Saturday, August 7, 2010

When Mountains Cover and Hills Fall...

The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed.Thorn and thistle shall grow up on their altars.
They shall say to the mountains, "Cover us,"
and to the hills, "Fall on us." Hosea 10:8

In Luke's account of Jesus' death march to Golgotha, Jesus quotes Hosea and directs the weeping women to turn their thoughts to what may lie ahead for them, not for him.

What does lie ahead? Something to ponder on a level that has less to do with the apocalyptic and eschatological than with the practical.

Here in N. America and elsewhere around
the globe, wheat prices are going up. Russia has banned wheat exports for the remainder of 2010. They are experiencing the worst heat wave on record. Heat and drought have brought massive forest fires. Worst on record.
The drought and heat may further stress forests, bring insect infestations that kill whole forests--inevitably leading to more fires, more drought, more heat. It's a feedback loop that can and will accelerate.

Oh, by the way, the wheat crop got hit hard by the same conditions. Some of it literally burned.

In Pakistan, always ripe for a disaster due to the poverty, population density, tribalism and corrupt government, the monsoon rains have been the worst on record. Self-sufficient communities in the north of the country have been completely wiped out, bereft of food, water, shelter, roads, bridges and the means to support themselves.

At last report yesterday, 12 million people were directly affected by the rains and floods. The only way to get in any relief was by helicopter--and yet more rains had made it too dangerous to fly.

So far, 2010 is shaping up to be the warmest year on record. Climate change deniers continue to deny. Response from the developed world, the part of the world with actual choices and actual power, has been far too meager to qualify as anything but an insult and a charade.

I sometimes think of it as ripping creation's gifts right out of God's hands and spitting back in his face.

In Luke's quotation from Hosea (Luke 23:30-31), Jesus follows it up with this observation:

For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?

People experience a snowy winter in one region of the US and use it to deny climate change, anthropogenic climate change, specifically. Never mind years of average temperatures for the whole planet, averages that have been trending up.

OK, so we can't completely make the case for global shifts out of the record heat in Russia or the record monsoons in Pakistan. But we can't fool the melting point of ice and the nearly universal retreat of the world's glacier systems.

So if the disasters in Russia and Pakistan are "normal" and not the result of changes wrought to the climate system by human activity, then you really wouldn't want to see what REAL CLIMATE CHANGE would produce, now would you?

What is REAL CLIMATE CHANGE? I define that as what even Republicans can't deny because it has cost them their homes, their land, their jobs, their drinking water, their food, their paycheck, their politcal power, their talk show, their tea party, their family members, their money.

I define is as when even Republicans are forced to ask the mountains and hills to bury them, to give them an escape from the consequences of thier actions. Or lack of it.

That goes for Democrats, too, and for all of us you's and me's out there.

If what we are seeing this year ain't the real stuff, then we surely don't want to see the real stuff.

Might be worth considering this: God does not recognize private property or private property rights. God gave and gives to the whole of creation and calls the whole of creation to steward for the good of the whole, aka to the glory of God.

Whatever else we believe, perhaps we could agree on this: Never has the planet been in the grand experiment of supporting nearly 7 billion of us. Seven billions warring and using and consuming like there is no tomorrow.

Time to get moving. Failing to plan is planning to fail.

And putting the finishing touches on the gilded invitations to the mountains and the hills... Not much God glory in that.

I like what Joseph Sittler wrote years ago. Talking about this is not stepping away from grave theological issues. It is stepping right into the middle of them.

Theology always lives between the rocks and the hard places. Otherwise, what good would it be? That's where all the God glory is.


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