In this episode I replay interviews from the summer of 2012 on the theme of the future. James Howard Kunstler and John Michael Greer were my guests when my show was called Religion For Life. We learned about Peak Oil, economic contraction, the “apocalypse meme” and getting serious about the way we live. Is what these thinkers said nine years ago manifesting today? You decide.
James Howard Kunstler is a writer and a critic of culture. I first saw him in the documentary The End of Suburbia which came out in 2004. You can find it on-line but what you find is an edited version. The longer version is the version I recommend. I learned from that documentary something called Peak Oil. James Howard Kunstler wrote several books along that topic including The Long Emergency in 2005, and a series of novels set in a post-oil future including A World Made By Hand, Witch of Hebron, A History of the Future, and The Harrows of Spring.
In March 2020, he published. Living in the Long Emergency: Global Crisis, the Failure of the Futurists, and the Early Adapters Who Are Showing Us the Way.
Mr. Kunstler was on my radio show in 2012. At that time we discussed his book Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation. Nine years ago we discussed Peak Oil, “Happy Motoring,” and the coming collapse of an unsustainable experiment in living. Now here we are in 2021. Is what James Howard Kunstler wrote about then manifesting itself now? In other words, to be more direct, is the Covid pandemic, outside of the virus itself, but the lockdowns, the closure of businesses, the economic contraction connected at all with Peak Oil, and perhaps other peaks? That is why I invited James Howard Kunstler to be on Freedom Loves Company.
Here is the sermon for May 3, 2020.
Today is Sunday, May 3, 2020.
We are still in lockdown, house arrest, whatever you wish to call it. I heard a report that my governor says the state of emergency will be in place until July 6th. More smoke and mirrors. There is no end in sight.
Supermarkets are more and more regimented with amazingly well-produced signage telling you where to stand and how to behave. Don’t walk the wrong way down the aisle! Make sure you don’t encroach in another’s space! The employees are scrubbing your cart down before and after with magic solution. In the outside world, people are wearing masks while driving alone in their cars. What is happening?
It was raining yesterday. My wife and I thought to get a couple of things at the local Home Depot. We changed our minds when we saw outside the store a long line of people, maybe 40 or more, standing in the rain waiting to get into the store. Why are they in a line, in the cold rain, six feet apart from one another? Because the new COVID rules limit the number of shoppers inside. So, in this upside-down world, it is healthier to stand outside in the cold rain rather than inside a warm and dry store.
What about this brings the most sadness? What is the most despairing thing? I do despair. I wrote this on FB the other day. Yes, Facebook, the platform that has been censoring, deleting and banning people faster and faster in recent days. David Icke was banned on Friday. He is not the only one. We are descending into darkness. Darkness doesn’t mean we are dead. It means it is dark. There will be no alternative voices on popular platforms to the elite narrative. We are being erased.
I am telling you very clearly. The world you knew is gone forever and we are now being prepared through the social isolation, mask wearing, snitching, and blind obedience to authority and its media, to a new way of being, a new robotic way of being, a controlled way of being. This is not about a virus. This is about control. There is no end in sight. Don’t get lost in the fear porn of the virus from the media. None of it can be trusted.
I wrote this:
This morning I awoke with a feeling I hadn’t felt since my son’s death nearly eight years ago. In the days following his death, I didn’t want to fall asleep because in my sleep I would dream that he was alive and with us. I would awaken to the cold reality that he was gone. In time that fear of sleep left me. It returned early this morning as I awoke with a start. I dreamt of a normal past life. I awoke suddenly to the realization that this NWO apocalypse or whatever we’ll call it, is the reality not the nightmare. Will this new fear of sleep ever leave me? It isn’t the sleep that frightens. It is the awakening.
I am not afraid of the virus. The virus is manufactured. COVID is a movie. Real people die. But we have no idea what is really killing them. We are only told. We are told by the same movie-makers who gave us 9/11. It isn’t the wickedness in high places that causes the despair in me. It isn’t the wickedness of the elites who have unleashed this psychological operation upon us that causes me to fear awakening. The despair is caused by the reactions of others who not only accept what they are told but actively silence those who are searching for what is real and true. The despair is for the collective delusion of my fellow humans. We are descending into slavery, in which every aspect of our lives will be controlled. We are seeing it unfold now. We are not becoming enslaved by force, but by our own acquiescence.
