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Letter to Rex Tillerson 13-08-11 a Place Called Hope

Letter to Rex Tillerson 13-08-11 a Place Called Hope

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Published by Doug Grandt
"A Place Called Hope" - a sermon by First-Plymouth Church sustainability minister Rev. Kim Murrow
"A Place Called Hope" - a sermon by First-Plymouth Church sustainability minister Rev. Kim Murrow

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Published by: Doug Grandt on Aug 12, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 August 11, 2013Douglas A. GrandtPO Box 6603Lincoln, NE 68506 Mr. Rex W. TillersonExxonMobil Corporation5959 Las Colinas Blvd.Irving, TX 75039 Re: A Place Called HopeDear Mr. Tillerson,Today in Lincoln, Nebraska, First-Plymouth Church’s minister of sustainability, Rev. Kim Morrow,gave a compelling, pragmatic and heart-felt sermon. To me, it addressed the highs and lowsI experience frequently during my efforts to address the urgency of climate change and oceanacidification and attempt to avert the impending global disaster.Pastor Kim’s message of hope was clear and understandable and I would like to share it withyou -- I believe you will
it, that your heart and mind are open to try innovative paradigms.The text of Kim’s sermon is attached.
Listen to her here:
 At one point, Kim touched my
. . . and my
and my
and my
:To tell you the truth, I’m finding myself moved to tears more frequently these days.I’ll be reading some dry report, and all of a sudden some detail will jump out at me,and I will be so touched by both the beauty of our human striving, and the utter vulnerability of human civilization in the face of climate change, that I weep.
I hope you will listen and enjoy Kim’s sermon, and that soon you and I will meet to discuss howto
Reinvent -- Replace Refineries with Renewables.
 A Los Angeles street artist named Shepard Fairey made history in 2008. Itwas shortly before Super Tuesday in a historic presidential election primary, andFairey wanted to make a poster of his favorite candidate, Barack Obama. Hemade a simple red, blue and beige screen print of Obama’s upturned face withthe simple word “HOPE” printed at the bottom. He made an initial print run of 300posters and sold them for $45 each. Almost immediately, the image went wildlyviral, appearing all over the internet, on people’s Facebook pages, on t-shirts,buttons, bumper stickers, coffee mugs, knock-off posters and more. Within notime, his posters were being sold on EBay for up to $5,000 a piece, and theimage fueled a remarkable social movement in the media culture of America. Nomatter how you felt about Obama as a candidate, you have to acknowledge thatsomething unprecedented swept up the nation’s zeitgeist that year. It was hope.Somehow that iconic image and the Obama campaign succeeded in tapping intoa giant well of desire that the American people had for a better world. Thesentiment for hope went so stratospherically high that Obama’s opponentsstarted calling it a false Messiah complex, and I think even Obama himself wasrightfully quivering in his boots at ever being able to live up to such expectations.But Shepard Fairey had unwittingly tuned into the transformative power of hope.Hope is ingrained in us. The other morning I was trying to get out the door with my daughters, and I noticed that my 13-year-old, was doing everything withher fingers crossed. She was tying her shoes, handling keys, gathering up her belongings and everything with her first two fingers crossed on each hand. Iasked her why she was doing it. That night she would find out her new schoolschedule for 8
grade. And she was crossing her fingers all day long in hopesthat she would get Mr. Lefler for Social Studies again.We talk a lot about hope in our daily lives, but what does hope mean in atheological sense?Theological hope is really about believing that God is in charge of theworld. That love rules. That life tends toward health, harmony and wholeness.That we are held in the hands of divine providence, and that everything isultimately going to be okay.But to hope, of course, is not always such an easy thing to do. There areplenty of things in our world today that suck hope out of our lives. When personaltragedies occur, we don’t want to hear about any kind of sunny, sentimentalhope. Try saying “everything is going to be fine” to someone whose son has justbeen arrested. Try telling someone who’s just received a diagnosis of stage 4cancer that there’s always something to hope for. Try telling someone who’s justlost a job that they’ve just gotta hope for the best.Try saying everything is going to be just fine when you read the latestState of the Climate Report from the American Metereological Society. Try
thinking hopeful thoughts when you read in a recent edition of Rolling StoneMagazine how the city of Miami is going to be inundated with water from all sidesin the coming decades. There doesn’t seem to be much to hope for when welook at a recent study that shows that climate change could increase armedconflict by 50% worldwide.I’m going to spare you statistics and data about the current state of globalclimate change. I think you all know that as the song goes, “we’ve got trouble inRiver City.” You’ve experienced the unsettlingly unusual weather patterns. Youknow how the Pine Bark beetle has killed millions of acres of trees in Colorado,because it hasn’t been getting cold enough in the winter anymore to kill them off.You know how we’ve had record wildfires in the West that are hotter and bigger and more lethal than the ones we used to have. Perhaps you heard that lastyear’s summer drought put an unprecedented load on our electrical system herein Nebraska as farmers were forced to increase their irrigation to keep their cropsalive. Perhaps you heard how this summer, for the first time, the Arctic North polemarker was surrounded by water instead of ice.Three years ago I decided to focus my ministry on environmentalsustainability because I was so galvanized by what the threat of climate changemeans for human community. As a minister, I’m in the business of helping peopleunderstand who they are and how we can build a better world. And it seemed tome that climate change threatened to scramble some of the very foundations onwhich our human community is built. I had a sense that the religious communitywas uniquely situated to not only provide the moral leadership to the worldthrough such a crisis, but that it had the community-based resources to embraceand invent inspired adaptation strategies. So for three years I have studiedclimate change. I have pored through reports, attended conferences, joinedtraining programs, taken part in community efforts and read most everything Ican find.Often people ask me how I can bear to do this work. They explain that it’stoo depressing and overwhelming for them. That they couldn’t function if theyreally spent more time thinking about it. Even other environmentalists have toldme that they can’t bear to work on climate change! It’s too hard. And you knowwhat? I totally understand that.Mary Pipher is a New York Times-bestselling author, Lincoln resident andtherapist whose newest book,
The Green Boat,
looks at how we can hold ontohope in the face of the environmental crisis. Mary has noticed also how fewpeople want to talk about climate change. They can’t bear to go there in their minds. But as a psychologist, she sees reasons for it: our brains are notdesigned to process information of that magnitude. Our brains are designed toseek food and shelter; to reproduce; spot nearby dangers, and enjoy being withothers. “It’s almost impossible to grasp problems on a global scale with our Neolithic brains,” she writes. So it’s not that people are necessarily in denial; it’s just that
we can’t mentally deal with climate change.
 Sometimes I have my own moments of despair. After a recent conferencein which I listened to discussions about the future viability of the biosphere itself, Iwent back to my room, put my hands over my face and with tears in my eyes

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