Sustaining Creation - Now!

Story of Remarkable Time To Be Alive (without news segment)

November 12, 2019 Terry Gallagher
Sustaining Creation - Now!
Story of Remarkable Time To Be Alive (without news segment)
Chapters
Sustaining Creation - Now!
Story of Remarkable Time To Be Alive (without news segment)
Nov 12, 2019
Terry Gallagher

What can we learn from our life experiences in this remarkable time to be alive that would move us to embrace a sustainable future for our kid.

Note this particular episode is abbreviated in that it does not include the news segment. 

Support the show (https://www.facebook.com/donate/353364075293193/)

Show Notes Transcript

What can we learn from our life experiences in this remarkable time to be alive that would move us to embrace a sustainable future for our kid.

Note this particular episode is abbreviated in that it does not include the news segment. 

Support the show (https://www.facebook.com/donate/353364075293193/)

Terry Gallagher:

Our story this week is titled: "This is surely a remarkable time to be alive." And it comes from my pondering after hearing a broadcast about the 21 children that are s uing the federal government over d enying them the right to life & property, because we're not responding to climate crisis. And there was something that one o f t he mothers said, of one of the kids, she was Reverend M elanie Oman, and she said "this was an extraordinary time to be alive". And by that she meant that a t no other time in human history has it meant so much what our actions and our decisions are of the next few years in terms of whether human civilization will continue. So I've been pondering that and I've moved from the term "extraordinary time" rather to using the term "remarkable". One of the reasons is e xtraordinary is one of the s ynonyms of remarkable. But it connotates a little bit more. If you look in t he dictionary, it says it's something worthy of attention. It's striking. It's used in such phrases "like a remarkable coincidence", but it's got synonyms of extraordinary, exceptional, amazing, astonishing, astounding and the list goes on and on and on. But what it also connotates to me is that this will be a time that future generations will look back upon and remark on how well or how bad we did to make their future livable. It's an era of time that our future generations will remark that we were very brave and we acted and we sacrificed so that they would have a future or where they will remark instead that we were evil indeed. So to tackle this weighty subject to just how remarkable of a time it is, I want to tell you story about my shoulder that seems like a silly thing to attribute to these times, but it's kind of like a metaphor for these time . So the story of my shoulder goes back a few decades, almost 30 years and it was to involve a time when I was a scout for my son's troop . And so we were very active troop. I would take them out camping every month, but they were also into other activities. And so one of the things they loved to do when we're camping, when they had free time, was play capture the flag, which is a non aggressive form of a war game played without weapons. But they, the older Scouts wanted to take it up a notch besides wearing camouflage that they did and you know, decorating their faces and all that in order to capture the enemy's flag. They got involved in other activities outside Scouts, which involve paint ball flights and they kept after me and after me to take them to a paint ball facility. And so I finally relented. And you know if you're going to keep older boys involved in these things, you've got to understand their interests . And so I took them to this paint ball facility, which was in actually an old warehouse in downtown Detroit. It might even have been the old Dodge Main Plant. Anyway, a company had taken over it and rented the facility and for a fee, you could rent equipment and engage in an elaborate paint ball battle. And so, you know, I was dubious about this, but I didn't want the boys to go down there by themselves. And so I and another assistant scout master went and took the older boys down to this place and we rented our goggles. You g otta have goggles to protect your eyes from the paint balls and you have to rent a paintball gun of course, which is a gas powered gun t hat shoots a paint ball projectile. So you can obviously see whether somebody was hit or not hit. A nd my Scouts were decked out in all kinds of camouflage and ways to hide themselves. And I was just there as a goofy old Scoutmaster watching all this go on. But they pulled me into it and I wouldn't let them go out in the facility and engage in these games unless I could see what would happen there. And the only way to do that was to actually participate. So I rented my goggles, I rented my paint ball gun and I got a supply of paint balls. And what I rented was, I thought was the typical equipment for today, which was a single shot paintball gun. A nd you get one shot and then you have to load it up and you get one shot, you have to l oad it up. And so we went out a nd we a re all engaged in excited chatter about what a fun day it was going to be i n a old warehouse which was set up with barricades t o make it look like an urban street fighting. So or a civil war kind of thing. And you know, we were walking through it and sneaking through it and trying to be, you know , unobtrusive and practicing shooting at each other or things, then we came around this corner and up from behind this one barricade comes a group of guys and they are shooting automatic weapons. I didn't know that there were automatic paintball guns, but they had automatic weapons and they fired on us and wow did those sting. And so to protect myself, I'd dived behind a concrete pillar with great fear and trepidation. And I responded so fast that I didn't do it very well. In fact, I collided with that concrete pillar on my way down and found out as an engineer I knew already, but had to find out physically that when a shoulder meets a concrete pillar, the pillar isn't what gives