This is what I see…

This is what I see:  As an interfaith chaplain I talk to people about what they are thinking and feeling… pretty much all the time.  I have never in my adult life heard so much distress, even despair, from so many people.  The state of affairs in this country is unlike anything I have ever seen.  The degree of polarization and anger and fear so many people are feeling now due to politics, the impending environmental collapse manifest in record-setting hurricane devestation, North Korea, our president, assault on free speech, gun violence… there has been nothing like this since, well… not in my lifetime.   And now, locally, the fires that are incinerating so much of the area we know and love in the North Bay, with loss of life, pets, homes, businesses and wineries.

The fires are one thing; and they are related to environmental chaos and climate change.  Would they have happened anyway?  Probably, who knows.  The eco-system is a fragile thing… a complex “thing” and system that is not a “closed system” and so inputs can have catastrophic outputs.  This is because complex systems are “non-linear.”  They are not closed systems that are simple in virtue of forces acting upon them.

This society is a complex system.  Attempting to make it a closed system will destroy it.  It will go into paralytic convulsions.  Is this what is happening? To our society?  To our environment?  Diversity is essential to health; it is essential to life – societal and environmental.  To ignore this in either case is suicidal.

John Donne said said this best:

No man is an island entire of itself; every man 
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; 
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe 
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as 
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine 
own were; any man's death diminishes me, 
because I am involved in mankind. 
And therefore never send to know for whom 
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. 

The bells are tolling... in Santa Rosa and Calistoga, around the great barrier reef, 
in Charleston, SC, in Las Vegas, NV, in Puerto Rico...  Who is listening???