Friday, June 11, 2010

A Very Convenient Truth - boy, do we need to hear this now!

This is an unusual approach -- for me, anyway -- but it's one way to get this in front of as many eyeballs at once. What follows is the outline for a revised edition of my book, A Very Convenient Truth -- How to see that you’re not troubled with environmental fears.

This is a Biblical look at the environmental issue and provides, I believe, hope and a new focus. I've had no success so far in attracting a publisher, but it's a message that needs to get out -- especially with current events like the BP oil disaster. My blog entry on that builds on the premise of the book.

So I am posting the entire outline here on the blog, in hopes that there is a publisher out there willing to take on this project. It doesn't have to be a "Christian" publisher, per se: Jesus' message was for all, and so is this message.

If you're a publisher interested in finding out more and receiving some sample chapters, please contact me and we'll discuss this further.

A Very Convenient Truth
How to see that you’re not troubled with environmental fears

The Market
· Christians who are concerned about the environmental trauma today, but who are also concerned that things seem to be getting worse, despite mankind’s concerted efforts.
· Environmentalists willing to look at another way of approaching the issue.

The Premise
Current events (as of June 2010) like the BP oil disaster, the volcanic eruption off Iceland, devastating earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and China and a Big Scare on the California-Mexico border should be getting the attention of people that something big is going on. Add to that the outbreaks of war around the world, the continuing threat of terrorism and the accelerating slide into a “me-first” self-absorption in Western society, and you can start to see some of the signs the Jesus foretold of His imminent return.

Just one problem: environmental issues – particularly global warming/climate change – have grabbed center stage, to the point that society is obsessed with that issue, and any warnings are not being heard.

The title of the book notwithstanding, A Very Convenient Truth is not an attack on Al Gore or an attempt to get into the scientific debate over global warming/climate change, whether it exists and whether humans are responsible either for its cause or cure. Neither is it yet another voyage into eschatology. Rather, A Very Convenient Truth looks at the global warming/climate change issue and encourages people to step back, take a breath and consider how God looks at it.

One of the premises of the book is that, despite lots of action on a number of fronts, things appear to be getting worse, not better. It’s worth asking whether God has, in fact, been blessing the efforts so far to mitigate the problem.

The book argues that God has not been blessing these efforts, largely because He’s been “frozen out” of the discussion. And yet, as the Creator, shouldn’t He be the first one to be consulted?

The Thesis and Argument
The current environmental dialogue is driven by fear, obsession and a nagging sense that humans are responsible for its cause and cure, and that while well-meaning action has been going on for decades, humans should be doing more.

A Very Convenient Truth points out that this general guilt trip is a poor motivator to begin with. It’s either someone else’s responsibility, or one’s own needs at that particular time far outweigh any environmental concerns. There is also the sense – not without good cause – that the problem is far too big for people to address.

A Very Convenient Truth begins with the position that environmental trauma is very real, but that people need to change their thinking to look at environmental responsibility in terms of their overall relationship with God. That’s an important concept, because it shifts the paradigm from the current view as a battle against the effects of climate change (which could easily degenerate into a battle against God’s plan) to one where we are allied with God.

From the standpoint of environmental protection and stewardship, putting that into the context of one’s personal relationship with God raises the stakes considerably, because now there is a very real Authority to answer to – considerably higher than one’s own conscience or a guilt trip put forth by activists and the media.

But there’s more. If you’re a Bible-believing Christian, you should know that you hold a trump card, because if there’s a problem with your overall relationship with God, it usually means there’s a sin involved. Praise God, there is – and that’s good news.

The sin lies in what A Very Convenient Truth calls “The First Great Assignment”: Genesis 1:26 – 2:15. God put man in the Garden of Eden with instructions to “be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it” and to propagate Eden around the earth. Our failure to do that is the sin at the root of the current environmental trauma.

And that’s good news, because in Christ, we can repent and receive redemption at the Cross. Just as with any other sin, we can come to Jesus, “go and sin no more” and re-commit to the First Great Assignment. But it’s not as simple as adopting environmentalist actions and philosophies and adding “in Jesus’ Name” to the end. That’s because many of those actions and philosophies run at cross-purposes to the Will of God.

A Very Convenient Truth looks first at the ways you can tell God has been left out of the discussion – the ways that the enemy has taken over all sides of the dialogue, in fact. Then we start to unpack what God does say about taking care of His Creation, the burdens we’re supposed to carry and those we’re not, and how Creation feels about God.

In all, the book argues that the solution to “saving the planet” lies in integrating environmental responsibility with all the other aspects of our walk with Christ. As we focus on serving God – He promises to deal with the worldly matters, including environmental issues. That promise is summed up in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “if My people, which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land.” (emphasis mine).

Besides, the book also points out, Jesus warned us there’d be days like these: days that He said would precede His return. Events that have been linked to global warming/climate change are arguably the very signs Jesus foretold 2,000 years ago: there is really nothing humans can do to stop these events from happening. But we’re not to roll over with our paws in the air and hope that the Rapture comes first. There are things we are instructed to do, which includes following God’s instructions for His creation.