way, it's your shoulder that does . So I messed up my shoulder pretty good and I had to sit out the rest of the day. But you know, we came all that way so I let the guys enjoy their day and then we left and I kept my arm kind of tucked into my stomach so that it wasn't moving. And I get home and the wife says, what in the world did you do to yourself and I said it was nothing much. You know, I grew up at a time when males tried to minimize all the stupid things they'd done and minimize the damage that they caused by brushing it off. But my shoulder just kept aching and became swollen and the pain intensified. And so the wife was concerned to the point when I wouldn't listen to her, she brought over my assistant scout master who is also a nurse in a hospital. Between them they managed to significantly instill me with the fear of what terrible things could be happening if I had broken something in my shoulder and I did not seek treatment. So reluctantly I went to the local emergency room and I sat out there for an hour they me in to get an x-ray where I sat for another hour and they came out with the pronouncement that nothing was broken. I breathed a sigh relief, my stupidity at least didn't break anything. But then they added a comment that you really ought to go see your primary physician. I didn't have a primary reposition because I'm a male that doesn't like doctors. And they also said, you really ought to consider getting evaluated by an orthopedic specialist to make sure nothing else is going on in the shoulder. I said , okay. Right. And then they gave me a sling and I wore it home and I immediately ignored their advice and I treated the shoulder injury just like I do all my old sprains with some ice. And then some heat treatments and then an occasional ibuprofen and after a few weeks the shoulder regained its function. I was able to use it. And so I put aside their advice to seek an orthopedics specialist's opinion and treatment because well life has too many other concerns and priorities and so you know, I managed that crisis on my own. It was over. I could get on with everything else and just forget about anything else to do with that shoulder injury. What I failed to realize at the time was the acute versus chronic health risks. You know, there are two broad classifications of health hazards or any hazards really and they're called chronic and acute. Acute are the things that affect you right now and the chronic are the things that develop over years and years and years. And so like most human beings, once I handled the acute injury, I didn't bother to pay any attention to the risk of the chronic. And so the shoulder never did get treated because well , you know, life is busy. There's too many other concerns and priorities and we needed to move on. Around the same time as this was happening to my shoulder, something was happening in Washington D C up on Capitol Hill and that was the climate scientist James Hansen . The leading climate scientists of our generation was testifying for the first time to Congress and what James Hansen testified to Congress is that climate change is real, it's human c ause and we have to respond with urgency because it's already escalated to the point where they can physically measuring it happening. The general public momentary response news was: "what d id that guy say? What's this about?" Climate change. But then shortly after that n ew cycle, it was back to never mind what he said, because life has too many other concerns and priorities and if it isn't biting us right now, then we can ignore it b ecause surely if it's not an acute problem, then it's not a problem. Over the following decades, scientific warnings continued to escalate and they continued to be ignored by American public for at least the next 20 years. They weren't ignored around the world and in fact there were global actions trying to reach a consensus that took place in Japan and took place in South America, but effectively each time that it was coming close to reaching a global decision to take action on climate change, it was the American government that shut it down because we weren't going to let our economic wellbeing be dictated to by other countries over something that we could not see. This whole global warming was simply a hoax as it was called at the time. Seven years ago in 2012, I finally awakened myself to the climate issue as a result of my trip to Columbia and being shocked at seeing a village of people who were poisoning themselves, trying to mine gold and eke out a living and not realizing or not caring or not considering at any depth that what they were doing was poisoning their minds and bodies and waters and air and soil. I came away from that experience, reflecting on it, I realized it wasn't a problem of just one village polluting forever, a small area of this globe . It was the fact that our civilization, particularly our modern civilization, was destroying the life systems of the earth . So since 2012, my ministry has been entirely focused on awakening people to this crisis . Ok, lets return to my shoulder story. Over the years I would get aches and pains in it and I could treat it with some rest and a little ibuprofen. Then about five years ago, my shoulder began to cause me periodic episodes of trouble. You know, where my movement would be limited or it would ache and pain. I couldn't sleep well. So b eing t he typical male and trying to avoid doctors, I 'd tried some stretching exercises and I asked my daughter w ho's a PTA, if she had any ideas, she gave me some stretches t hat I could do. And my wife, the nurse said, well, if you're not going to do anything else, at least treat it with the hot and cold pack treatment. And so I would do that and still kept that male stubbornness over medical treatment. I could move past these temporary issues to where to shoulder wasn't inflamed and get back to normal life. But then the episodes and frequency of it kept increasing. So I did some exercises. I did the occasional ibuprofen. But then the last couple of years, it escalated to be a constant