Monday, 28 July 2008

God should be Green (and red!)

My sermon (off the Mount) on selected texts, outrageously cherry-picked and totally out of context!

Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. "Either, we get our numbers and our activities into harmony with the powers of the earth to support life or, collapsing ecosystems will do the job for us." (Green Party Manifesto for a Sustainable Society) It seems to me as though the white Christians down the centuries have done the most to fill the earth and to subdue it and, often, at the expense of the 'heathen' from the numerous tribes and peoples who simply wanted to be left alone to get on with their sustainable ways of life!

First, reducing the growth in our numbers and then reducing our high impact western populations, is still rarely discussed outside the Green Party. I fear that with the rise of creationism and fervent, right wing interpretations of the Bible in favour of armed force and homophobia, evangelical Christianity is still going in the wrong direction. Ironically, they insist they are the only ones with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and the rest of us are the great unwashed - we have not been washed in the blood of the Lamb.

Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Do God but don't do aggression, the war crimes and the colonialism that is the hallmark of the nations that have sought to live by the Bible. Seek to live more sustainably, with a lower carbon footprint, having less of an impact and taking fewer of your unfair share of the earth's limited resources.

The early Church had all things in common, according to the Acts of the Apostles. Very Communistic, very red and very Christian - but you would never have thought so! 2 Corinthians 8 v 13-15 says in effect, "From each according to his ability; to each according to his need." Here, in the Bible itself, we have good, left wing principles espoused. Ironically, it has been the traditional Christian nations, that regard Communism as so evil and godless, that have spent their taxes on decades of fighting and, in the process, killing millions of people, like you and me, that we labelled as Communists. This was in SE Asia!

The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. The earth is now dominated by the rich humans in the north of the planet who rule as Lords and masters of all - with our World Bank, our World Trade Organisation and our International Monetary Fund. The black dominated UN is ignored by the white dominated USA/UK/Israel when it suits them. These three powerful nations rule the Middle East and act with impunity, whenever they wish, in protecting their vital strategic interests.

All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purposes. But, not work for good for anyone if we persist in the widespread and weird attitude that money and electricity grow on trees and that we have a God-given right to ever rising population and ever rising material standards of living. Nature for some, God for others, will have the last word if we persist in behaving as if we know better than nature/God.

There is, therefore, no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8 But, we all condemn ourselves if we persist in living outside the laws that say that it is pretty foolish to continue to live infinitely on a planet that is finite; living unnaturally on a planet that is natural; living with constant economic growth on a planet that is not growing in line with our ever greedy demands.

The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God'. The fool says - even those or especially those who believe in God - that there is no climate change caused by human activities and that we humans can carry on regardless with burning up our one off geological inheritance, as if it will last forever and have no negative consequences from that burning.

Let not the sun go down on your anger. However, there is an anger that is acceptable and very necessary. For example, as seen by not the aggressive Jesus but the angry Jesus in the Temple. In one discussion, someone thought I was cross. I denied it at the time but what others say about you is invariably correct. More people like me who are living simply so that others may simply live, should be cross that the big majority are living greedily with an even bigger eco-footprint than me and are, therefore, doing even more than me to bring our way of life crashing down around our ears, even sooner. I am, in fact, more the true patriot and the true friend of the motorist!

The Right, the Righteous and the Unrighteous

It seems to me that, since the end of the Attlee government in 1951, we have had our right wing electorates voting in right wing governments of either main party.

Right wing is characterised by belligerence of foreign policy in invading and attacking Korea, Egypt, SE Asia, the 'Belgrano' and, more recently, Afghanistan and Iraq. After this, not surprisingly, right wing is characterised by a lack of sympathy for the foreigner. However, this does not include Americans and Canadians and Australians who look like us and speak English almost as well as us! Right wing is characterised by generosity of spirit towards the arms manufacturers and traders with their subsidies from the taxpayer but much less so for those on State benefits of various kinds.

So right wing governments can't help but be right and on the right; always regarding the military and their supply line as the righteous but those on the scrounge as the unrighteous - despite the fact that it is these very right wing governments and their right wing electorates who decide on the 'largesse' going to the benefit claimants.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

This I Believe

Faith is very much part of the problem when even Bible-believing Christians insist that when the Lord comes again He will make a new heaven and a new earth and all will be well. It leads to complacency and a carry on regardless mindset when our lifestyles - our numbers and our activities - are putting the planet's life support systems under such strain.

For them, catastrophic climate change already affecting the poor nations, together with the fast melting of the Arctic ice and, resource depletion just does not impinge upon the far greater issue of an eternity with the Lord. Everything else - even ecocide - pales into insignificance when compared with making disciples, of saving souls, winning all who are to be saved for the Kingdom in the end days. However, this is no longer an adequate response, in my opinion.

