We have launched this site to provide some background information to our new book “No oil in the lamp: Fuel, faith and the the energy crisis”, which was launched by us at Greenbelt 2012. We are also providing a space for discussion around the vitally important issue of resource depletion for Christians.
August 2008 saw oil prices spike upward to a record peak before falling back. The roller-coaster ride since then, with energy costs on a continuing upward trend, has caused enormous disruption to the global economy. Yet if some analysts are correct, we are only in the foothills of the crisis, with unknown obstacles and peaks lying ahead. However, the view is not completely negative: There could be many benefits in retreating from our oil dependence. Our book is an attempt to warn Christians about what will happen over the next few years and to enable us to work together to map out a strategy to get through what will be very profound lifestyle changes.
When we started writing the book (way back in 2009) there were no other books on Peak oil from a Christian perspective. (In fact this is one of the questions the publishers ask you when you submit the first few chapters to them -are there any other books on this area?). In those days we could honestly say no. Since then two books have been published, beating us to it. In a way this is encouraging since it shows there is growing interest and concern in Christian circles in this area and proves to our publisher they were right to back us.
The other books are in order of publication “The coming oil storm” by Ron Rhodes and “Let us be Human: Christianity for a collapsing culture” by Rev Sam Norton.
We have read the first of these. I think its fair to say that Ron Rhodes theology is not shared by either of us. He writes very well and his description of the problem is first class. His theology of end times is not shared by us however.
Sam Norton’s book we have not read. This is mostly because we were very close to a publishers deadline. I was worried that if we read it we might want to add more to our book when it was already too long! It has a fairly apocalyptic title but my understanding is that he rejects the end times theology of Ron Rhodes. Its also mainly theology. We would like to think that our book is complimentary to Sam Norton’s book. Here is a brief synopsis of our book.
Chapter 1. “What’s the problem?” We describe the background to peak oil and look at some of the moral issues facing Christians from oil use.
Chapter 2. “What about Christians?” We look at Christian attitudes to this issue but also those in popular culture.
Chapter 3. “Can’t we just make do with Coal, Gas or Nuclear power?” We ask the question can any conventional energy sources save us? and we look at some of the moral issues facing Christians from use of these sources of energy.
Chapter 4. “What about alternative energy? Part 1: Renewable electricity”
Chapter 5. What about alternative energy? Part 2: Renewable heat and Transport”
One criticism of some of the secular books we have read on peak oil is that they either embrace or dismiss renewables (but either way without looking at the alternatives in depth). We have and there are lot of them to cover, hence two chapters. We have a more balanced view, neither thinking there is a technofix or dismissing them completely. We also look at some of the moral issues facing Christians from these sources of energy.
Chapter 6. “But we don’t eat oil, do we?” In this chapter we briefly look at the neglected area of food and chemicals. These are two of the major challenges we face from peak oil.
Chapter 7. “Surely the Market will provide? – The Economics of resource depletion”. In this chapter we critique the current economic system and briefly examine some the alternative models that may be compatible with a life after oil from a Christian perspective.
Chapter 8. “What are the consequences if we just carry on?” We do a bit of futureology.
Chapter 9. “Transition – What’s the big idea?” We look at the transition movement, a social movement that is a response to peak oil and climate change at the local level.
Chapter 10. “Does the Bible have anything to say here? (Towards a theology of peak oil).
At last we get to some theology. We do not claim to be theologians but have a go…
Chapter 11. “What can I do?” A very practical chapter. We look at transport, energy, food and chemicals at three different levels of difficulty (and expense).
Chapter 12. “What can my church do?” We raise some questions about doing church in the 21st century and look at practical examples of what some churches have done to save energy etc. We also look at the Christian discipline of meditation as an aid to imagining a different future (not as weird as it sounds).
Chapter 13. “Where do we go from here? (Conclusion)”. We wrap it up and look at the encouragements and discouragements as we go forward. There is also a short glossary and the inevitable study guide.
The book is also now available in electronic versions. The (paperback) book can be used in a group setting for study and has also been used as the focus for a Sunday service.
The book has got great reviews, excerpts of which can be seen on the right hand side of the page. “No oil in the lamp” is available for purchase in the US and indeed worldwide (see links on the right). You can also “like” us on Facebook at “No oil in the lamp”. Please feel free to interact with us by posting to Facebook or the blog pages.