Last night a small group of us watched a great little movie at High St. about how Cuba handled their own peak oil crisis. The movie was very informative and hopeful, weaving together a tight narrative about how the people and government of Cuba worked together to solve the very serious problems created in the early 90's by the collapse of their economy and massive shortages of oil and petro-chemicals. Following the movie we had a good time of discussion and sharing. I think that we were all generally encouraged by the movie even though it made us shutter to think of how utterly dependent our current society is upon oil and the way in which all of its derivatives have shaped our culture, our identity as human beings, and our views of life and meaning. Anyhow, I was reading a passage in Jeremiah this morning that really hit me in the light of our time together last night. It struck me because it still seems like so much of what we see, hear, and live about Jesus has so little to say about the toughest issues that we face in our world. Things are changing to be sure, and a lot of people are awakening to the deep resevoirs of meaning, inspiration and actionable insight that our faith can bring to the most pressing questions of our time (war/militarism, poverty/inequality, religious violence/fanaticism, environmental stewardship, responsible government and fiscal policy, the intractable conflict between limited resources and unlimited market appetites, to name a few). May God continue to carry forward this change through us and in us.......here is the passage:
"Jeremiah, say to the people, 'This is what the Lord says: When people fall down, don't they get up again? When they start start down the wrong road and discover their mistake, don't they turn back? Then why do these people keep going along their self-destructive path, refusing to turn back, even though I have warned them? I listen to their conversations, and what do I hear? Is anyone sorry for sin? Does anyone say, 'What a terrible thing I have done'? No! All are running down the path of sin as swiftly as a horse rushing into battle! The stork knows the time of her migration, as do the turtledove, the swallow, and the crane. They all return at the proper time each year. But not my people! They do not know what the Lord requires of them.
How can you say, 'We are wise because we have the law of the Lord,' when your teachers have twisted it so badly? These wise teachers will be shamed by exile for their sin, for they have rejected the word of the Lord. Are they so wise after all? I will give their wives and their farms to others. From the least to the greatest, they trick others to get what does not belong to them. Yes, even my prophets and priests are like that. They offer superficial treatments for my people's mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when all is war. Are they ashamed when they do these disgusting things? No, not at all-they don't even blush! Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered. They will be humbled when they are punished, says the Lord. I will take away their rich harvests of figs and grapes. Their fruit trees will all die. All good things I prepared for them will soon be gone. I, the Lord, have spoken (Jeremiah 8:1-13)!"