Hospitable Planet: Faith, Action, and Climate Change.
Addressing the issue of climate change and Christian faith, Steve Jurovics did a marvelous job of not only explaining climate change, but grounding the ethical imperative to work against climate change in the essence of Jewish and Christian identity: our covenant with God and each other. I was impressed at the religious depth and scientific clarity with which he spoke. It was intelligent. It was moving. And he only spoke for 40 minutes! We wished we could have had him speak longer.
Stephen Jurovics is a retired aerospace engineer. He hasn’t retired from thinking, however, and he has thought a lot about our changing climate and our responsibilities as Christians and as stewards of Earth. “Climate change” is a political buzzword these days, but Dr. Jurovics sees it also as a spiritual issue, and finds guidance via his thorough consideration of what the Bible has to say about God’s gifts to us and what we owe in return, both in our personal lives and in our social lives. He believes we can make effective use of the Bible’s writings about stewardship in advocating for conservation and environmentalism. As Dr. Jurovics puts it, “We find in Genesis that on the 7th day of God’s creation of the Earth and all of its life forms, He rested and said it was good.” People who deny the reality of climate change, though actually believing it, will be reluctant to argue with biblical teachings. That’s a powerful asset, having an uncontestable argument. “The fate of the world may rest in the hands of the faith community.”
Jurovics is an engaging speaker and a valuable source of information about the status of various environmental issues and the science, politics and activism surrounding them, most especially climate change. For example, he has a long association with North Carolina Interfaith Power and Light, and made us aware that this organization offers a free energy-use audit of church buildings, which Binkley is going to take advantage of. We intend to keep in touch with Dr. Jurovics. We believe he will be a valuable resource for our Earth Ministry.
Buck Horton and Charles Coble, Co-Chairs, Earth Ministries
O.T. Binkley Baptist Church – Chapel Hill, NC
Dr. Jurovics spoke at Christ Church-Raleigh on a recent Sunday morning, and in the brief time allotted to the class, he managed simply but eloquently: (1) to provide the Biblical basis for his conclusion that God calls us to be faithful stewards of the planet; and (2) to offer practical suggestions for how we as individuals and members of a faith community can address climate change. Dr. Jurovics’ presentation prompted a number of questions from the audience that he addressed fully and with ease. We are very grateful to him for his provocative and well-researched presentation.
The Rev. Mary Davila, Assistant Rector
Christ Church – Raleigh, NC
Dr. Jurovics drew one of the larger crowds to Pullen Memorial Baptists Church Care of Creation Class. His wisdom and subject matter expertise was immediately apparent as he began his presentation on the spiritual responsibilities for sustainable planet care. He succinctly and seemingly effortlessly broke down the salient points of his less than one- hour presentation to actively generate the group’s questions and concerns. It was a masterful presentation – deep enough for those with a fluid understanding of climate change and simplified enough for the novice. We highly recommend him to any group desiring a rich and thoughtful presentation in climate change, faith and action.
We were privileged to have Dr. Jurovics speak at our church in Boca Raton to an audience consisting of many persons firmly committed to programs to respond to Climate change as well as some not persuaded. His presentation and an engaged follow up dealt with what we know and can do technically and with how we as Christians should be thinking about what is happening to our climate, what that means to life on our planet and what we can do in response. In his book, and his presentation, Dr. Jurovics speaks from his technical experience and from his analysis of how biblical teachings show the religious imperative for preserving our inherited world. I recommend both the book and taking advantage of a chance to hear him speak.
James D. Miller
St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church – Boca Raton, FL
I am enjoying reading and commend to you this recent work on the theology of creation care. In addition to its competent presentation of the science of climate change (after all the text was written by a rocket scientist) and its poignant call for a national movement to address this issue, it is also a fine assessment of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures that demonstrates why climate change is more than a “political” issue. It is a theological concern that is deep in God’s heart as Dr. Jurovics persuasively argues. Whether you are part of the Abrahamic faith traditions, a parallel faith tradition, or even agnostic you will learn from Hospitable Planet how to Love and sacralize creation in tangible and actionable ways. It even has helpful questions after each chapter to stimulate conversation in congregational or classroom settings so it is perfect for communal studies. Please find it on Amazon. God’s grace and peace, The Rev. Dr. Rodney Sadler
Rev. Dr. Rodney Sadler
Union Presbyterian Seminary
Dr. Jurovics made a wonderful presentation to our Men’s group… and in fact the talk elicited the most questions and comments of any speaker that we have had in my four years as pastor at the church. Speaking to an eclectic audience that included everyone from environmental engineers to “climate change deniers,” he handled all questions with grace and ease, having the perfect personality to handle serious, challenging, and even foolish questions. His presentation is somewhat unique as he uses Scripture to challenge people of faith to care about climate change.