issue rather than a periodic issue where the pain in my shoulder would limit its mobility to the point that my arm was only functioning at about 30% of what it would normally do. Oh , I finally got about raising the question with my primary care physician, who over the last few years, my wife has gotten me to go to on a couple of times a year basis and I said, Hey doc, if were to look at the shoulder problem I got, what would be the process? And of course once you raise it with a primary care, especially one that is as diligent as mine, thenr hold the barn doors, here we go. Because right away he ordered me into an X Ray to assess if he could see anything with an x-ray. H e proceeded to do an extended physical examination, which involved quite a bit of pain in determining just what were the motional limits of the shoulder and from that he sent me to an orthopedic specialist who then ordered more tests. There were MRIs and then there was a CT exam and that led to an another orthopedic s pecialist, this time a surgeon. And here comes the diagnosis that I now need a total shoulder replacement. But there are complications to it because I have procrastinated too long to respond to the damage. And as a result that chronic condition has gone back over into the acute w here, because I've ignored the issue, the arm is no longer being able to function. The good news is that over those three decades, our t echnologies rapidly improved in terms of medical technology. And so they took t hat CT scan, which I had, which can measure precisely internal body elements and they sent it via the internet, which did not exist when I was young. They sent that scan, which was not possible until the last couple of decades over to Germany and there's a German lab that is using the CT scan to give them the dimensions to design the parts t hat have to go into my shoulder. Amazing technologies that did not exist before. In fact, the surgical procedure did not exist in this country until 20 years ago that I'm going to now be facing. W e are living in a remarkable time, not just for medical technologies, but also for energy advancement technologies. So just like I'm going to benefit from the advancements in medical technology to rebuild my shoulder, we can benefit from advances in green technology. We have benefits that we can use the wind or the sun or the ocean or the ground or gravity or waves or tides. A plethora of things we can draw energy from. These do not pollute and do not heat up the earth. We just have to choose just I could with my shoulder. You have to choose to use the technology to the benefit of humankind. It's truly a remarkable time we're living in right now. R ight? It's remarkable. Not just in terms of advancements in technology but it's remarkable because some of the life's historical questions, great questions that we thought were answered have now raised their heads again to be actively debated. Such as lies versus facts. Right now we're living in a time, particularly in the U S wh ere l ies ar e c ommon daily activities by our leaders and th ey're g etting away with it. Their lies count more that facts. How is that possible? But at the same time we're also living in an era where opinions are valued more than knowledge. How is it possible that just because someone thinks something is this way that that's held with as much regard as scientific knowledge? I have to tell you , I don't want a surgeon that just thinks that if he ever tried to do a shoulder replacement, he could do it. I want a surgeon that has gone specifically to school and had all the practice, so he's gained the knowledge. So he knows how to put these parts into my shoulder. Not somebody who's going by guess and by golly. But we also live in a time where greed is valued more than ethics, where hate is surviving and overwhelming compassion, where our fear is freezing out our courage. This concept that we still haven't accepted the value of truth as an integral element to living as a society is something that we first were confronted with very obviously in the gospel of John 2000 years ago. It's the 18th chapter. Jesus is in front of the Roman curator , Pontius Pilot, and he tells him: "for this I was born and for this I came into the world to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to t he truth listens to my voice pilot asked him what is true, what is true?" That existential question should have been solved a couple of thousand years ago, particularly w ith o ur g ain i n scientific knowledge, but it's still a debate. Going back to my shoulder, the truth is I waited too long to recognize that I needed medical treatment for my shoulder, that I n eeded to act to stop t he destruction of the joint. So even though I will undergo a remarkable advancement i n joint replacement technology, my shoulder and its ability to function will never be at the same level. I won't be able to raise my arm over my head, but at least I'll get it above my waist, which is the current limit. But hopefully as a result of the procedure, most of the pain will be gone and it'll result in a better life that's worth experiencing. Similarly, the truth is that we as a human society have waited too long to respond to the climate crisis, and while we have developed marvelous new technology to fight it, our future earth won't be the same as the one we experienced in our youth. We will lose some coastal cities because the oceans are going to continue to rise. We're going to have to accept lots of refugees from lands that we've made uninhabitable, and we'll have to learn how to adapt with change. But most of the pain, hopefully will be gone from the current crisis and it'll still ultimately create a life for a kids worth experiencing. Our personal choices and life actions as well as our society's choices and actions in the next 10 years is going to determine how many people will die from the climate crisis and how many will live. Climate crisis has escalated to the point where it can now be seen from space as well from the evening news as well as in our backyards if we simply pay attention. So