Getting Real: Harvey

The New York Times just published an Op-Ed piece that discusses the link between Hurricane Harvey and Global Warming in a reasoned and balanced way.  The author, David Leonhardt’s point is that: “…when we are faced with actual misery that stems in part from climate change, we should be honest about it.  … What’s happening in Texas is heartbreaking, and yet it will be a more frequent part of modern life unless we do something about it. That, ultimately, is the most compassionate message about Harvey.”
Sadly, when we use the words “Climate Change,” many on the Right hear only “Libtard Conspiracy.”
Hurricane Harvey will not change that.

Telling them the facts over and over will not change that.
Telling them to get real or that they must do something about it will not change that. (It will make it worse.)
In fact, facts of any sort will not change that.
Instead, we must get real with those who deny the facts as we understand them; and that means denying ourselves the comfort of retreating into our world view, no matter how well informed we may think it is.
“Getting Real” means accepting The Other’s reality as legitimate (at least legitimate for them): walking with them, in their denial, and without judgment; helping those in need, and those affected by Harvey (even if they deny the reality or criticality of Climate Change) to get their lives put back together.
Jesus is Emmanuel: The One who walks with us: no matter who we are, no matter where we are. We are called to do the same.
“Walking with” does not mean denying facts or denying reality, but rather it means emphasizing what Jesus believed: that honest and mutually supportive relationships are far more important than facts.

With Harvey, we must begin with Compassion: making it clear that those affected are important to us, no matter what they believe.  Only then can doors be opened that will lead to a better future for us all.

Copyright (c) 2017, Allen Vander Meulen III.

Author: Allen

A would-be historian turned IT Professional who responded to the call to the Ministry, and is now focused on social justice and community service. He is the proud father of a daughter and son, and enjoys life with his wife near Boston. You can follow Pastor Allen on Facebook at

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