Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Can You Say "Collapse"?


A helpful exercise is to the say the word. Hear yourself say it.

Collapse. Again.

Collapse. You can do this.


I am pleased that Robert Jensen can say it. I have written about Robert Jensen before especially in the context of Presbyterian mini-dramas. He is the atheist guy who joined the church. Those were good times.

Robert Jensen was interviewed by the New Left Project. The interview is entitled: A World in Collapse? Good for Robert Jensen. He is saying the "C" word. We need to be able to say it.

Industrial civilization is collapsing. We cannot stop it. However, we can creatively and consciously respond to it. We can only respond if we overcome denial. This is as much if not more a spiritual, emotional, social, and psychological challenge as it is a material and political one.

That is the task of clergy. I'm looking at you.

Obviously, it is not only the task of clergy. It is the task of all of us. However, clergy, given their role should be the ones to
  1. tell the truth
  2. provide opportunities for people to come to terms with grief
  3. encourage people to prepare and be conscious
But mostly we reinforce denial and engage in trivial skirmishes. Why is that? Jensen may have some insight:
I’ve had many left colleagues tell me that they agree with some or all of my analysis, but that “people aren’t ready to hear that yet.” I translate that to mean, “I’m not ready to hear that yet.” I think a lot of leftists displace their own fear of confronting these difficult realities onto “the masses,” when in fact they can’t face it.
I am trying to think of all the reasons that keep me from telling the truth regarding the collapse of industrial civilization to my church folks:
  1. They might believe it and stop giving to the church.
  2. They might take their anger out on the messenger.
  3. They might think I am an apocalyptic yahoo and leave.
  4. I may need to face my own anxieties and fears.
  5. I may not have the skills or strength to minister in time of collapse.
  6. I am still mostly in denial.
If I were truly honest, there are probably more reasons. But that is all I can handle today.

I am grateful today for Robert Jensen, Carolyn Baker, and Michael Ruppert.

I just realized that today is September 13th. On September 13th, 1992 I was ordained by the Presbytery of Utica (New York) and installed as minister at my first call, FPC Lowville, NY.

What a long strange trip it has been.

UPDATE: Here is the podcast of Mike Ruppert's first show on the Progressive Radio Network, The Lifeboat Hour.