-leaders-voice-climate-change?CMP=twt_gu

An international Press Conference will be held on June 4 in Paris, organised by Martin Kopp, LWF delegate to the COP and Laura Morosini from Christians United for the Earth with speakers Yeb Sano, Nicholas Hulot and François Clavairoly. This is extremely important as France will host the 21st UN Conference of Parties on Climate Change in Paris next year.

 

To follow the news see the official Websites and Social Media

www.facebook.com/fastfortheclimate

http://www.lutheranworld.org/fastfortheclimate

https://www.facebook.com/fastfortheclimate?fref=ts

Thanks for joining, spreading the word, praying and fasting this Sunday!

Yours, in Christ

Caroline Richter, LWF Youth Secretary