Norfolk Quaker and retired magistrate, John Myhill, considers the Christian response to catastrophic news stories in the media.
Have you noticed the increase in conferences on “Catastrophe theory”?
Were you aware before the news this morning that scientists have not detected any global warming in the last 15 years? (They now have an explanation which shows that the crisis remains! For many years now it has been very hard to gain funding for scientific research unless the scientist could show a connection to climate change: but who provides that funding?)
Is it possible to gain news coverage for anything unless you can show that there is a catastrophe about to occur?
(I would say that the horrors in Congo, or southern Sudan, or Somalia were far more serious than Iraq or Syria. Even the trouble brewing in Indonesia – Christians being killed by Muslim extremists, again, is worthy of attention, but these stories are not catastrophic enough for the media.)
But here is the real “Catastrophe” story for the Christian churches. Christians are failing to start from their personal experience of the Holy Spirit. Instead we are being manipulated by the media to see the world as a succession of chaotic crises, a “Cup half empty”. The cup is full and overflowing, but we are failing to drink from it. There should be joy in our hearts and confidence in every step we take, because we know that “not a sparrow falls” without our God.
All we have to do is stride forward with the teaching we have been given, and “all will be well”.
Why worry about climate change when we as Christians should be living a simple life with minimal impact on the planet: greenhouse gases minimal, because we are living the Christian life: not because we are terrified by science.
Why worry about “wars and rumours of wars” when we Christians are everywhere bringing love and peace, by our relaxed confidence in our God, and the knowledge that that God can be found in every human heart, when we search deeply to respond to others. Why worry about the latest humanitarian disaster, when our Christian compassion commits us to meeting the needs of all those who “hunger and thirst”.
Therefore, let us “walk cheerfully over all the earth”, refusing to be distracted by the prevailing gloom of a secular society. Jeremiah may be needed by those driven by consumption and greed, but we have love and joy of the Good News, and should not trust any other “News”.
John Myhill is a Norwich Quaker and retired magistrate.
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