Humanist Corner August 2018

“The world as have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” Albert Einstein
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change we seek.” Barrack Obama
Objectively speaking, change may be good or bad as our times starkly reveal. What brought me through the UU door, surely as with many of you, was the acceptance even encouragement of change – including even a secular brand of spirituality. Suppose someone touted belief in the sacred Blue Cow, the UU response would likely be “How does that go?”
Happily the spirit of activism is still alive and well. Our folks showing up for the LGBTQ community, and our association’s leaders trotted off to jail putting their bodies where their beliefs are. Back in the day I found myself demonstrating outside Hurlburt where they were training Reagan’s killer Contras. Incidentally, the base I retired from. Across the road was the opposition, many fellow retirees I knew, toting flags and bullhorns. Probably many well aware that what they knew just wasn’t so. Talk about tangles of cognitive dissonance! Just a personal marker in times of change such as humans have never experienced. Yet in many ways, so little has changed…
Shortly before sitting down to write this, the evening news showed the West still on fire and Europe sweltering in heat way off the charts. Bell’s Lisbon at 111 degrees (hottest ever) and other parts of the Continent climbing to 118 degrees! We knew this was coming forty years ago when Al Gore was just a young congressman. Earth’s carbon concentrations are at levels not seen in 800,000 years according to a recent report by 500 of the world’s scientists. Meanwhile the country’s government that’s providing over 15% of it refuses to acknowledge what we’re doing to our ecosystem. Sadly those in the Southern hemisphere are paying most heavily for a problem primarily caused in the North. Huge migrations reflecting a violence meted out to ourselves and our habitat will surely grow. As the French President recently reminded our congress, “There is no Planet B!”
Here in the world’s most Christian nation it’s even more incredible that millions of our citizens welcome “End Times” with open arms; or satisfy their puzzlement by attributing daily calamities to the “Mystery.” The man upstairs surely knows what he’s doing, they say. I certainly can’t judge that opinion by any moral standard I know. Chaos theory is likely just as solid a response!
Happily though even many evangelical folks have realized we’re not the boss, feeling the need to be stewards and protectors of the Creation God has handed them. Even more amazing religious change is even afoot back in my birthplace. The Province of Quebec. Odin Tonness forwarded a Canadian article to me that was a truly amazing indicator of change. How well I recall in my younger years driving through little French villages centered around huge Catholic edifices – while often the children ran threadbare on those chill Winter days. In 1950 at least 95% of the population attended Mass. Today only 5% do! On last count 547 churches had closed were sold, or transformed into such things as university reading rooms, luxury condominiums, upscale fitness centers, theaters and other entertainment centers. One citizen remarked that true to the churches mission they still serve the community. Guess that’s a matter of opinion but thinking back to those early years in Montreal, it’s hard to imagine –
Just an aside but we did miss the latest End Day, scheduled for July 27th under a heavy and rare “blood moon.” So guess it’s back to the prophetic drawing board for those disappointed ones. My own disappointment, likely as heartfelt, is that fact and science have contributed so slowly to our cultural wisdom. Yet two factors still manage to lift my spirits and stir up optimism. Sufficient technology could well be available – and half our species is female! Okay, you know my shtick. Got a brand new minister for our little flock too! Full speed ahead-