When I was a tender young Christian in a Pentecostal Church in New York City, the absolute most terrifying passage in the Bible was one that warned us we could commit a sin that was so bad, it was unforgivable. As a Christian struggling with homosexuality at the time, I assumed the worst iniquity of them all had to do with gay stuff. And while my pastors insisted that my gayness was a major problem for them, they pointed to another more deadly sin: Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.
After hearing repeated sermons about this spiritual threat, my fellow believers and I got it into our heads that we had somehow committed this sin. After frightening the snot out of us, Pastor Willy (that was his name) had to talk us down and assure us that there was no way we could have committed this sin. Confusing. He told us it was a really dangerous sin. It was hard to explain, and hard to commit, but once you did, you could not be forgiven.
Fast forward a few decades and I sit down with the Rev Dr Leah Schade, a Lutheran minister and the author of the new book: Creation-Crisis Preaching: Ecology, Theology, and the Pulpit. Leah is also a member of the Climate Stew Crew. She shared with me her creative interpretation of the controversial passage about blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 12:31 and Mark 3 verses 28-30) To do so she needed to do a word study to tease out the various meanings of the word spirit including breath and air. She also has some other passage that help explore climate change themes.
As a Bible scholar, I know there are many ways to interpret a passage in the Bible. By putting on different lenses we draw meaning from it that can help us better understand the world around us today. For those of us seeking ways to communicate climate change to our neighbors, some of whom look to the Bible for guidance, having an interpretation of a text that highlights our current climate crisis can open up the discussion.
Smart, funny, and a super storyteller, Leah will no doubt give you some fresh insights.
Music by the amazing Chenard Walcker. Check out the show notes from Climate Stew Ep 44 to learn more about Leah and hear more other Bible approaches to Climate Change.