Katharine M. Preston

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

Posts By This Author

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.