North Raleigh United Methodist Church
Steve Jurovics offers important insight into the teachings that shaped Jesus, the Jewish rabbi. What would Jesus have learned in his faith formation about God’s desire for all of creation? Countering many of the traditional Christian understandings of human “dominion” over the earth and its inhabitants, Hospitable Planet is an important addition to our understanding of our role as partners with creation. It offers a unique examination of passages from the Hebrew Bible that assist Christians and others in appreciating the context from which Jesus offered his ministry to and for all.
Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, Raleigh, NC
As people of faith, we live in a complex world where on the one hand we read in holy scripture that humans were created to subdue and have dominion, but on the other hand, scientists and environmentalists tell us that the way we live today is unsustainable and will lead to a diminished quality of life for our children and grandchildren.
Dr. Stephen Jurovics, in his book Hospitable Planet: Faith, Action, and Climate Change, brings clarity to this dilemma. Stephen is eminently qualified to tackle these complex issues based upon his professional life as an engineer working for over two decades on aspects of climate change mitigation and through his personal life as a dedicated biblical scholar. Not only does he clarify the Bible’s mandate to care for creation, but in addition he presents a concrete plan for addressing our urgent environmental crises. His book, complete with discussion questions and action points, is written in a way that makes it an ideal learning and teaching tool for adult education and, if you are seeking a speaker for a creation care event at your congregation, I highly recommend that you consider inviting Dr. Jurovics.
During Lent 2016, the members of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church have been exploring contemporary issues that we can influence by acting together with each other and our communities. One of these issues is how best to respond to the climate crisis that exists in our world. We were fortunate to have Steve Jurovics as one of our speakers. Steve reviewed with us many of the Biblical mandates relating to protecting the environment and all living things. His presentation was riveting, enlightening and entertaining! His presentation was based on his new book Hospitable Planet, that I personally feel should be required reading for all persons of faith!
Hospitable Planet: Faith, Action, and Climate Change seeks to fill the gap in religious and secular texts by providing both a compelling biblical case for action on climate change and by identifying substantive measures to mitigate climate change and how to achieve their implementation.
Churches can massively reduce their impact on God’s good earth if they understand the Bible’s mandate to care for creation and develop practical skills to decrease their energy use. This book hits the target directly on both counts.
Stephen Jurovics’ book is an important work of witness: faith and connection to God should lead us to save and heal our planet from a looming environmental catastrophe. Based primarily on the Five Books of Moses, sacred to both Christians and Jews, this book is written with passion, wisdom, and intelligence. The author’s sensitivity enables him to speak movingly to people of faith, offering a handbook on the Bible’s greatest mandate for mortal existence – to choose life for the earth (which is the Lord’s) and all its inhabitants.
As a pastor for 30 years, a psychologist, and a civil rights activist for 55 years I am convinced that Hospitable Planet has provided a powerful objective strategy for why we all must work together (i.e. science, faith, business, politicians, community folks) to ensure that climate change, global warming, and environmental justice are the civil rights issues for this century. Read this book. Share its message. Now – get involved!! We can and must make the difference!!
Take action – it starts with you.
“The book seeks to enroll a hitherto under-represented, though large and influential, portion of the U.S. population in addressing climate change: committed American Christians, of all denominations. If members of this faith community not yet involved in mitigating climate change began demanding a forceful response, I believe it would bring the country to the tipping point of full engagement. If America engages, most of the world community not yet committed will follow and a de-fusing of the climate change crisis will be underway.” – Excerpt from the Overview of Hospitable Planet: Faith, Action and Climate Change