Saturday, January 01, 2005

What The Tsunami Really Means

Well it is January 1, 2005, so it is technically time for a frivolous Top Ten List, such as the Top Ten Vegetables Resembling Celebrities, or Top Ten Dictators Who May Play Bridge with Hitler and Stalin in the Afterlife, or Top Ten Annoying Inventions That Were Supposed to Make Our Lives Better. This year's candidate: The cell phone, for better AND worse. I feel a lifetime commitment taking shape. Starting at the precipice of New Year's Eve. But that Eve was an Eve like no other in recent memory, because so many people were mourning the devastation wrought by the Christmas Tsunami. It is impossible to write about that event in the context of a year marked by our Attention to the Ridiculous, starting with the tidal wave of media coverage of Janet Jackson's flimsy seams. So we are observing Death from a Distance, as we did a decade earlier when almost a million Africans died in the Rwanda tragedy. We see it with our eyes as though we are watching a movie. Visible suffering, no more moving than reading about ancient battles, volcanic eruptions, massacres and epidemics. It is as though we are watching history, passively, intellectually, without any investment whatever. Unless you have a relative vacationing in the area. What is the point of it all? I think there are several, at least several that come to my mind. We have just witnessed a large event, much larger than the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Greater than four major hurricanes slamming into Florida. More important, surely, than the efforts of the Space Program that convince us we are capable of anything. We are not. The past half century has brought changes that have improved our lives, broadened our outlook and immeasurably enhanced our self esteem. They have also assaulted the environment, darkened our understanding, and served divorce papers to our Creator. I would have used the term Empancipation in that respect, as a child would from a parent, but my sense is we see ourselves as co-equal with God, not dependent on Him. So in our minds it is a divorce. Oh, sure, we still love God, we are just no longer "in love" with Him. So we are moving on, as any evolving and self-aware adult would do. But we assure Him we will always remain Friends. No hard feelings, Buddy. You served us well when we needed you, back in the days of the Bubonic Plague when no one knew from one hour to the next if they would awaken to a new day. But not now. We have New Philosophies. More sophisticated ones that an Ancient and Unchanging God could not possibly understand. In fact, Pssssst. God doesn't actually exist at all. He is something we create for ourselves to serve our needs at the time. Now that we Understand Everything, now that we GET IT, we don't need Him. Certainly not in the form he has been presented to us for the past several thousand years. We will fix our genes without His help. We will fix our lives without His guidance. We will fix ourselves without His wisdom. We aren't primitives, after all. We have an intellect, a reasoning capability, and it is guided entirely by our very own selves. What more do we need? Indeed, what more? We have become so smart in the past 50 years, it is a wonder we didn't come to such conclusions sooner. God (or whatever we choose to call him these days: Vague Light, A Benign Force, A Life-Giving Acceptance of Whatever We Think Is Best) wants the best for us. Here. Now. On this planet. We can clearly see that. We have, after all, the KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL. We may forget precisely where we got that, or what genetically manufactured apple it came from, but we like it. And now this. A Tsunami. Where was the early warning system? Where was the technology? How did we forget that coastal areas are vulnerable? Does life mean anything, after all, or is it one long commercial break? Our problem is our vision. We are short-sighted to the point of needing a Spiritual LASIK Surgery to correct it. We think we have it all figured out. We are pretty sure, in fact, that God never revealed Himself to us, that our own ideas of what God "must be" are good enough. Well. It isn't going to continue much longer. Maria Esperanza, a prophet from South America who foretold 9/11 and was in fact present the day it happened, has died this year. She has said we will see Rivers of Light. And so we will. God will not allow us to drown in the contaminated maelstrom of our own faulty ideas. Many innocents were swept away in that tidal wave. Many guilty parties also. I am no less guilty than the rest, consumed at times with day to day living, making sure I am warm, comfortable, entertained and with a viable 401K. None of that matters in a world which is changing. It is changing now because we have lost our way. We have had major hurricanes arriving in a statistically unlikely, almost impossible to believe pattern. If you follow their paths they form a cross over Florida. (centered on the county in which I live, but I don't want to read anything into that, other than to remain on my spiritual toes!) We ignore the implications of the tsunami at our own peril. The president of our country needs to re-examine what he is doing, too, because if he is not serving God, then God's protection will be removed from him. The same is true of our country, blessed in so many ways for so many years. We need to be prepared to see God at any moment, from day to day and hour to hour. It is time to wake up from our self-satisfied slumber. We have had more than enough warning. Now we need to ask ourselves why we are alive on this planet and where we are going next. And question strongly if we are doing what we need to do to get there. Wake up calls are the act of a Merciful God. There is no sin that cannot be forgiven. Nothing so horrible that God would turn away from us as long as we are able to mutter a sincere, "I'm Sorry," along with, perhaps, "I didn't realize how wrong it was or how much it offended You." I think it is no coincidence that the movie "The Passion of the Christ" came out in this past year. That was another act of mercy for us. It is time, now, to sober up from the cultural, technological, and intellectual dishonesty we have been imbibing. We will need clear minds and clear hearts to face this new year. I don't often get on my soapbox, but when the world is awash in this much water, I can't resist pouring the bubbles. We all share the same bathwater. It is time to make sure we remember to Worship the Baby rather than tossing Him out.

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