That said, it is still force. This is a psychological operation enacted by transnational agents and personalities upon all of us. This has been planned for many decades, perhaps generations. But we could resist it if there were enough people who could see this for what it is and simply say, “We are not going to cooperate.”
That may happen. There are people who battle tirelessly to communicate what they have seen and have discovered that is contrary to the media propaganda, and they will continue to do this as long as they are able to do so.
But now this movement is being forced underground. As I see it, it will likely remain there for decades if not centuries. I wrote this poem in September 2018. It is called “For the Martyrs Who Bear Witness.”
For The Martyrs Who Bear Witness
If they tell you I suicided,
It may be not because I killed myself.
If they say I went crazy,
It may be not because I was mentally ill.
If I am accused of doing all kinds of bad things,
It may be not because I did them.
If I stop talking about what I think is true,
It may be not because I have changed my mind.
If I end up vanishing from public space,
I may be still found in secret places.
If the world goes dark with lies and violence,
Look for the candles of those still bearing witness.
We are now approaching the last stanza of this poem. The world is going dark with lies and violence. For the vast majority, for those whose minds are software programs, they will see nothing wrong with being fed, staying in line, obeying every command, denying their own humanity, and reporting on anyone who does not conform.
You will not find the voices of the martyrs on the mega-platforms (Google/Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) These voices are being systematically silenced, their contributions are being erased. You will have to go to secret places. You will have to go underground.
In 2006 I started my blog, Shuck and Jive. So far, it is still on-line. I started it because I was made aware of a phenomenon called Peak Oil. I wrote dozens, perhaps hundreds of posts on Peak Oil over the years. Few took it seriously of course. Too depressing. Peak Oil ultimately would result in a contraction of energy, economy, and population leading to social and economic collapse. Peak Oil was a driving factor behind the 9/11 False Flag. We are now witnessing this global collapse.
I used to wonder why “they” didn’t get it. Why didn’t our presidents and our politicians and our hot shot thinkers talk about this more and make plans for how we as humans, and particularly Americans (who while four percent of the world’s population consume 25% of the world’s oil), should do about this impending contraction, so we could contract with awareness and with justice. We should be going local. Instead we are going global.
The global elite have been thinking about this and planning for it for a long time. COVID is the implementation of the plan. COVID is a controlled demolition of the global economy. It is a contraction that is engineered to benefit the elite. Those plebians who survive this ritual of transformation to the new reality either will be incorporated into it, accepting all the elements of global control and servitude, or they will rebel and die, or they will be ushered into prison camps, however large or small they need to be as we see now in Gaza. This is my despair. This is happening.
The same people, by the way, who control the concentration camp that is Gaza are the same people who engineered 9/11 and this COVID operation. They are all part of the same cabal, the same cult of transnational agents and personalities. Read David Icke’s book Trigger. Hadn’t heard about that book? Oh, yes, you haven’t heard of it because Icke was banned from Facebook and Youtube. He is not acceptable. Who he names is why he is banned. More than most, in my opinion, David Icke gets what is happening and who is responsible. He is one of the witnesses who has been telling us for three decades what has been happening and he has been exposing these psychopathic monsters who are running our world. He was one of the earliest voices to show that 9/11 was a scam. (Alice in Wonderland and the World Trade Center Disaster, 2002).
Since this is a sermon, I should say something spiritual.
There are particular challenges for the spiritual person. Spiritual is in contradiction to a software program. As David Icke points out, the vast, vast majority of people are software programs. The government and its media say, “Do this.” Then they press “Enter” and the people stand six feet apart, don their masks, and report on those who don’t obey. A good rule of thumb is that those who are wearing masks today are software programs.
Spiritual people on the other hand, are feeling that this is not right. They are not sure what to believe and David Icke and all the other so-called “conspiracy theorists” are causing significant cognitive dissonance. What does a spiritual person do?
I think the first thing one must do is to develop an understanding of what is real. You need to answer these questions with spiritual awareness. If you do not understand the bigger picture, you will not be able to comprehend what is happening to us now. People ask me, “What are we supposed to do?” Here is an answer. Get out your journal. Answer these questions with greater and greater depth until you can understand what is happening. Here are the questions:
Who are you? What happens to you when you die? What is this existence? Who made it? Who controls it? What is the Good? What is the origin and role of evil? What is the long plan of both evil and Good? How do see yourself in this plan?