Preface: Welcome to the NDZ (No Doomspeak Zone)
The environmental dialogue is filled with “doomspeak”: a sense of dread and hopelessness on all sides. Dread and hopelessness are not “of God”, and this book promises to inject much-needed hope into the discussion.

Introduction: A section detailing some of my own credentials – both as a broadcaster and as an evangelist – discussing how the issue has been close to my heart since I was quite little. It finishes by noting that God’s perspective on the environment – through His Word – provides a failure-proof guarantee.

1. The Manufacturer’s Guarantee
This chapter begins with what is essentially the “foundation Scripture” for the whole book: 2 Chronicles 7:13-14. God essentially takes responsibility for sending “natural disasters” like drought, disease and pestilence, but says the solution is for His people to turn back to Him. It also states my own belief that climate change is happening and that humans are responsible for it, but not in the way conventional wisdom says.

2. The Climate of the Climate Change Debate (Satan stirs the pot)
This looks at the signs that God has been essentially left out of the discussion of climate change/global warming. Fear, confusion and failure are three of the top signs that Satan has been getting his fingers on the whole issue; greed, self-righteousness, the religious spirit and the bitter, personal attacks on all sides are other signs. When we find ourselves crying out, “What is truth?”, it’s likely that, as it was with Pilate when he asked that question, we’re actually staring the Truth in the face.

3. The First Great Assignment
The Truth, of course, is Jesus, so the answer is to look to the Word of God to make things clear. If anything in our lives is out of joint, chances are there’s a sin involved – a falling-away from God. And we don’t have to look far to find the sin we have committed that has led to the current state of environmental trauma. In Genesis 1:26, 28 and 2:15, we see what I call “The First Great Assignment”, which essentially is to care for the earth and propagate the Garden of Eden around the world. Looking out the window today, you can see how well we’ve done that job.

4. A Matter of Love
In this chapter, we look at the environmentalist mantra, “if you love this planet” and show how silly the notion is when compared to the interactive love we experience with God. We love God because He first loved us, but we’re not the only ones: Scripture also tells us how non-human Creation loves Him. That’s important as we consider the “dominion” God gave us humans over the earth: we need to strike the balance between enjoying Creation as God intended us to, and taking care of it, because Creation is in a two-way love relationship with God, too.

That’s why we need to walk in lock-step with God about this issue, or else we’ll either stomp all over everything – or wind up worshipping the creature over the Creator. At times, acting on God’s Will may seem out of line with environmentalist thinking, but we need to believe that obeying God’s Will cannot be damaging to His Creation. We are also able to rise above any judgment or condemnation – either by us or against us – that come from going against “green principles”.

5. Personal responsibility – can we really “Think Globally”?
This chapter looks at the concept of “God’s Plan” and the role humans play in it. The environmental movement makes a big deal out of the big picture, but the Word of God tells us that we can’t see the big picture and we’re not expected to. He gives us individual assignments – the ones we can handle – and we need to trust that He will bring all the pieces together to form the global picture.

As humans, we tend to do what we think is right, rather than what God tells us to do – and, like the servant who buried his master’s money rather than invest it, run into a lot of trouble. Instead of Think Globally – act locally, we need to Think Godly – Act Obediently.

6. Sustainability or Livability?
“Sustainability” is a watchword of the environmental movement – and public policy-makers everywhere. But many places – Vancouver, for one – pride themselves on their “livability”. What’s the difference? Which is more important? Does one necessarily follow the other? Is it more blessed to live or to sustain?

7. The Godly Environmentalist – the land Sabbath, tithing and the “One Tonne Solution”
As with anything else in the Word of God, environmental matters are not dealt with simply in theoretical terms. There are practical applications, particularly in the Old Testament laws. The Land Sabbath spelled out in Leviticus is one such application. How does tithing fit into the picture? What else can we glean from Scripture to direct us towards Godly environmental solutions? How does political involvement mesh with the Christian walk?

8. The Fourth “R”
In addition to the environmentalist “3 R’s” – reduce, re-use and recycle – there’s a fourth in the Christian perspective: righteousness. Over and over again, God’s Word connects unrighteousness with environmental degradation. A lot of environmentalist thinking is inward-looking: cautioning people to watch their own “carbon footprint” and beware of the impact of their own actions. But that goes against the calling of Christians to put the needs of others ahead of their own. The chapter states baldly that our earth has become corrupted as its people have become corrupted. When people try to look at the walk with Christ as something separate from caring for God’s Creation, they’re really falling for another Satanic “mis-direct”.

9. Greater works than these …
Without faith, the writer of Hebrews says, you cannot please God, and John notes at the beginning of his Gospel that as many people as believe on the name of Jesus are endowed with the power to be God’s Son(s). Faith is a tremendous weapon that we have and we have a responsibility to use it. We can rebuke natural events and focus on glorifying God in all things. The chapter also encourages Christians to “count the cost” and include environmental impact in the “costing-out” of anything they do. This includes the step of faith of abandoning some things that appear to be good if we can’t replenish the earth at the same time. We need to have the faith that if we turn away from potential gain by abandoning the action – clearcut logging, mining in a sensitive area, drilling for oil in a wildlife refuge – God will provide what we thought we could obtain and then some.

