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The Task of the Prophet

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

The science is unequivocal – we find ourselves at a critical juncture in history.

At this hinge of history, we need prophets who, however uncomfortable it makes people, speak truth and articulate our dire situation with clarity. They speak not only to the head but to the heart.

Our planet is now 1.2 degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial times, and the consequences are becoming increasingly evident. From heightened instances of floods and wildfires to unprecedented weather events, we're already witnessing the grim reality of a changing climate.

At this hinge of history, we need prophets who articulate truth in a culture of denial. They are not fortune tellers who speak precisely about future events, but they forthtell and speak urgently about the speed and direction of travel.

The question that looms large is not whether catastrophe awaits us, but rather how severe it will be. Alarming projections suggest we could surpass the 1.5-degree mark within a decade and are on a current trajectory to reach a catastrophic 2.7 degrees by the end of this century, ushering in a world marred by mass starvation, mass migration, and societal collapse.

At this hinge of history, we need prophets who speak to power for the sake of the powerless. The prophets speak; they cannot be complicit by silence nor be deaf to the cries of the poor and the groaning of the earth.

What we must emphasize is that this description of possible futures is not confined to the fringes of speculative scientific thought but is rooted firmly within the mainstream consensus view.

At the hinge of history, the prophet seeks to speak through the fog of soft denial to stir imaginations so that a new world becomes possible. They do not peddle hopium that distracts from reality but enact the hope found in reality and repentance.

Amidst this grim backdrop, scientists are unequivocal in their message: we must take swift and decisive action to significantly reduce global fossil fuel emissions. This is the only way to avert the worst-case scenarios.

However, the odds are stacked against us due to elite power and politics showing that what is needed to avoid the worst-case scenario is a social and economic revolution. A small fraction of the global population, driven by the desire to maintain their wealth, power, and the status quo, appears to be pushing us closer to the precipice of climate breakdown, seemingly indifferent to the plight of the many who will suffer.

At this hinge of history, we need prophets who challenge the status quo and encourage others to resist the beast of unrestrained capitalism. The prophet requires courage as she will speak to those corrupted by power, to those who have a vested interest in silencing those who challenge the status quo.

The future is open. It is not fixed. What is certain is that fossil fuel-high consumerism civilization is finished. The question is how will it end? Will it end through collapse, or will it end because the world manages to transform quickly and realign itself with something more in line with a livable future?

The prophet seeks to awaken the community. She may not have all the answers, but out of love for justice and loyalty to God, she must articulate reality and urge repentance and recalibration.

The prophet's message is a challenge to the economic and political elite, but she cannot be silenced; she will speak.


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