Coffee with Questions Intellectual Confusion and Clarity

Click on the track above to hear the Coffee with Questions discussion on Sunday August 14, 2016. Better yet, join us this Sunday August 28th  at 9:15am as the group discusses

Topic: Paul Tillich and Climate Change

Presenter: Russ Marks {Formated by Bob Jackson]


I am writing a book on Paul Tillich and Climate Change. You are welcome to contribute to the book.

Hans Jonas writes:” We are the first generation forced to ask the question whether there will be future generations.” John T. Pawlikowski reviews Jonas’s book and writes in response to Jonas’s quote: Never had I been confronted in such a dramatic fashion about the condition of the creation of which I shared as a human person. Never had I understood the depth of responsibility that I and the people of my generation now shared for the survival of planet Earth and the life it sustains.

Paul Tillich was the voice of responsibility in another generation. Tillich located the problem of human existence in sin or separation. Man was separated from himself, others and the ground of his being. Man’s only salvation was through grace or reunion. Man now is fundamentally separated from nature which reflects the separation of himself, others and the ground of his being.

Tillich writes that “Grace strikes us:

1) “when we are in great pain or restlessness.

2) “It strikes us when we walk through the dark valley of a meaningless and empty life.

3) “It strikes us when we feel our separation is deeper than usual, because we have violated another life, a life which we loved or from which we were estranged.

4) It strikes us when our disgust for our own being, our indifference, our weakness, our hostility, and our lack of discipline and composure have become intolerable to us. “

5) It strikes us when year after year, the longed for perfection of life does not appear, when the old compulsions reign within us as they have for decades, when despair destroys all joy and courage.”

In these 5 sentences, Tillich has taken us to the depths of human experience which he lived during World War Two and which we now live with climate change.

Which one of these five sentences about grace points to your own experiences with climate change? Explore the sentences in relationship with separation and grace.

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