we have to change how we live now. I've given you 48 action steps. You can find them if you don't have them on my website. Sustaining Creation.org. 48 different action steps that you can take to bring about life change. Now let me tell you about my latest life change. It's kind of embarrassing to admit, but for the first time in my nearly seven decades, I've joined my very first grassroots political campaign for president. I'm finding out there are a variety of critical activities needed to be done, which you can choose from ranging across the whole entire introvert, extrovert spectrum. And so depending on whether you're introvert, there's some things you can do that you're comfortable with and their are other things that extroverts can do. And you can choose the level of participation that you're able to commit to and do it in an area where you have the tools that you're naturally equipped to deal with. So it's something to think about because democracy, I believe is the key to solving the climate crisis. And democracy doesn't work unless we all get actively involved in it. We can no longer look upon it as a spectator sport. For democracy to work, the people have to be involved. Going back biblical on you, We have to quit acting like the prophet Jonah. Who when God told him to go to Nineveh, ran the other way and got swallowed up by a fish in the ocean. And he didn't respond to telling the truth to Nineveh until he got puked up on the beach. We got to move past that running away. We have to become like the early disciples who faced threats and the very real risk of opposing the power of Rome. Those early disciples who overcame their fears and acted to spread the truth about a better way to live. Can we do this? I believe we can. Our kids are counting on us doing this. That's our story for this week. I hope it was a benefit to you. Moving on to our wisdom quotes, going back to the gospel Mark 8th chapter for our first quote, it has Jesus telling his disciples: "Do you still not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and failed to see? Do you have ears and failed to hear ?" And then turning to another wisdom, this one being 81 year old actress Jane Fonda following her a rrest for the fourth consecutive Friday in front of the white house protesting our climate crisis t his fall. She says: "When you're older, what have y ou got to lose? You're not in a m arket p lace w here some guy w ho's scared of a strong woman. So you can rise to yourself and become who you are meant to be. And you can be brave. I mean, there are older people with gray hair out there. Every Friday they get arrested with me that are just so great. Some of them are nuns and some of them are rabbis and some of them are just people w ho h ave come from different parts of the United States. They're old a nd it's just beautiful. She goes on to say: "We are the last generation who can make a difference between life and death of the planet. It's an urgent crisis and we have very little time left to fix it." And our last wisdom quote comes from the great author C atherine Dean M oore from her book, Great Tide Rising. She says: "They'll want to know the story of our time. Our grandchildren will. This p ivotal decade where we either found our way forward or did not. They will give our time a name. I t is that important. They will wonder if w e s aw i t coming. They will want to know how hard we really tried to stop the destruction. They will want an accounting. They will want a book fill with the prayers people prayed. They will want jars filled with the last of the things. The point is we are the ones who will create the story of our time. What will it be?" In this remarkable age that we'll live in, what will our story be? Our action item this week comes from sharing the message of climate hope. It's number four in that category and it says: Get politically active on the urgent need for federal regulations to reduce the emissions of co2 and other greenhouse gases. As I told you, for me, i t i s now includes getting involved in a presidential campaign at the grassroots level. If that's not for you, you could choose to get involved in a voter's registration drive. You could choose to get involved in a Senate or a state representative or a governor campaign. You could choose to get involved with an advocacy group and phone bank for this effort. If our democracy is gonna survive this remarkable time, then we have to return to the roots of what democracy means and that's by getting involved in this effort for a democratic government. On a very personal level. And yes, it means to do so, we have to donate serious amounts of our time, energy, and our money to these efforts. This is a sacrifice which future generations will say: "How could you do otherwise?" Returning into Jane Fonda, she says: "We have to be in the streets and shutting you down governments if n ecessary. Not just at the federal level, but state governments, local governments, town councils. We have to be very brave. And for 40 years we have marched and rallied and written and spoken, and not enough has happened. So we have to up our ante a little bit and risk getting arrested through civil disobedience. But we have to not be afraid. A nd we have to see this as the way good citizens o f t he United States need to act. We need to be in the streets making our demands heard." So what will you do in this remarkable age that we're living in ? How will you make a difference? Can we make a difference? I believe we can. It's not to late we can do this. That's our podcast for this week. I hope you will share it with others. Connect them to Sustaining Creation Now podcasts, which you can find on our Facebook or on our webpage . Get them to sign up so that they get a notification every time a new one comes out because we're not consistent in the frequency when we do this, as I ponder different issues to talk about. I hope you find they are a benefit and pass these along so others can join us in this most remarkable time in the human society and determine whether we have a future for our kids or not.