Nov 1, 2013

"Curiosity is a Gift from the Creator"

Don Searles caught my attention, Did you hear Roger’s statement on climate change?

Not just because he’s my dad the Reverend, or because I was late to church services (again) and had gotten caught, but because I’d never heard the right Rev. Dr. Roger Paynter speak about global warming before. Ever;  especially during a sermon. Who does that? What’d he say? Dad heard – Climate change is real and it’s being caused by us. It’s our responsibility to respond to it, and even if we’re not causing it – it’s our responsibility.

Big and bold, for sure. The funny thing about growing up in First Baptist Church is everything I learned about environmental care I learned from the people of FBC. When I was a kid it wasn’t the Sunday School or the parables that molded my worldview, it was the examples I saw lived by the adults in that church community. By example I learned to be curious about doing the right thing, always. Ask questions, find solutions, share.

Christian eco author, family man and full time Kentucky farmer, Wendell Berry recently told Bill Moyers, “We have to ask what’s the right thing to do and go ahead and do it.” Probably the greatest thing about First Baptist Austin, to me, is the embodiment of that value. In that light my father’s recounting of how Rev. Roger Paynter sees climate change just makes sense.

So here’s what Roger actually said on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013.** A declaration I can share pride in:

“Science and faith are not enemies. Curiosity is a gift from the creator, not something to be afraid of…

“What speaks to me most is a theology that we all need more of; a theology that all of life is sacred and holy. All the earth is holy ground, though we’ve done our part to make it unholy enough.

“Just this week the most comprehensive study yet was released – demonstrating, from a consortium of the strongest scientists we have in this world, that there is climate change and despite what the head in the sand crowd wants to believe, it is mostly our responsibility.

“God gave us this extraordinary, amazing gift of Creation which is HOLY indeed, and we have consistently misused it, not only with environmental abuse, but fouling it daily with hate and bigotry and greed…”

-- Rev. Dr. Roger Paynter, 9/29/13

Right Reverend Dr. Roger Paynter 

The FBC Green Team is moving forward with some great initiatives to reduce their facility’s carbon footprint this Fall. 

**Visit to hear Roger’s whole sermon.
** Visit for Bill Moyers’ interview with Wendell Berry.

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