We say we seek unity, community, love, peace—a new heaven and a new earth. But we cannot get to unity through our longings. We are too disordered by our own worries. Therefore, profound experiences of joined humanity usually come only in the face of mortal danger. . . . Still, sometimes there is a shift in how we see . . .
In the last hundred years, humans have so altered the earth that ours is no longer the same stable planet upon which civilization took root ten thousand years ago. A different world is coming.
According to Genesis, God gave us “dominion,” that we might “fill the earth and subdue it!” Now, this commandment is rather different from all the others in that we have performed it eagerly, to the letter of the law. The Earth: we filled it, and we subdued it. But unlike a horse or a tractor which the master takes back to the shed when its work is done, we don’t know who our master is any more, or when to rest. We are going to keep filling this earth and subduing it until it is subdone!
Unlike gun control or our criminal justice system, which no politician will discuss, hunger and poverty have sometimes mattered to elected leaders. Yesterday, I heard President Lyndon Johnson’s voice on the radio, coming from 1964. He was declaring “war on poverty” in that famous Texas drawl. Yet how tragic was the news that followed. One out of six of us is poor; that is, has less than $23,000 for a household of four. The news story went on to report that although malnutrition is not the scourge in America that it had been before President Johnson started the Food Stamp program, unlike the poor in Johnson’s day, today’s poor are generally employed—and hungry.
Great question: Is Job blessed because things turned out well? Can he be happy–be satisfied, have peace, sing “It is well with my soul”–without the happy ending? Is Jesus blessed while he is on the cross, still unaware of what shall come? How critical to your own life–and even to the planet’s–your answer is!