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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Monday, February 05, 2007

It Ain't Easy Being Prophetic

Hot Time on the Old Earth

Someone once said that conservatives have an easier task persuading people that conservatism is right compared with liberals. After all, a conservative's pitch is either that things are okay, just the way they are, or that we have gone too far in our society and we need go back to the way things used to be. A liberal, on the other hand, has to say that we need to make changes in the way we are living in order to make them better for everyone.

I cannot say that this is true for all issues of contention between liberals and conservatives. As with all blanket statements, it cannot cover all circumstances. However, when we consider the issue of Global Warming, I believe we see this maxim in action.

Consider these responses to a question from the Newsok.com website:

Humans "very likely" are the cause of climate change, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released this morning (Friday). For this group, "very likely" means the scientists have more than 90 percent confidence that human emissions of greenhouse gases have caused observed warming over the past 50 years. Will you change your behavior as a result? Does the responsibility for change fall to individuals or the government?

Here are some of the responses:

I believe volcanos and the heating of the crust of the earth has more to do with the warming of the atmosphere than with manmade activity. Although, regional brown clouds, paving of farm land, artificial irrigation, and other things like eastern red cedar trees cause temprature rise in localized areas. I think it is vain of mankind to think we have a worldwide impact on the weather. The water is warming in the artic causing the ice shelf to break apart. The ambient temp. of the air is way below freezing but has risen from 32 below to 30 below zero, a two degree rise in air temp, won't cause the ice shelf to break apart..
Doug , Madill

Can you say 1500 year cycle?? Man has been using fossil fuels for less than 200 years, and the EU bunch (including Al Gore)want us to believe that we are responsible for the weather? What a sad bunch of egotists. Folks, man doesn't have that much stroke!!!
Don, Oklahoma City

I could limit my trips to Walmart to once per week.
Stan, Guthrie

No one wishes more than I that Global Warming would just GO AWAY! I am a child of the 50's and 60's, and I have a nostalgic wish that we could just go back to the "good old days" of unlimited, cheap gasoline. I miss the muscles cars (giddyup, giddyup, 409, 409). I long for bright, blue, smog free skies. I wish I could make the inside of my house feel like Hawaii during the warmest summers and the coldest winters. And I miss the sight of oil derricks pumping their black gold out of the Oklahoma hills as I cruise along Route 66.

But those days are over. In reality, they never should have been. We cannot continue to live beyond our planetary budget simply because this is what we are used to. Like it or not we must change, or future generations will curse the memory of this generation.

There is no "profit" in being a "prophet". Just ask Amos from the Hebrew scriptures. He was a shepherd to came to the town of Bethel, and did not like what he saw. So he began to tell the people there that if they did not shape up, the Lord was going to ship them out. Finally, a leader of the established church, Amaziah by name, came to tell Amos to shut up and quit stirring up trouble.

We read in the book of Amos:
Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent word to Jeroboam, king of Israel: "Amos has conspired against you here within Israel; the country cannot endure all his words.
For this is what Amos says: Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be exiled from its land." To Amos, Amaziah said: "Off with you, visionary, flee to the land of Judah! There earn your bread by prophesying, but never again prophesy in Bethel; for it is the king's sanctuary and a royal temple." Amos answered Amaziah, "I was no prophet, nor have I belonged to a company of prophets; I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores. The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me, Go, prophesy to my people Israel. Now hear the word of the LORD!" You say: prophesy not against Israel, preach not against the house of Isaac. Now thus says the LORD: Your wife shall be made a harlot in the city, and your sons and daughters shall fall by the sword; Your land shall be divided by measuring line, and you yourself shall die in an unclean land; Israel shall be exiled far from its land.

So as Amos was unafraid to speak truth to power, we Liberals should not be afraid to tell the truth to those who counsel ease and comfort while signs and portents of global disaster appear all around us.

People who fortell disaster are often dismissed as "Cassandras", people who make predictions of disasters which no one will believe. The trouble is, we forget that in the Greek stories about her, Cassandra was always right!

Cassandra by Evelyn De Morgan

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