Wednesday, December 16, 2009

There's your trouble ...

(with thanks to the Dixie Chicks for the title!)

As yet another "save the planet" exercise wraps up with more finger-pointing and rancor and personal attacks (some of the many signs that God has been left out of the discussion on the state of the environment!), the Lord has gob-smacked me with another piece of Scripture, which shows how we continue to miss the boat. That applies to Christians, too, who are also becoming divided over the whole Global Warming/Climate Change issue.

It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power. (Acts 1:7 KJV)

I call this a Scriptural "gob-smacking" because, as is often the case, it's the verse right before the one I use frequently to remind Christians of their responsibility to minister to the "yucky" in society (e.g. the Downtown East Side). And it just happens to encapsulate the problem we're facing right now with the environment.

We're observing times and seasons when we should be fulfilling The Great Commission - spreading the Gospel, healing the sick, binding the brokenhearted, etc. etc. We're watching symptoms like changes in the polar ice caps and widespread changes in weather patterns, rather than being Jesus' witnesses at home and abroad.

There are a couple of key issues here. One is that observing the times is strictly forbidden (Leviticus 19:26 and Deuteronomy 18:10). The meaning of "observing the times" ranges from the obvious -- astrology, tarot and reading tea leaves -- to the "scientific" -- focusing on events in nature and then obsessing on man's influence on them. The instruction in Deuteronomy is that "there shall not be found among you an observer of times": in other words, we shouldn't even be listening to such people, because that takes away our focus from God and what He called us to do.

Part of the trouble is that we are also called to be stewards of God's Creation, so it's easy for us to be motivated by fear and guilt to do things, thinking we're obeying the First Great Assignment (Gen. 1:26-28), and get sucked into the hysteria when the world keeps pointing at the signs and saying disaster is imminent and we have to avert it. Nowhere have I seen that we're even capable of averting disaster, at least, not in our own intellect. After all, human intellect -- science and technology -- got us into this mess: why would we expect to it get us out? One of the big problems is that environmentalist solutions are often at cross-purposes with God's will. Think about it. That's why Jesus gave us instructions about what we're supposed to do, and let God worry about the signs.

And since the signs are in God's control, He wouldn't worry about them, would He?

It's very much like the way the Israelites acted when Moses went up into the mountain to meet with God. No sooner had he gone -- and with their throats probably hoarse from shouting, "all that the Lord says we will do, we will do" -- than they made their golden calf and started worshipping it. They got impatient waiting for Moses to come back, and tried to take matters into their own hands. That's what we're doing here. Spiritually, are we getting tired of waiting for Jesus to come back and fix things, and creating our own golden calf to worship, hoping that will save our skins?

Jesus' parable of the ten virgins and the image of the thief in the night should tell us that, while only the Father knows the exact time of Jesus' return, the very time that we should be on our guard, doing the jobs He's assigned us is when we think He's not coming back and try to take matters into our own hands.

Another stern warning is in Deuteronomy 18:14, when God warns that the inhabitants of the promised land listened to those who observe times, and got driven out. Think about it.

From the enemy's perspective, the obsession on the environment is one way to make us disobedient to God; it may even be a futile attempt at forestalling Jesus' return by eliminating the signs. That's like taking cold medication and thinking you're cured of the flu.

Remember: the fear, the confusion, the personal attacks, the self-righteousness and the ultimate failure of our efforts at "fighting" climate change are all indications that God has shut out of the discussion. If He isn't involved, then that leaves only one alternative, and, sad to say, he doesn't give a flying fish about preserving God's Creation. He just wants to keep us at one another's throats and focusing on anything but God.


To close, another "stupid question" ("The only 'stupid' question is the one that doesn't get asked," as my old colleague Joe Easingwood would say) about the climate change debate: the local weather office recently predicted 20 cm (8") of snow over the weekend. We got a dusting, and then the temperature shot up and it turned to rain. Last summer, the weather office missed a major heat wave, and almost a year ago, was blind-sided by a major snowstorm.

My stupid question: if meteorologists, with all their scientific data and equipment and charts, can miss a forecast for something happening two or three days down the road, how are we supposed to believe climate projections over the next 10-20 years?

That's not a smartass rhetorical question: it's something that really needs to be answered.

1 comment:

  1. Drew,

    Great post - I was wondering why I this whole issue has not struck a chord with me, and perhaps you answered that question. On your "no stupid questions" humour, I have said in the past (jokingly of course, but perhaps unChristianly) that there are no stupid questions, only stupid people. Have a great day.