Courting Chaos by Kevin Durrant
Helpful book on navigating the ecological crisis which weaves together the teaching of Jeremiah with the linked ministries of Jonah and Jesus, each of whom came through the chaotic waters of death to deliver a message of hope
Courting Chaos - Navigating the Ecological Crisis with the Help of Jeremiah
By Kevin Durrant
Resources Publications (Wipf and Stock)
Reviewed by Philip Clements-Jewery
This is a really splendid and helpful book. Kevin Durrant is minister of Keynsham Baptist Church near Bristol where, according to a recent online event sponsored by BUEN (Baptist Union Environmental Network), he has involved the church alongside other local groups in a community eco-festival.
Current news of heat waves and wild fires focus our attention on the growing environmental crisis and its possible disastrous outcome for the future of the planet and every species within it, the human race included. The question facing us is, how do we discern God’s presence and activity in what is happening to the world? With the help of Scripture, and above all the Book of Jeremiah, the author seeks to explore these questions.
The major thesis of the book is that the situation we confront today has analogies with the threat of Babylonian invasion of Judah in the 6th Century BCE. The author shows how this is certainly the case in connection with the moral and spiritual causes that lie beneath both these crises. But because Jeremiah was also able to offer hope to the people to whom he prophesied, that they would survive the chaos of defeat and exile, so too is he able to point us in our current situation to sources of hope for the future.
The preaching of Jonah and the teaching of Jesus are also brought in alongside the message of Jeremiah to support the argument. The author also cites extra-Biblical sources in poetry and art – the latter unfortunately not illustrated in colour for, I guess, practical reasons. He also draws upon his personal experience of joining a pilgrimage from London to Paris to lobby and pray for the delegates at the 2015 COP 21 Climate Conference.
Each chapter concludes with some discussion questions; there are (helpfully) footnotes rather than endnotes; and, at the back, an extensive bibliography, but no index. The book is also very readable. I could not commend it more.
Philip Clements-Jewery is a retired Baptist minister living in Huddersfield