Today is November 4. Circle the date on your calendar.
One year ago today Donald Trump moved to withdraw America, the 2nd highest green house gas emitter on the planet, from the landmark Paris Climate Accord. Today, as Lisa Friedman in a NY Times article reminds us, that exit officially took place. The atmospheric GHG emissions stand today at 410.76 ppm, over 110 points higher than the previous high over 300,000 years ago. As Greta Thunberg has so often reminded us, “Our house is on fire!” And now we are adding more fuel to that fire.
As the fate of the planet’s eco-systems along with the fate of American democracy hang by a tenuous thread, the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) asked four of its columnists and a Bishop on the run-up to election day the question we must all be pondering right now: But where do we — as a country and a church — go from here?
On this day after the final day of voting as we hang in limbo before the die is ultimately cast, the fact is that no matter what candidates for office win or lose, the planet and this nation are both losers in the culture wars that divide and disrupt. So it is that I turned today to the grit and wisdom of Sister Joan Chittester’s election day essay, and invite you to do the same. The gist of it is that in the face of fierce, unrelenting partisanship we need prophetic leadership from the electorate itself.
As we ponder weak and weary over the daunting question, “Where do we go from here?” Sister Chittester’s answers call us to follow the lead of a prophetic Jesus.
Her essay begins with the tale of an old monastic running through the streets shouting out, “Pride, greed and corruption … pride, greed and corruption …” Her essay ends thusly:
From where I stand, we have come dangerously close to having abandoned the values that made us. The imperative now is that we give serious attention not to simply going on but to going on better. That is what must happen next. There is no doubt in my mind that going on better is not possible unless we intend to go on prophetically. Together. Beginning right now. Consciously. Otherwise, power greed and corruption will have changed us entirely.
Sister Chittester is decrying partisanship (on all sides) and calling for full throated citizen Prophets to lead the way forward. The full essay is found HERE.
“Like the old monastic, we are compelled to be part of this country’s voice, not pathetic victims of it.”