These questions are not easy. The answers are not provided by religion, science or philosophy in and of themselves. These questions are yours. You as a spiritual person have no choice but to struggle with these questions. It isn’t about being smart or intellectual or educated. It is about your heart, your soul, You.
If you are feeling cognitive dissonance it is because your comprehension of reality is not comprehensive enough for this experience. This is why so many people cannot get what happened on September 11th, 2001. The elites blew up three skyscrapers in front of our faces and said they didn’t do it. How did they get away with that? Simple. They control the software programs that are people’s perceptions. In these software programs, the reality of evil is veiled.
Removing the veil is the spiritual journey. The ability and the will to remove the veil that covers evil is the difference between being spiritual and being a software program. Of course, you need an understanding of the Good that is larger than evil to stay on your path. Because that is of course, who you are as a spiritual person. You are the Good.
One of the challenges is that we tend to want things to work out in our own lifetimes, in this particular experience. So I will be blunt. You need to be prepared not to live through this. Outside of a cosmic miracle, we will be descending into darkness and ultimately into slavery for decades if not centuries. That is why it is important for you to have an understanding of “you” beyond your death or beyond this experience of reality. You may be doing your most important work after you are dead.
Pretty crazy, right? It is going to get crazier, Beloveds. As this lockdown rolls on and as the elites send us one PSYOP plague after another (terrorists, viruses, monster hornets, alien attacks) and as the vast numbers transition to their new robotic existence, more and more spiritual people will start to realize what is happening. They will look for spiritual compatriots, guides, witnesses, martyrs. These witnesses are saying to you now:
If I end up vanishing from public space,
I may be still found in secret places.
If the world goes dark with lies and violence,
Look for the candles of those still bearing witness.
This is the long game. Don’t fret the trolls. Don’t let them get under your skin. They are software programs, nothing more. You have a soul. Embrace it.
Per Fagereng’s novel explores America and Portland after Peak Oil
John Shuck speaks with radio host and author, Per Fagereng, about his novel, Jack Moloney’s Century. The novel covers the 100 year life of Jack Moloney (1980-2080) as he moves from Ireland to Portland with many stops along the way through the world’s transition from abundant energy to Peak Oil and beyond.
Per hosts the radio show, “Fight the Empire” on KBOO. Per says of himself:
“I’m old enough to remember the Brooklyn Dodgers. Worked at a gold mine in Alaska and a Norwegian freighter. Hanging out at a San Francisco tavern got me started in a newspaper career. I’ve been involved with KBOO since around 1980.”
From the back cover of Jack Moloney’s Century:
WHAT HAPPENED TO AMERICA? When young Jack Moloney jumped ship in New York in the year 2000 the United States was the world’s great power. When Jack died 80 years later the United States was in pieces, and his long life came to an end in a place called Cascadia. Jack Moloney grew up in Derry, in British-occupied Ireland. One night he helped some friends lob a mortar round into an army camp, and the IRA got him out of town. From Ireland to a job on a cruise ship, to New York, Chicago, the Great Plains and Oregon — Jack lived through a dangerous time in history. Gone were cheap oil, banks and mighty war machines. Now wars were fought by roving bands of armed people on foot. Old nations broke apart and new ones were born in rebellion. Nature itself fought back at human folly. As always, life depended on good land and water, and people to do the work.
Here is the text of the sermon I preached on Sunday, February 10th for Evolution Sunday.
“…we can…think of the end of our present life not as the end of our journey with God but simply as the beginning of its next phase. If so, we can conceive that divine grace, working entirely through the attractive power of love, might sanctify us all. There would be no need for the divine violence of casting sinners into hell. God would, instead, love the hell out of us.”
–David Ray Griffin, Two Great Truths: A New Synthesis of Scientific Naturalism and Christian Faith
Loving the Hell out of Us
I am the product of my parents. My father has a mind for science. My mother had a heart for faith. That isn’t to say that my father doesn’t have a heart nor my mother a mind. It is merely my perception of them to make a story about my life. My parents are far more complicated and interesting than the categories I create for them.
