Katharine M. Preston

Katharine M. Preston is an ecumenical lay preacher and writer, concentrating on issues of social justice and climate change. 

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Changing the World with Joy

by Katharine M. Preston 07-05-2016
Must we choose between seeking justice and reveling in God's creation?
lzf / Shutterstock

lzf / Shutterstock

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. — E.B. White

ON A GORGEOUS FALL DAY, I bundle up just a bit and go sit on the rock under the apple tree in the middle of the field. The low-angled sun pours its subdued warmth onto the splashy orange of the maples, transient yellows of the tamarack, and faithfully green cedar. Further to the west, the mountains cut a postcard-perfect silhouette against the seasonally pale blue sky.

Such grace, warming my heart with joy.

A loving God calls us to experience such profligate joy. Now, in the latter decades of my life, time picks up its pace at an alarming rate. So I often promise myself to seek more opportunities to sit on rocks.

But instead, each morning, the genes of my activist mother, the teachings of my faith, and probably a bit too much of my own hubris conspire to bring on the conflicting desire to “improve” (well, okay ... save) the world.

So I strongly identify with E.B. White’s dilemma, softened by his gentle humor-with-a-touch-of-wistfulness.

Working for social justice seems like forever. I am weary of being tedious to those around me who do not understand my seemingly quixotic campaigns. I am weary listening to the current loud, vicious, largely irrelevant public clamor surrounding issues to which I am dedicated. I am weary knowing that those of us preaching minority positions that were once slammed as unrealistic have been proven right. But it took so long: civil rights, the Vietnam War, apartheid, climate change. As we slogged through our protests and The Powers That Be didn’t listen, lives were lost, billions of dollars spent, time wasted. I am impatient: Why can’t the arc of the moral universe run, rather than just bend, toward justice?

A Burning Truth

by Katharine M. Preston 08-04-2014

Fracking for oil and gas has toxic consequences for surrounding communities. Even worse: It's fueling climate change.

Mourning for the Earth

by Katharine M. Preston 07-01-2013

To confront climate change, we may need to first deal with our grief.

Getting Real

by Katharine M. Preston 03-01-2010

Bravo for finally addressing climate change head-on (December 2009).

Suggestions for Green Seminaries - WEB EXCLUSIVE

by Katharine M. Preston 09-01-2007

Integrate books on religion and the environment into the syllabi of existing seminary courses , from biblical studies to pastoral care.

The Green Gospel

by Katharine M. Preston 09-01-2007

Will seminaries equip church leaders for an age of environmental crisis?

From Charity to Investment

by Katharine M. Preston 01-01-2006

How community-based investing transforms individuals - and religious institutions.

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