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Falling without a Parachute

Come gather 'round people

Wherever you roam

And admit that the waters

Around you have grown

And accept it that soon

You'll be drenched to the bone

If your time to you is worth savin'

And you better start swimmin'

Or you'll sink like a stone

For the times they are a-changin'- Bob Dylan

As we hurtle towards an uncertain tomorrow, the sensation is akin to a free fall with a malfunctioning parachute, compelling a resounding call to shake the foundations of our current trajectory. The relentless march of climate breakdown, marked by crop failures, erratic weather patterns, and rising sea levels, propels humanity into a rapid descent, prompting us to search urgently for effective ways to hit the brakes and regain control.

Western civilization transitions from post-war relative stability, a period of orientation, into disorientation, where the hopes and dreams of a generation are shattered. To avert the worst and adapt in love to what will be, we must reorient ourselves to our current reality.

Within this descent, humanity endures profound suffering, painting a vivid and distressing picture of our ecological emergency. Communities are torn apart, families displaced in the aftermath of ruthless storms, and the harsh reality of hunger intensifies. This is exacerbated by climate-triggered droughts that ruthlessly strip away rainfall and vital crops – the very essence of sustenance.

For a brief moment, many in the global north may downplay our peril, resembling ostriches with heads in the sand, distracting ourselves from the painful reality and living in functional denial. For the global south, this luxury is not an option; crops fail, children die, and temperatures peak above levels compatible with human life.

What was once a distant nightmare, the looming specter of societal collapse, is now a palpable reality etched practically in the stone of our future. Standing at 1.2 degrees above preindustrial temperatures and hurtling towards a projected 2.7 degrees by the century's end, the critical question shifts from debating the inevitability of near-term catastrophe to navigating the nuanced levels of actual and impending disaster. While science provides indispensable insights, it's evident that it alone is not the silver bullet we had naively hoped for in addressing this intricate crisis.

Confronting this unfolding challenge demands a transcendence beyond the conventional scientific playbook, urging a collective and urgent initiation into a spiritual and ethical revolution. This revolution is not a passive response but an active and transformative process in which we must weave together fresh narratives and revitalize forgotten tales, providing a renewed orientation. Yes, we need scientists, but we also need prophets, poets, artists, and educators who offer the mythical narrative fuel to change our hearts as well as our minds.

Within this rich tapestry of stories, the new moral vision and spiritual revolution emerge as potent tools to recalibrate our moral compass and collectively dream up an entirely new world. This revolution, what Jesus called the Kingdom of God, a bona fide manifesto of mercy, demands both deconstruction and substantial reconstruction. The unholy trinity and idols of our age – unrestrained capitalism, individualism, and fossil fuel consumerism – must be dismantled. It's not merely about transitioning to a green economy; it's a spiritual tug-of-war, dismantling narratives of economic growth and the worship of self.

The new revolution presents a narrative superior in essence – one where love, compassion, and justice, interwoven with the inherent dignity of all humans, become the defining principles of a good life. Envision a future deeply rooted in local vibrancy, placing emphasis on individual simplicity and public wealth as guiding principles in navigating the unpredictable twists of a changing world.

This is the collective endeavor – a transformative journey, a spiritual revolution, which offers a hope that we may indeed at this late hour choose the better catastrophe by averting the worst of what may be and adapting in love to what will be.

The line it is drawn

The curse it is cast

The slow one now

Will later be fast

As the present now

Will later be past

The order is rapidly fadin'

And the first one now

Will later be last

For the times they are a-changin'- Bob Dylan


Rev’d Jon Swales, 2024


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