Nevertheless, it is with love and respect that I draw from the two of them an ongoing love for science and for faith, a lovers’ dance, two very different ways of knowing and of loving the world into which we are thrust.
Each day as I break a new personal record of consecutive days alive and breathing, I find myself negotiating my parents’ legacy in my own life. Science and faith. A love for facts and discovery. A desire to follow the will of God.
At times the lovers get snippy with each other, insisting that each’s own way is superior. True enough, one way is better at another in some things. Each way is also blind to its own shadow. Each way can also be blind to outside forces that manipulate each toward more sinister agenda.
Science is almost always used for the material of war.
Faith is almost always used for the emotion of war.
Each glimpses how the other is manipulated but that clarity often vanishes in the mirror.
The challenge to me and to us is how science and faith can contribute to the good. If science and faith are both ways of seeking what is true, is it too much to ask of both disciplines to seek also what is good? One of the historic principles of Presbyterian Church Order emphasizes both truth and goodness. You find this paragraph from the 18th century in our Book of Order:
F-3.0104 Truth and Goodness
That truth is in order to goodness; and the great touchstone of truth, its tendency to promote holiness, according to our Savior’s rule, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” And that no opinion can either be more pernicious or more absurd than that which brings truth and falsehood upon a level, and represents it as of no consequence what a [person’s] opinions are. On the contrary, we are persuaded that there is an inseparable connection between faith and practice, truth and duty. Otherwise it would be of no consequence either to discover truth or to embrace it.
These old Presbyterians were talking about truth that comes from faith, but that did not exclude truth that comes from reason. Both ways of knowing truth are in order to goodness. Of course, determining what is good as is determining what is true requires work, conversation, public debate, research, failure, humility, perseverance, and the ability and willingness to respond to change with corresponding change of mind and heart.
When I arrived at Southminster four years ago, a frequent question was asked of me: “What is your vision? What do you think Southminster should do?” My response then was that I didn’t know. I am new. We will have to see what Spirit presents to us.
Many times these types of questions are asked in terms of strategy and marketing. How do we brand ourselves and so forth? I am not against strategy, marketing, and branding, I suppose. But it must take a distant second to content. Who are you? What is real? What is God calling us to be and do? Truth and Goodness first. Strategy, Marketing and Branding, second.
I like this quote [mis] attributed to Charles Darwin, whose birthday, we celebrate on the Sunday closest to his birthday as Evolution Sunday.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
No one likes change, of course. Especially, churches. We all know the old jokes, such as the seven last words of the church:
“We’ve never done it that way before.”
I am going to mention this morning two types of changes that would behoove us to be responsive.
First, some religion. Jesus preaches a sermon. The boys are washing their fishing nets. Jesus tells the boys to drop the nets in the deep water. Simon, who later Jesus calls Peter, the rock upon whom I will build my church, is resistant to this new idea. It sounds like something that has been tried and has failed in the past. Those are the other seven last words of the church:
“We tried it that way once already.”
Simon goes with that one and says to Jesus:
“Master, we’ve been hard at it all night and haven’t caught a thing. But if you insist, I’ll lower the nets.”
Of course, the story concludes with a huge catch of fish and a moral from Jesus:
“Remember this lesson friends, when we go to catch the big fish.”
Here is the question:
“Does Peter, the Rock, represent the church in his resistance to change or in his responsiveness to Jesus?”
I will let that question hang there. You answer it yourself.
One more piece of religion. That is the quote from David Ray Griffin from his book, Two Great Truths: A New Synthesis of Scientific Naturalism and Christian Faith. The question is how does the world end? Not just the world, the galaxy, the universe, the cosmos? Does it end with divine violence, sending sheep and goats to their separate areas? Or does it end through the lure of love? Griffin says, and I agree with him, that the end is the process. God’s work is not complete by sending sinners to hell. God’s work is complete by loving the hell out of us.
In the end, no matter how many lifetimes it takes,
“All will be well.”
With all of that hope, let’s tackle some change.
The first change is that many churches in America are closing.
A friend sent me this article this morning in Baptist News. The article by Pastor Elizabeth Mangham Lott is entitled, “My seminary has closed. But churches are closing too, and it’s time to face some hard questions.”
