Book Review: “Following Jesus in a Warming World”

Embracing Climate Action as a Core Christian Value

I love this book! “Following Jesus in a Warming World” challenges Christians to consider how our commitment to follow Jesus intersects with the urgent need to address climate change, species extinction, and pollution. Kyle Meyaard-Schaap skillfully weaves research, theological exploration, and political insight with personal stories to illustrate the relationship between Christian faith and environmental stewardship.

The book begins with a poignant question: Does following Jesus allow, or even require, Christians to care about these issues? Meyaard-Schaap answers with a resounding yes, pointing to overwhelming scientific evidence and the moral imperative for Christians to chart a path towards global sustainability.

Drawing from personal experience, the author depicts the tangible impacts of environmental degradation on communities, from Appalachian towns devastated by coal mining to global regions most affected by climate-driven disasters. These stories are not mere tales of loss and despair. They are powerful examples of resilience, hope, and the need for transformative action.

Meyaard-Schaap tackles the skepticism and political ideologies that often polarize Christians on the issue of climate change. He challenges the binary thinking that traps many in inaction, advocating instead for a Jesus-centered approach that transcends partisan divides. By embracing Jesus’ greatest commandments—to love God and love our neighbors—believers are called to acknowledge and act upon the reality that our environmental choices have profound implications for people around the world, particularly the most vulnerable.

Meyaard-Schaap asks Christians to rediscover the Bible’s overarching story of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. The Bible, he argues, provides a powerful framework for understanding and engaging with the world in a way that reflects God’s love for Creation, and our responsibility to care for it. The author notes:

“Scripture is clear that matter has always mattered to God. God creates the world–sun, rocks, birds, bacteria–and revels in its goodness. He creates humans and calls us to be co-protectors of his beloved world. He lavishly displays his love in the world around us and is always using the stuff of the world–be it flesh, water, bread, or wine–to reveal himself. Nowhere is this more powerfully on display than in the incarnation, when the Word that created matter assumes it in order to redeem it.”

Practically, “Following Jesus in a Warming World” is not just about understanding; it’s about taking action. Meyaard-Schaap lists concrete ways for individuals to turn their faith into meaningful climate advocacy. From reducing personal carbon footprints to engaging in public policy debates, the book offers a holistic approach to environmental stewardship that is both deeply faithful and eminently practical.

By grounding the call to climate action in scripture and the teachings of Jesus, Meyaard-Schaap shows how Christians can care for the planet and all who inhabit it. This book is a masterclass, for the way it presents environmental activism as a manifestation of Christian love and duty, rather than as a political stance. What a breath of fresh air!

NOTE: Reverend Kyle Meyaard-Schaap is guest speaker at Indy Creation Fest 2024.


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