Tuesday, December 12, 2006

taking the weather with you

These bush fires in Australia have got me thinking about the weather...

But I need to reveal my hand a bit at the start. My teenage years were based in New Delhi where I have sat inside - with the only activity being the beating of my heart - and watched the sweat drop off my face and into my cereal. That is hot! My training years were spent in Chicago where I once walked to the library and was blinded by the cold. Yes - the moisture in my eyes froze and I could not see, groping my way along the path. That is cold!

But despite living in places with such extreme temperatures the place where I've heard the most moaning about the weather is where the climate is most temperate ... New Zealand. We are obsessed with it. [I know, I know - I haven't lived in the UK!]. By the way, I have heard gasps in church services in NZ when I introduce myself as having pastored a church in Invercargill - gasps that clearly communicate "you did what?! You cannot be serious?!"

This moaning sparks four pretty random responses in me - and maybe some more in you!

It raises the issue of contentment. It speaks of the relative luxury of our living conditions if such a temperate climate can attract so much complaint and obsession. Don't we have anything bigger to moan about? Much of the time for many the answer is 'no'. Doesn't that say something?

It raises the issue of obedience. I have grown weary of getting seriously annoyed with students (and others) who watch the weather map more than listen to God when it comes to discerning the will of God. I just don't spark up like I used to. How can I say that Jesus is Lord of my life if I say to Jesus that there are some areas of his world where his people live where I just cannot go? What utter rubbish! oops - I'm sparking-up again...

It raises the issue of gratitude. While An Inconvenient Truth was not entirely convincing for me ... [I found it too Gore-centric to be compelling and there was an elephant-in-that-lecture-room that if it was exposed, the impact of Gore's movie would be severely restricted. I am talking about greed. People don't like you raising that issue with them - and yet if you addressed greed I wonder how it would impact the issues he raises?] ... but I am grateful for his perspective on climate change. When I look at the bushfires and when I look at the extensive parts of the world dying for water, it makes me grateful for the relative wetness of New Zealand. We have what so many long for. We should be much more thankful for rain and ample water. It is one of our luxuries. Interesting to note that the writer of the Psalms longed for rain like we long for the sun. Keep that in mind as you read...

It raises the issue of community. The harshness of a climate can bond people together and give them stories to tell of adventure and survival. I won't be guilty of overstating it - but watching Chicagoans anticipate and experience winter is fascinating. I wonder what we miss out on because of our temperate climes?

nice chatting

Paul

2 comments:

Andrew Butcher said...

I can only respond with the words of the hymn-writer:

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their glories above
Praise with all nature in manifold witness
To God's great faithfulness, mercy and love

Focus on that and the issues of contentment, greed and the rest are put in their rightful place.

Jonesboy said...

Then there is that other "hymn":

"Everywhere you go, you always take the weather with you..."*

I suspect that the weighing of the highs and lows is little more than a weak front in the face of high pressure...

* Crowded House