Gird yourselves and weep, O priests!
wail, O ministers of the altar!
Come, spend the night in sackcloth,
O ministers of my God!
The house of your God is deprived
of offering and libation.
Proclaim a fast,
call an assembly;
Gather the elders,
all who dwell in the land,
Into the house of the LORD, your God,
and cry to the LORD! – Joel 1:13-15
Can you imagine if someone today was to come up to your church and start screaming this out to the congregation? What do you think they would do? How many different looks and comments would start happening throughout the entire place? Would someone call the police to ensure he was taken away and proclaimed crazy? Would the congregation take him in and love him as one of their own?
In the time of Joel, there was a famine at play in the land of Judah. His speeches were trying to get people to actually respect the change, and the fact that is was a result of God, and the fact that they were falling away from God once again. Everyone in that time was just going about their business as if the weather was just the same as it had always been, and this was just a lean time period. Joel knew otherwise, and was trying to get people to repent their ways and get back to God.
Still, if someone speaks out today, saying that maybe the droughts in California, or the unusually hot weather may be a sign from God that we are getting off the path that he wants us to be on, they are considered crazy, out of touch with reality, trying to push a religion on others, or they are trying to get people to follow a cult. Well, in some outlying cases, the latter is true. I believe it is all in the presentation, and that there is some logic behind this argument. Things always happen for a reason. There may be not enough conclusive evidence to show that humans have caused a shift in climate, but that doesn’t mean that we do not contribute to changing the face of the Earth. There is still a bit of truth in the so-called crazy talk.
So, why still, would we think that people are crazy for having this belief? We have no control over when the next hurricane or earthquake happens, but in some respects, we are responsible for our environment. We do have free will to choose how we live on this planet, and how we take care of it. We would still look at an individual like Joel as crazy today, for speaking his mind and in part, the truth about how we should be stewards of this life, and not users of this life. Users end up with great Earthly riches, but in the end, they end up with nothing.
Striving for the next penny, because you feel the need to bring in more profit, is how scandals like the one plaguing Volkswagen happens. Instead of trying to make vehicles to standards, they decided to cheat the system. Profits were there, for a short while… but now, a once proud brand has been destroyed by greed. I am sure at some point someone in the company thought it was wrong, but either they didn’t have the courage to stand up, or they were thought of as a crazy Joel type person and dismissed. Did that happen with any other scandals or man caused disasters? I am sure of it. We should not be so quick to dismiss the Joel in the rooms, they may be trying to keep us on the path we were meant to be on.
The same rule still applies, we need to be listening to God, following our moral nature, and staying true to our surroundings. The Earth is a gift from God. It is not something that should be taken for granted. Our fellow brothers and sisters, they are also gifts. They should not be taken for granted either. We all have a responsibility to each other.