Changing direction seems to be the current fashion among our political parties. It may sound cynical, but I suspect most of the changes are made to attract votes rather than out of any deep conviction.
Changing direction will be necessary for all of us in the long run, because our current way of life is not sustainable, given the world's limited resources. Our energy-consuming, self-indulgent way of life has already used up our grandchildren's share of the raw materials our planet provides.
Global warming, poverty and world-hunger, careless and polluting industrialization, if unchecked, will have disastrous results for life on earth. These are serious challenges for governments to face - but they are also challenges for individuals. By changing our transport policies and patterns of car use, by being more economical in our use of energy (turning down the thermostat, switching things off when not in use, insulating buildings, and taking recycling of materials much more seriously) we could actually make a difference, even if only a small one, and increase awareness of the issues.
Or think of our (over-)eating habits, the food we waste, and all the foodstuffs carried half-way round the world just so that we can indulge our fancies throughout the year. Our dependence on highly-processed "junk" foods is undermining our health. Compare our eating habits with so many in the world who are starving - this cannot go on indefinitely. And our trading patterns have a built-in bias against the world's poorest people – an issue which the Fair Trade Movement is striving to address.
Just a few examples - but the future of the world hangs on our ability and willingness to change direction towards a more sustainable and responsible use of the world's resources. And to preserve peace we need to start narrowing the gap between the haves and the have-nots in the world. It is the single greatest threat to world peace today, for where hope is destroyed people will take desperate measures because they literally have nothing left to lose. We in the developed world must take the initiative and change direction to meet their needs before it is too late.
Changing direction is basic to the Christian life. The challenge of Jesus's preaching was to "repent", to change direction and adopt a new life-style. The basic idea behind the word "repent" is to turn our backs on old, wrong habits and embrace a new way of life, modelled on His example. The season of Lent gives Christians a special opportunity to think about these things, but it is a good time for all of us to think about our part in the wider issues that confront our society today. Lent begins on 1 March, and begins a period of special effort to make things different in our own lives: so this month should be a time of thinking about (some, at least, of) these issues, and deciding on a practical life-style plan, a personal change of direction, which we try to carry out during the six weeks of Lent, and perhaps make a permanent change of direction in our own lives.
May God bless us all in those efforts and guide us to a better way of living. MALCOLM
- February 2006
- March 2006
- April 2006
- May 2006
- June 2006
- July 2006
- August / September 2006
- October 2006
- November 2006
- December 2006
About the Vicar's Letter
The Vicar's Letter has been appearing in the villages Focus magazine since August 2002.
The Rev. Peter Graham also used to publish The Vicar's Letter in the parish magazine of 1964. Please see the Vicar's Letter area for these.