Perhaps those estimates are optimistic. The government of Puerto Rico was forced to declare itself bankrupt last May. Already in financial straits, it will find the money needed to extensively rebuild infrastructure difficult to raise. Perhaps it never will be rebuilt.
No electricity. That means a sudden collapse of the Global Technological System (GTS) in Puerto Rico. How will people eat? Drink potable water? How will they treat their sewage? Dispose of their garbage? Stay cool or get warm? Cook? Earn money at businesses without electricity? Put gasoline in their cars without electricity? Recharge their cell phones and computers? How will hospitals continue to care for the sick? What about diabetics and others who are dependent on refrigerated medications?
Deeper issues: How well will people accustomed to living in the illusory world of the corporate media adjust to its sudden absence? Will they be able to establish positive personal relationships with relatives, friends, neighbors, and strangers? Together, will they be able to develop creative responses to a multitude of unprecedented problems? Are Christians and churches prepared to share Christ’s light, love, and life at this crucial hour?
The destruction of Hurricane Maria, sadly, is not an isolated nightmare. Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Texas, and surrounding areas on August 26. Worse, it lingered over the area for four days, punishing some locations with over 60 inches (150 cm) of rainfall and causing widespread flooding. Estimates of monetary damage caused by the storm range as high as $180 billion.
On September 10, Hurricane Irma hit Florida and caused an estimated $60 billion in damages.
One curious but not surprising phenomenon: the absence of adequate, relevant, and timely information on the damages and recovery efforts in Texas and Florida. The corporate media peddle spectacle well enough, but are weak in providing meaningful information. Are the millions of people affected by these disasters responding creatively to them? How? If not, why not? What's happened to them?
We may learn several helpful lessons from these terrible disasters. One such lesson: the whole GTS is remarkably fragile. That’s because we built the whole thing on the erroneous assumption that the behavior of creation would never exceed the limits we set for it.
Which reminds me: the ongoing irradiation of creation since March 11, 2011, from the three lost reactor cores at Fukushima, Japan, continues without stop—or alarm, since, again, the elite minions controlling the Olympian media do not find it in their interests to provide the rest of us with critically needed information. In October 2016, the US Government’s own National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published a map showing that radiation from Fukushima had already, by that date, contaminated the entire Pacific Ocean. I mention this catastrophe here only to emphasize that it occurred because engineers at Fukushima fatally assumed the place would never experience the magnitude of earthquake that in fact occurred.
We might abandon the GTS for two basic reasons. One would be the realization that it is no longer sustainable, useful, effective, or successful despite whatever pleasures we may still be enjoying because of it. In the last month, the disasters of Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico have reminded us of what Fukushima should have taught us years ago: the GTS is collapsing (and has been since at least 2008).
We would be prudent, then, to proceed, with all deliberate speed, to developing meaningful and viable alternatives to it. (Note: the frantic growth of renewable sources of energy is neither.) My sneaking suspicion, however, is that this reason to abandon the GTS is too weak. On the basis of it, I don’t see any significant challenges to the GTS or our personal, congregational, or societal support of it until, as recent examples demonstrate, the GTS does indeed collapse. At that point, of course, creating vital alternatives will become both a stark necessity and an impossible task with untold suffering.
(Digression: why untold suffering? The GTS made possible the existence of unsustainably huge cities and gigantic populations. When it collapses, cities like New York will be deserted and billions of people will die. The first to go will be marginal people and societies: the old, young, ill, and poor will disappear first, as will the most technologically sophisticated societies. In a radical version of the last becoming first, those today living closest to the land will do best.)
Or we might abandon the GTS by realizing it simply lacks meaning. We might come to acknowledge that, since about the year 1750 when we first started building the GTS in earnest, we humans have made a colossal mistake. That’s right: 250 years of an increasingly wicked mistake. We might affirm that we humans would have lived far more meaningfully if we had committed ourselves, instead, to developing communities, cultures, and societies full of a vitality that can only come through a commitment to nurture and protect every human being and all of God’s good creation.
Even at this late date, we can still do that. To do so, we must begin at the beginning. We must begin by repenting of our abject devotion to the six conventional yet false and destructive gods of Olympianity that have unwittingly brought us to this fateful moment.
Then, more importantly, we must devote ourselves instead to Jesus Christ who, as Son of God and Son of Man, remains the source, center, and goal of all truth, freedom, love, and vitality.
In proposing this, I’m not saying that Jesus is the solution to our problems. I’m not suggesting that, if all 7.8 billion of us on the planet right now decided to repent of the Olympian gods and devote ourselves wholeheartedly to Jesus, then, presto, all our problems would be solved! No, the GTS is going down and it’s pulling too many societies, cities, and people with it.
I am saying, however, that if we Christians and churches were actually to devote ourselves to Jesus now, we would rightly honor him as humankind's leader and savior, serve more clearly as meaningful witnesses to him, discern far more creative responses to the increasingly desperate circumstances confronting us all, and have the inspiration needed to do them.
All rights reserved. Fair use encouraged.