Not adequate because our extravagant lifestyles - and warfare, for that matter (Armageddon in the Middle East is biblical and essential and fully supported by the righteous of the Lord, who do so like to help things along!) - is seen as much amongst the Lord's faithful as it is amongst everyone else. There is no difference. Complacency - and scepticism that we need to change our behaviours - is as prevalent amongst the Lord's saved as it is amongst the rest. In fact, for the Lord's people, the certainty of His return takes away any urgency to do anything about over-filling the earth with humans and subduing it to leave less and less in the way of essential resources and habitable land.

Now, wrong kind of fullness from too much subduing!

The Bible says, "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof ". Fullness meaning rich in resources, an abundance of wildlife and species and, fertile in soils to support all life.

That biblical text, I think, explains why humans are so dominant, still on the ascendancy and full of themselves! As the fullness of resources wastes away and as humans overfill the earth, to continue to assert that the earth is the Lord's does make me wonder if the Lord would now like to relinquish his claim on it. The Lord can no longer be proud of a planet that His creation is busily over-exploiting, indeed trashing in many parts and, making uninhabitable for yet more species humans have made extinct. One day, it may be our turn!

For too long, life has already ended prematurely for too many peoples on this planet.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

The religious and political right is invariably wrong, hypocritical and inflamatory!

Our right wing governments and electorates love to assume that we are going to be attacked at any time. We love to have enemies, too. Both help to justify our armaments, our aggression and our attacks. Tough, hard, bellicose stances by our leaders always attract the love of the electorate and their votes. Our most outstanding post-war prime ministers have been our great war leaders, Churchill, Thatcher and Blair. Eden is discredited. His right wing Conservative Party Cabinet who, with France and Israel attacked Egypt, failed to get the agreement and support of the USA and so lost the war.

For 63 years, the right in the US/UK/Israel first invented and used, and then maintained the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons in the world. The right wing democracies soon made the Bomb too destructive to be of any practical use. Yet, even so, our side came the nearest to using them in 1962 after our side provocatively put Jupiter missiles in Turkey near the border with the Soviet Union - our number one enemy. The political and religious right wingers worked hard to persuade Kennedy to use nuclear weapons - for a
second occasion being the first to use them. A more right wing, Republican president, might not have resisted their demands to nuke the evil, Communist Russians.

Our side has always been the most bellicose in word and deed in attacking countries with Communist rulers or, governments with militant, Islamic tendencies that refuse to behave like we do in the world. Well, when you have all earthly power, of course might is right and you have a duty under God to make other nations as blessed and democratic and as Christian as yours!

Our side has tried hard to make more user friendly battlefield nuclear weapons that could be of practical use in our wars around the world. We have always made the running in finding new ways to spend our one-off wealth on ever more sophisticated and wonderful conventional and nuclear weapon systems, eg Polaris to make us independent of the US, Cruise missiles, star wars, renewing Trident - and all when the US is our best and closest buddy; and, the only country with whom we have a special relationship.

We don't believe in balance - only imbalance in favour of the US, UK, Israel! The other side gets it in the neck from our invasions, attacks and occupations if the other side, our enemy, try and correct the imbalance to make for less aggression by our side. Our behaviour around the world in attacking countries without nuclear weapons, sends the powerful signal to them that they
must have the Bomb to prevent them from being attacked - and attacked by us; us who are always right and righteous and well intentioned and always know what is best for everyone else!

Our right wing electorates in the world's super-power bloc, love hard, tough, warring leaders to throw their weight about and to command the love and respect of the electorate. Democracy means war, aggression and war crimes - even from 1945 - by the great, outstanding and upstanding democracies! Right is wrong - for both our right wing political leaders and the right wing Christians who are right in there, whispering encouragements in their ears.

Might is right for the right, who are always right and blessed of the Lord. They are the righteous of the Lord, after all!

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

My green logic is impeccable but illogical!

I think carbon cutting targets are a waste of time when absolutely no-one
is prepared to make any cuts - in fact, quite the opposite - and those like
you and me who realise the urgency of such things have already cut as much
as we possibly can - and go on doing so!

Intelligent people, including my team manager, who have gone through the
education system to university standard, disagreed with me this morning
(they were not disagreeing for fun, even though Paul, the manager is full
of wicked fun!) that if 2Kw fan heaters are blasting out, that may be
because two windows on the other side of the room were wide open!
Paul, the TM said that they had the fan heaters on yesterday
when the windows were closed. Therefore, the windows being open were
irrelevant to the fan heaters being on! Anyway, there was an awful smell
in the room this morning. My argument was lost! The heaters stayed
firmly on - and, on a warm day. Failed again!

This is similar to the occasional scenario in the office of someone being
too cold and having the fan heater on by their feet and their neighbour
being too warm and having the cooling fan on wafting lovely cool air into
their face!

There is just no conception, in even well educated people, that what we do
today has irreversible consequences for tomorrow. Is there any hope for
poor, heaving humanity on its one and only planet creaking at the seams?!"