In a back bedroom of the house where I grew up, the previous owners had glued to the wall a large, detailed map of coastal Southeast Louisiana, dated 1931. I loved to study the map and to learn the names of all of the lakes, islands and bayous south of my home in New Orleans. As a young adult, I realized that there had been many changes to this fragile region which were not reflected in the map. I was sad a few years ago when my mother had the room repainted and the map was stripped away. The same thing has happened to much of the land it depicted, stripped away by coastal erosion and sea level rise due to warming oceans.
As a pastor, I am called to consider not simply changes to land, sea, or weather patterns, but most of all to consider the lives affected, and in the case of the climate crisis, this means all of our lives. During my sabbatical in 2020, my wife and I spent several weeks as guests of the Protestant Church in Kiribati, a Central Pacific nation made up entirely of low-lying coral atolls. Children born there today are not expected to live out their lifetime in their home country because of rising sea level. We bring with us now their stories of commitment, disappointment, betrayal, and hope. Though their lives seem much different than our own, we are united by faith in God’s care, by a common challenge of how to speak truth to power, and by the need to lead our people with courage into a future that will compel us to change in many ways.
Rev. Dean Lindsey will join GIPl and Columbia Theological Seminary to offer a Lunch n’ Learn on Monday, March 16, 2020 at 12:00pm. The topic is Preaching the Climate Crisis. Click here for more details and to register.
Rev. Lindsey has served as Sr. Pastor at State College Presbyterian Church in mid-September, 2013. He previously served churches in Chicago, IL suburb, Clarendon Hills, Salem, VA, Houston, TX, and Monroe, LA. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree (Summa Cum Laude) from Vanderbilt University in 1982, a Master of Divinity degree from Yale University in 1986, and his doctorate from Columbia Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 2010.