Two things blasted out from the newspaper last Thursday.
1) The Verizon workers finally got fed up and went on strike. While Verizon makes billions of dollars, they minimally give their workers raises and then try to take it back by making them pay more for medical.
2) The ice sheet on Greenland was melting weeks ahead of the earliest record of it. The temperature in Nuuk was 62 degrees one day last week, breaking the record by six degrees!
The ice is melting.
The one percent have kept wages on ice for decades, now, scaring people with job losses and pleading recession and other expenses. Meanwhile, all sorts of fat cats have been hoarding money in secret banks and threatening to move their corporations to Ireland if anyone bothers them. None of the candidates have done or could do anything about the shrinking middle class and wage stagnation while the 1% increased their take to unprecedented levels. Someone did something. Maybe the ice is melting on rapacious capitalism. The supporters of Bernie Sanders and Donald trump are, hopefully, the tip of the ice berg.
Meanwhile, although most scientists agree that humans are influencing climate changes – the ones that produce the extreme droughts in Africa, where I am right now, the extreme storms we have been experiencing, and the shocking loss of polar ice, the governments of the world are still making sure that no remedy moves too fast to disrupt profits. Maybe that is because most of the wealth resides in the pockets of old people (you probably notice who is running for president — Ted Cruz is 45, the rest are over 60: Sanders 74, Trump 69, Clinton 68, Kasich 63), so they can ride it out until they are dead. That’s how capitalism works when it is only moored by its own logic. I think many people are trying to keep the facts out of their minds, but it is hard to do it when sea levels start wiping out your shore line and extreme weather impacts food supplies. The old might be riding it out until we all die!
What if the ice melts and there is major social disruption as disgusted and impoverished people demand justice? What if the ice melts and the earth as we know it is radically changed, or even pushed into unforeseen catastrophe? What if nothing happens, but every movie you see convinces you to be afraid of apocalyptic inevitabilities? Or worse, what if they teach you that you, alone, or you and your band of tech savvy millennials, are responsible for saving the world?
In Job 6, he complains about his friends, who give him the wisdom they know rather than the truth he needs from God. I think his words at least give us a way to ponder what is happening:
But my brothers are as undependable as intermittent streams,
as the streams that overflow
when darkened by thawing ice
and swollen with melting snow,
but that stop flowing in the dry season,
and in the heat vanish from their channels.
Caravans turn aside from their routes;
they go off into the wasteland and perish.
The caravans of Tema look for water,
the traveling merchants of Sheba look in hope.
They are distressed, because they had been confident;
they arrive there, only to be disappointed.
Like Job’s friends, a lot of our friends think that tomorrow will just be like today, or even better; the experts will work things out and more progress will save us from what progress created. The merchants, meanwhile, like those hoping for good deals outside Sheba (or in China), will remain confident until they find their holes run dry, the holes they exploited until they ran dry. Meanwhile the waterways are threatened with ice melt.
As you know, Job ends up his suffering and meditation upon it by kneeling before God and surrendering to the Lord’s ways, even though they are beyond his understanding. It might be time for that. The ice is melting.
I find it amazing that my threatened friends also think they can work things out and nothing too bad will happen, just because everyone always thinks that. They are not, generally, very good pray-ers. They are not, generally, developing a reaction of trusting God in the face of what is overwhelming. They may take to the streets or run to their science, but they are hesitant to fall on their knees. It may be too late to do anything else, finally.