10. So long ago, the Garden …
Is Satan over-playing the “fear” card? Some people appear to be taking a stand against the fear being promoted on all sides. We also take another look at The First Great Assignment, and ask what the “Eden” is that we’re supposed to propagate? Is it the “physical” Eden of Adam and Eve, or is it a state of being? And we come back to the Foundation Scripture we started with: Solomon’s prayer and God’s response in 2 Chronicles 7.

11. And finally … (the call to arms)
This chapter begins with a Word from the Lord I received while the first edition was in its final stages. He says that the land is “fighting back” against us because it has been polluted by blood shed in sacrifices of ourselves and our children to Mammon and by our own disobedience. But as we propagate Eden around the world – spreading the Gospel, as explained in Chapter 9 – we spread the blood of Jesus over the land and cleanse it that way. We close by urging Christians to use environmental matters, as spelled out in the book, as another means of reaching the unsaved with the Gospel. But since the Word of God also ties our own walk with Him to the state of the land, we need to make sure that walk is an example people want to follow. In other words, it’s up to us – individually and collectively, as the Body of Christ – to take that first step.


i. Scripture references – with some explanatory notes, for readers who don’t have Bibles
ii. How I Got My Car – a description of a “faith project”.
iii. Wrong Way Goes The Right Way –the tale of Roy Riegels, the star college football player who recovered a fumble in a Rose Bowl Game and, by running for the wrong goal line, cost his team the game – but gave the world a story of salvation, grace and a second chance.

The Challenge
A Very Convenient Truth contains some challenges for readers, Christian and non-Christian:
1. To Christians, do you believe the Bible or don’t you? This is an issue that can cause us to look away from God as we try to “do better for the sake of Mother Earth”, but the Word warns us against worshipping the Creation rather than the Creator, and His Word also gives us specific promises that as we re-commit to Him – through The First Great Assignment – He will restore our land.
2. To environmentalists who have been trying in vain to repair damage done by centuries of human action and inaction, the challenge is whether they really want to see a solution. Many environmentalists (as the book notes) are not Bible believers, so the question is whether they’re open-minded enough to consider that there is an alternative to bashing their head against the wall.
3. For everyone, the challenge is to keep looking for signs of hope and clarity in an area dominated by fear, confusion and frustration. Those elements are not “of God”, and it’s important for us to focus our attention on what is.

Marketing and Promotion

All-told, I’ve been doing something in front of a microphone or a camera for over 40 years as an actor, a broadcaster and as a corporate communicator. When A Very Convenient Truth first appeared in a self-published edition, I made appearances on three Christian talk radio stations: Seattle, Los Angeles and Minneapolis-St Paul.

I have also spoken at two churches on the subject (Westpointe Christian Center in Vancouver and Victoria Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Victoria, BC), and have been refining that talk for future use. I would make myself available for a “circuit” of talk shows and speaking engagements to support the sale of the book.

There are also opportunities using the social media. I produced a series of short talks and posted them on YouTube and on Tangle, supporting them with notifications on Twitter. Some revelations were written in my blog, “Convenient Truth” (, also promoted on Twitter.

Excerpts of the book could also be published in a Christian magazine.
I also see possibilities for developing a workbook so church “small groups” can discuss ways of becoming a “Godly environmentalist”, following Scripture to see what God will bless, what burdens we have to carry and what burdens we are not to worry about.

The Author
I have covered environmental issues from the standpoint of the “sympathetic journalist”, giving air time on radio and TV to environmentalists at a time when they were still considered to be fringe-element tree-huggers. It was the logical progression of a lifetime of listening to, embracing and sometimes even espousing against-the-grain thinking, which often put me at odds with others. This latest book continues that trend, only now, as a committed Christian, called as an Evangelist, this against-the-grain thinking is an attempt to shake out of the groupthink that encompasses so much of the environmental dialogue.

I was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, and graduated with a BA in English from Concordia University in MontrĂ©al. After trying my hand at freelance writing and acting, I landed in broadcasting, working in a number of markets in Western Canada, including Vancouver, Regina Saskatchewan and Victoria BC. I did just about everything: news, sports, talk and played the morning-show sidekick on Victoria’s top radio station; I also produced and presented a series of environmental features for local TV in Victoria.

I received the 2001 Environmental Journalism Award from The Skies Above Foundation (Canada), recognizing my persistence in bringing environmental issues and their advocates into the media mainstream in British Columbia.

By then, I had come to Christ (in 1999) and was called into Ministry in 2002 with what turned out to be two main purposes: to minister to the urban poor on Vancouver’s Downtown East Side (at Gospel Mission, where he is assistant pastor) and to bring this new message on the environment based on the Word of God, rather than the worldly prescriptions of the mainstream environmental movement.

My day job is as a communications specialist with TransLink – the regional public transportation authority – which has given me further insight into the “corporate” side of the environmental movement and the way public policy is being driven by environmental fears.

Contact me

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