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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Part 1: Scholar/author explains environment warning in Bible

Uploaded on Oct 19, 2007
Part #1 of several videos on Dr. Walter Brueggemann's important environment message delivered during October 2007 in northern Michigan.
Future videos include Dr. Brueggemann telling Christians to face up to antisemitism and religious violence.

Biblical scholar warns about consequences of greed, overindulgence, and abuse of the environment - says northern Michigan sulfide mine is losing proposal
Dr. Walter Brueggemann: Christians are in denial over past religious violence, must own antisemitism

(Marquette, Michigan) - Speaking to packed audiences at two northern Michigan events, noted theologian Dr. Walter Brueggemann warned that today's world should change its ways because the "creator will not tolerate the ultimate despoiling of creation."

Speaking to over 400 people in Ishpeming and Marquette, Dr. Brueggemann said historically greed, disregard for the environment and "the violation of the ten commandments will lead to the dismantling of creation."

An expert and prolific author on the Old Testament, Brueggemann quote numerous biblical verses and described the prophets of the time as "poets" who warned about the greedy abuse of nature because people must "view the environment as God's gift that requires responsible management.

The standing room only crowd clapped when he tied abuse of the environment to the proposed sulfide mine near Lake Superior in Marquette County by stating abused land will not produce in the future.

"What this poet knows is that absentee ownership and agribusiness - and you can extrapolate the word mining ... will simply refuse to produce when the land becomes a tradeable commodity and is no longer caressed, and honored and treated with its own particular creation magic," Brueggemann said.

Brueggemann said while he doesn't know the all the details about the proposed sulfide mine he has done "some reading on the crisis of the proposed mining initiative" in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

"It is obviously a case in which the well being of the environment and the well being of the neighborhood are being subordinated to economic interests," Brueggemann said.

"In the bible, the economy is, according to the Torah, kept subordinated to the well being of the
neighborhood," Brueggemann said. "This seems to me a case in which economic interests want to overpower the concerns of the neighborhood."

"From the perspective of biblical faith, that is always a loser," Brueggemann said.

Speaking to about 200 people Tuesday night (Oct. 9) at the Bethany Lutheran Church in Ishpeming, Brueggemann said in the New Testament Jesus fed people with loaves of bread warning his followers about the evil ways of greedy pharaohs.

Brueggemann said "for the sake of the common good - for good health care policy, good schools, for better housing - the work of the neighborhood depends upon the power of the dream to dream outside the pharaoh's regime of anxiety."

Rev. Warren Geier, pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church in Ishpeming, said in all Dr. Brueggemann's talks the theologian "highlighted that God's intention for the world, as articulated in the Ten Commandments, is that we live in relationship with God and with the neighbor."

This can't be done without respect and care for the 'neighborhood' which is the earth, God's gift of creation," said Geier, who organized Brueggemann's U.P. visit.

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