You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Hear Austin’s clergy preach need for clean water at annual Preach-Off


When someone (who doesn’t already know that I’m a rabbi) asks me, “What religion are you,” chances are they want insight into information like, “What denomination or church do you attend,” or “What holidays you celebrate,” or “What do you believe happens to you after you die?” In other words, when Americans think of “religion,” they typically first think of matters of ritual, prayer and belief. For someone not personally engaged in a particular faith tradition, it makes sense that those are the things their intention is drawn to first.

But “prayer, ritual and belief” is a very narrow picture of what an engaged, authentic religious life is like. For people of faith across the planet, acts including visiting the sick, giving charity, comforting mourners, loving all people, upholding the integrity of scientific truth and expanding access to health care for the poor are deeply religious acts.

And increasingly, we can add “protecting the planet” to that list of religious commitments.

For some, religious environmentalism is about cherishing God’s creation. For others, it’s about protecting the poor who are already disproportionately impacted by droughts, extreme weather events and rising sea levels driven by climate change. But whatever the underlying theology, increasing numbers of mainstream, American religious denominations are issuing environmental statements and engaging in political advocacy around climate change policy, clean energy, sustainability and more.

Many Austin congregations now have Green Teams that work to maximize their congregation’s sustainability and minimize its environmental footprint. For some, like my own Congregation Beth Israel, a commitment to sustainability has included “going solar” for a portion of our electricity needs.

Austin’s Interfaith Environmental Network has been working since 2009 to create community around the intersection of religion and environmental stewardship. Through a mix of advocacy, education and hands-on service, Austinites of diverse backgrounds join in helping to heal our injured world – all while having fun and forging new friendships.

One highlight of IEN’s program is our annual Clergy Climate Preach-Off. We invite a very diverse, interfaith group of local clergy to deliver sermons of no more than 5 minutes each on a theme connected to their particular tradition. A distinguished panel of “judges” rates each sermon. It’s thought-provoking, fun and inspiring.

This year’s theme is “Water Is Life.” Our speakers will explore the deep resonance that water holds in their religious traditions and how that resonance can direct our energies toward a future where water remains clean, plentiful and life-sustaining for all living things.

As W.H. Auden once said, “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” Whether or not you consider yourself “religious” in any conventional way, we’d love to see you there.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Lifestyle

Elephant ranch lets visitors bathe, feed, ride elephants
Elephant ranch lets visitors bathe, feed, ride elephants

A private central Florida elephant preserve offers a unique, hands-on experience to visitors. The Elephant Ranch allows tourists to get up close and personal with the majestic animals. >> Read more trending news The Two Tails Ranch located near Gainesville lets people feed, bathe and even ride the eight elephants living at the ranch. The nonprofit...
Idaho woman blames car crash on deer-chasing Bigfoot
Idaho woman blames car crash on deer-chasing Bigfoot

A northern Idaho woman blamed a car crash with a deer on a Sasquatch sighting last week. >> Read more trending news The woman told police she collided with the deer after spotting a Bigfoot on a highway near Potlatch near the Washington border, according to NBC Montana. The woman said the Sasquatch was chasing the deer Wednesday night along the...
More events for Monday, March 27, and beyond
More events for Monday, March 27, and beyond

Beverage Class Series at Olive & June. Parkside Projects’ boozy series returns, this time at Olive & June, where participants will learn all about Italian amari. For $32.50, they’ll be able to taste a number of new and classic amari as advanced sommelier Nathan Prater explains the process of production and the best practice for pairing...
Lakeway trails challenge mountain bikers with steep, technical terrain
Lakeway trails challenge mountain bikers with steep, technical terrain

I’m chugging my way up a single-track trail, sweat trickling down the small of my back and quads burning like someone stuck a branding iron on them. This is bliss. For the last few years, I’ve been hearing about the trail system in Lakeway. Friends have tried to lure me there, but it seemed too far from my home in Allandale. Besides, I...
The disease killing white Americans goes way deeper than opioids
The disease killing white Americans goes way deeper than opioids

In rich countries, death rates are supposed to decline. But in the past decade and a half, middle-age white Americans have actually been dying faster. Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton first pointed out this disturbing trend in a 2015 study that highlighted three "diseases of despair": drugs, drinking and suicide.  On Thursday...
More Stories