As I sit and watch people struggle past in the couple of centimetres of snow that have fallen over night, I'm reflecting on Thomas Friedman's description of climate change as 'global weirding'.
In a very good chapter on climate change, in particular the way the science is treated by those who are politically sceptical about the need to change our way of life, Friedman offers an excellent guide to what is happening, what the science is actually saying and how policy makers ought to be reacting to this.
one sentence jumped out and stopped me in my tracks. In a section detailing recent climate events, including hurricane Katrina, Friedman noted: 'Katrina wasn't so much an example of global warming as it was an example of the long-term infrastructure decisions society needs to make in order to survive. The weather is so much more than "do I need an umbrella?" It's also "should I buy a condo on the coast?" and "did we build those levees high enough?"'
These are profoundly theological questions that I'm not sure we're asking in our churches even if we've started asking them in our theological colleges.
For me, this whole issue raises questions about how we are training ministers for mission for today's world. Courses in ministry formation should engage with the likes of Friedman. But such engagement would mean that ministers-in-training need to be engaging with economics as much as Calvin, the principles of scientific enquiry as much as Karl Barth, public policy as much as pastoral theology.
But I'm not sure there's room in the curriculum. More pressingly, I'm not sure there's the will to make it. And the reason for this is that churches still want ministers who will fulfill the traditional roles of preaching and leading worship and reassuring our folk that God's on the case and all will be well in the end. Is it any wonder our churches are still emptying? And, in particular, that thinking people under 35 do not consider the Christian Faith has anything intelligent or effectual to say about the world or to the world as it teeters on the brink of the consequences of global weirding.