Thursday, May 26, 2011
Twist and Shout
Human beings want to understand. We love the question why? Even more than the question, we love to answer that question. It's part of who we are at an essential level: creators of narratives, story tellers, theoretical philosophers. Yeah, we LOVE our explanations so much. (I like my explanations, definitely, though as I grow older I'm becoming more fond of the question than the story, which is in itself an explanation of why I've been willing to flop around this past week, wondering rather than pontificating. ... Maybe.)
Today I'm checking in with friends who live in Indiana, making sure they're all safe and sound. Thanks to Facebook, I know that every one of my dear ones in Missouri is OK. Thank god. This spring has been a season of terrible storms, hail and fierce tornadoes in the American south and midwest. Death and destruction is usually picked up by the news media, so it's likely everyone on the planet already knows that since Monday, dozens of people have been killed, many hundreds of buildings have been destroyed, by terrible storms.
One of my sister Deborah's theories is that the reason the American midwest is called the Bible Belt is because of its harsh weather. In the past, prior to the time when accepting meteorological narratives was the norm, I can see how people might have created stories of biblical-style punishment to explain the extreme weather in the midwest.
Among people who share my values, it's likely that global warming will be blamed for these storms. Because of human overpopulation and industrialization, our species has contributed significantly to climate change, true dat - but there have always been seasons of extreme weather. I hesitate to place blame on us. Saying it's because of us that the midwest is being pounded this week sounds suspiciously like we're being punished for being so wasteful and greedy. I'm not clear this is the reason why. I could be wrong, of course.
I have no doubt Harold Camping believes this outbreak of terrible storms is part of the destruction of the earth, the end of times. The timing of this weather, directly following his proclamation of an "invisible" Rapture on May 21, is pretty interesting. His interpretation sounds crazy to me, but his timing? Fairly amazing.
Here's what I'm thinking: I'm wondering about the boldness of the tornadoes this year, how they're slamming into residential areas and cities. Ordinarily, these sky dragons tend to stay out in the country, but not this year. What is that all about?
My heart goes out to everyone who has been affected by the devastating weather. May they all find the strength to deal with what has happened. May it be so. Shalom.