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Everyone Deserves Air Conditioning

Everyone Deserves Air Conditioning

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world. ~James 1:27

by Rev. Randy Knighten on August 01, 2023

Everyone Deserves Air Conditioning

Listening to NPR is a regular practice of mine. As I move through the details of my work here at Saint John’s and in the community with NPR in the background, I am often reminded of the theologian Karl Barth. Barth is often mentioned for encouraging pastors to do ministry with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other in order to have an awareness of issues in our community and in the world. This morning as I was listening to NPR, I heard a reporter mention how July 2023 is the hottest month ever recorded on Earth. They then went on to discuss the continual effects that climate change is having throughout the world.

Minutes later on KUT, our local NPR station, I heard another report on how there is no federal mandate requiring air conditioning for public housing units. There is a requirement that housing units have heat, but cooling has never been required. I was startled by the information. I have known people who have lived in public housing and many of them are senior adults and vulnerable to heat-related illness. The report went on to mention that recently it was discovered that 2,400 public housing units in San Antonio alone have no air conditioning. The Austin numbers were not mentioned.

When the book of James was written, widows and orphans were a population that experienced great need in ancient societies. They were considered the most vulnerable in their society. Just as the church was called to care for those that experienced great need and suffering then, we continue to be called to care for those who are the most vulnerable in our communities today.

In the image above, heatwave researcher Dr. Gulrez Shah Azhar provides some tips for staying cool without AC. Learn more at npr.org/sections//2023/07/22/1188926588/wet-socks-can-make-a-difference-tips-from-readers-on-keeping-cool-without-ac

Remember to check on those that you know that are most vulnerable to the impact of heat-related illness this summer. Also, take some time to learn more about organizations like Family Eldercare that directly serve those in our community suffering because of the heat.

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