More red than green : a response to global warming and the environment from within the Methodist Church of Southern Africa
CITATION: Forster, D. A. 2008. More red than green : a response to global warming and the environment from within the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. Epworth Review, 35(2):38-52.
Sadly, environmental concerns have not been high on the agenda of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA). The same can be said of most of the mainline denominations in the region. Whilst the effects of global warming and the impact of environmental destruction have tangible effects on life in Southern Africa there seem to be many more tangible and urgent issues causing the Churches to focus their efforts and energies elsewhere. These socio-economic issues have been labelled as ‘red’ concerns in this paper. They will be considered in greater detail below. In summary, this paper will discuss why the churches in Southern Africa, and the MCSA in particular, have dealt less fully and strategically with ‘green’ concerns, a term used in this paper to refer collectively to environmental matters, and have chosen to focus more acutely upon ‘red’ concerns. It will also consider what the impact of a lack of care for the environment has upon the poorest of South Africa’s population. The paper ends with a number of pointers from African traditional religion and African Christian theology that can hold both ‘red’ and ‘green’ concerns in tension in order to help society work towards a theologically responsible approach to sustainable development.