On the Side of History

Julia Gillard may be unpopular at the moment, but I find myself in sympathy with her determination to “be on the side of history” (her words) with regard to dealing with climate change.

I’ve always been taken by the word of the prophet Isaiah that “God is doing a new thing – see God is doing it already!” In the eye of faith, it is God who is acting in history, even though we may be players in it. We can see what “God is doing” – if we know how and where to look!

God is not contained by our thinking or theology. God is always doing God’s new thing. And to this extent I like Julia Gillard’s approach. To “do the right thing”  in response to climate change and to seek to be “on the side of history” may well be a secular way of answering Wesley’s two fundamental questions  “what is the Spirit of God doing?” (in the world), and secondly, “how shall we meet the needs of this hour?”

The 9/11 of the Jewish people took place in 586 BCE when, against all tenets of their faith, the Temple in Jerusalem, in which they believed God resided, was utterly destroyed and the Jewish elite were forcibly exiled. It is not surprising therefore, that Isaiah, looking back towards the end of the exilic period, suggests that God cannot be contained by our thinking – even our most orthodox thinking. Only the Jeremiah’s were able to see what was coming – and didn’t he have a hard time trying to sell it!

Our task is to discern as best we can, the movements we see at large, and “to be on the side of history”. The majority will always tend to want things the way they always were. But I find little evidence in the Bible that life is static or that faith is static. God as Spirit (ruach = breath) sees to that! “The wind blows wherever it wishes,” says Jesus,” you hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going”. Love may be eternal, but the temporal is forever changing.

Bring on a price on carbon, and let’s do what we can to support those adversely affected!

2 thoughts on “On the Side of History

  1. Yes! Perhaps our two step house of reps and senate with the Green's party can save this initiative of Julia even if Tony gets in next time. How can we who have be willing to accept a little less. Today we take travel, especially overseas travel as a right – yet even in my 50 year life time there was a season where it was too expensive and we travelled to Germany from Australia by ship (five plus weeks) as it was less expensive. My parents grew up in the depression and the Mark going wild. Have we grown too self indulgent at the huge expense of our planet and of many of our Island countries?


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