This is true for Presbyterians as well as Baptists. Our denomination, or its antecedents in 1965 numbered four million. Today about 1.5 million. I am sure that Craig Butler, Southminster member, and treasurer of our presbytery, would be happy to educate us on trends within our own presbytery.
Rather than blame each other, we can ask some hard questions. How do we respond to this change? The article concludes with excellent advice:
“How will we know which path is ours to take? Well, that’s something I did learn in seminary. We sit in holy quiet together, embracing ancient practices of contemplation and discernment. We follow the threads across ancient texts and look for the ways God has always been finding new and wildly imaginative avenues to know and be known by a people. We foster honest, brave, healthy, truth-telling communities that step even more fully and boldly into their calling as followers on the Way of Jesus. We ask really good questions and listen to each other in hopes of getting to even better ones.”
The second change is a far bigger change. It dwarfs the first change in magnitude almost making the first seem irrelevant. But actually, how we respond to the first change will enable us to be better equipped at responding to this second change.
I have spoken of this second change often and from different angles for over twenty years. I haven’t talked about it every Sunday, but I think you know it. And you mostly don’t like it.
Here it is: Americans make up 5% of the world’s population and consume 25% of the world’s resources. Another way to put it is this: If the rest of the world consumed as much as Americans consumed we would need four planets of resources. We have one planet. This is the case when I first started talking about it 20 years ago. It is an inequity that is unsustainable and can only be sustained temporarily through violence.
This change will likely be good for the rest of the world when America stops consuming a quarter of the world’s resources and instead consumes what is proportional to its population. This change will be uncomfortable for Americans when this standard of living changes.
Whether one thinks that inequity is justifiable or not, inequities always result in change. There is always a re-ordering eventually. Evolution happens when species outstrip their environments or when environments change. Whether we come about this question by studying Peak Oil, Climate Change, or militarization and its accompanying propaganda, there are hundreds of ways to show that these inequities exist and are not going to last. Those inequities are the inequity of human population vs. planetary limits and the inequity of the elites of the world vs. the rest.
This change can come abruptly or gradually or in a combination. As humans in general and Americans in particular, collectively reach the end of our credit limit, and nothing has been done in the past twenty years that I have been talking about it in regards to changing our course, major changes likely will come sooner than later.
Now remember. It is all good.
Simon Peter, the rock of the church, was in the end, responsive to change and Jesus will love the hell out of us.
If my parents taught me anything it is that life ends. My mother lived to be 91. My father is 100 currently. Even long lives end. Given that something will kill us someday, how do we live now?
Do we live to make ourselves as comfortable as possible for as long as possible? That is one way. But there is another way: the way of Jesus. The way of Mohammad. The way of Moses. The way of Buddha. These spiritual leaders knew that life was bigger than themselves and they were all responsive to change.
How might we be responsive to change? I think the fire drill is a great start about being responsive and prepared.
What about snowstorms? Are we as a church responsive enough to that in regards to care for the building but also care for members?
Let’s go bigger.
You have heard that we are due for an earthquake (New Yorker, Atlantic). I have not talked about that at all with the congregation in any organized way. Dick Burnham and I were talking about it the other day. A very small percentage has done any awareness or preparation for this.
For me the physical preparation is important, but more than that, the internal preparation is equally as important as is the social preparation.
Change is coming. It comes in many ways. Practicing responsiveness through education, internal spiritual preparedness, and social connection can put Southminster in a place where it can be a helper rather than irrelevant, or worse, a burden. This goes for the congregation as a whole as well as individuals within it.
This is what I do. I am not some slick marketer who can come in and tell you how to get young people in the church, or sing and dance to soft hits of the 80s. I find most of that stuff to be a bunch of bull. I can however tell you what I think is going on and help open discussions on how we might respond, theologically, ethically, and practically to changes that are coming.
Truth and Goodness.
March 10th after church we start with some conversations about what it means to be the church on Denney and Hall in Beaverton.
You can talk to me over pie for breakfast on Wednesdays at Sharis on Allen and Murray or coffee Tuesday mornings. Or whenever. I will leave you today with Charles Darwin (although likely a misquotation):
It is not the strongest of the species that survives,
Nor the most intelligent,
But the one most responsive to change.