Saturday, January 01, 2011

Misc. Ramblings - cont'd

originally started before Christmas, A.D. 2010

I haven't posted much in a while. I have been spiritually dry and frustrated by the reality of all our frail institutions, religious and otherwise. While knowing to put no trust in princes, one still remains disappointed, even if not surprised.

I had to make a trip to California recently. I picked up a book: World Made By Hand from the used book bin. In a sort of post-apocalyptic vein, the book recites the tale of a man and his community in Upstate New York after society has collapsed in the U.S. following several economic catastrophes, terrorist bombings, and loss of access to oil byproducts for most of the population.

It was a good enough tale for the flight - and while perhaps unrealistic insofar as people are probably better able to generate electricity than the book will admit (also it simply gets a bit odd in places), and to figure out radio/telegraph, and similar transmissions to keep in touch, it nevertheless was a good vehicle to think about how different life could be in short order in this country - on the whole more like Iraq or Yemen or Afghanistan or other places in the world. How would we do if stripped of our technologies and wealth that allow us to hop flights hither and yon?

The world is quite unsettled right now - North Korea, economic catastrophe still looming in the EU, terrorist threats - low level, but sensational - and the as-yet unintended and unknowable social consequences arising from the Wikileaks battles between governments, hackers, multinationals and their various proxies. In a striking reversal of business as usual, the International Energy Agency (Paris) now says peak oil probably occurred in 2006. The Executive Summary of the IEA's World Energy Outlook for 2010 is sober reading. In the meantime, most tune out and watch episodes of Palin's Alaska, or the Sing Off, or It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, or some such. We fiddle away madly.

For the Orthodox, we trouble ourselves with the shenanigans of ecclesiatical politics while not attending to the real troubles pressing the most unfortunate of the world: sickness, starvation, and spiritual malaise. I am guilty of this.

I am not sure what to make of it all. My thoughts on "agrarianism" are posted here. In the end I do not put my trust in human ingenuity, government bailouts. Our help comes from one Holy Source, in Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one in Essence and Undivided.

With that said, doubts trouble me - how shall an Orthodox Christian live in our times to come. I drive at least an hour each way to my parish now, at speeds which would astound our ancestors. What if energy costs "prohibit" that travel? Is it even good stewardship to make such trips now?

In the absence of making such trips to a parish, what does one do? Reader's services they say. But Orthodoxy is no Book of Common Prayer practice. In some ways I like the old BCP for it's ability have a great deal in one volume you can plunk in a satchel with a bible and off you go. But this does not reach to the level of Orthodox wisdom contained in the Church's services. Frankly one might need several such books in order to appropriately cover what richness a reader's service could give over times and seasons. Any suggestions from readers out there? What really is the basic library for a year's worth of reader's services?

I leave you with a couple of links for you to consider. I do not prophecy. But I think, whether our oil is going to run out or not, it's simply wise to think about what happens to us in the next 15 to 30 years if our Lord should tarry. What is our proper lifestyle, as Christians. We, in North America, live the life cheap oil has given us much like the next man. I know the irony of saying anything about this whilst typing on a machine built by the oil economy, hooked to an energy grid supported by the same. Nevertheless . . . for your consideration:

16 minutes of your time

60 minutes of your time

These are 'secular' concerns, indeed. But with food price riots in Algiers this week, one does have to what changes we should make as a matter of recognizing we are expending wealth constantly in this oil economy, to the detriment often of others in the world.

-Pax

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