The moment has come for the churches to be prophetic


by Ruth Jarman, Operation Noah Board member

‘You cannot serve God and mammon’ (Matthew 6:24)

We all try, though, don’t we? And I reckon I do quite a good job at it. How about thinking of it another way? Can mammon, or money, serve both us and God?

I guess that it is a job for Churches, entrenched as they are in our economic growth-worshipping society, to try and make any money they have serve God’s purposes. So they run soup kitchens, care for the needy, foster community, evangelise and maintain their beautiful places of worship.

I’d never properly realised before this campaign, but the Church has other money, which sits in investments, making money for pensions and other rainy day things. The thing is, this money doesn’t just provide an income: it is put to work by the companies that have it. So we have two questions. Firstly, does it matter how it is put to work, and secondly, if it does, is financing the exploration for and mining of fossil fuels a good use of the Church’s money?

The Churches have already answered the first question. They no longer invest in gambling and pornography, and recently Justin Welby said he wants to disinvest from financing the payday loan company, Wonga. They have already decided they don’t want to profit from immoral activities.


Photo credit: pina messina on Unsplash

On the second question, for me the answer is clearly ‘no’. We have enough known reserves of fossil fuels to wreck between three and five planets. All you need is the first verse of the Bible – if God created our world, it’s got to be wrong to de-create it. So it’s got to be wrong to mine and explore for fossil fuels.

As Bill McKibben says in his brilliant 350.org Do The Math video: ‘If it’s wrong to wreck the climate, it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage.’ The Churches must disinvest from fossil fuels. And they need to do it quickly enough to lead the rest of society to do it too.

Wake up, Churches! Your moment has come to be prophetic. Disinvesting from fossil fuels could be the start of something big. Fancy it becoming no longer economically viable to wreck the future and kill the unborn? Maybe a way off, but Bright Now is making a start. Join us.

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Ruth Jarman

Ruth read chemistry at Oxford before her career in the semiconductor industry. She is a trustee of Christian Ecology Link and lives in Hampshire with her husband and three children. She attends the local evangelical C of E church.