Wednesday, November 15, 2006
An Inconvenient Truth
The Al Gore movie on climate change has just been released on DVD. You have to admire the audacity of making a powerpoint presentation into a major movie. The science is compelling if sometimes simplistic but the message is unequivocal. We may not like it but we need to change our habits if we are to avoid destroying the planet. The way the film is structured weaving personal stories from the former Vice President's life with images and facts is interesting for those who want to communicate well with a post modern audience. The personal vignettes; a mentor while at college opening his eyes to the future, his son in a car accident, his elder sister dying from cancer while his father was farming tobacco and subsequently stopped all help build a picture of someone who is genuinely committed to the cause. This emotional resonance builds empathy with the audience and reinforces the message. The movie ends with practical challenges. One of the most powerful images to me was the fishing fleet in the Aral Sea now marooned in sand, where once was water. You should see the film.
"An Inconvenient Truth" is often described as an "evangelical film", which I guess is more to do with its crusading zeal than a theological position. Often flying over the world I am struck by the beauty of what I see and how little we value the world that we live in. I have heard many evangelical christians talking with pride of the impact of people like William Wilberforce and his role on the cutting edge of the abolition of slavery. Why are not more of us involved at the cutting edge on the key issues of our day, poverty, aids, ecology and globalisation? More of this is on cultural connections (click profile to switch) from an article I wrote for the recent Canvas.
The Irish National Student Conference at Kilkenny was on the theme of "Offer up Your Life". The planning team had said they did not just want to organise "another conference" but to see something which was life shaping for the students and graduates who were there. I did the main sessions interactively and was hugely encouraged by the response.
The publicity revolved around a chess motif with a pawn depicting the idea of sacrifice. On the final morning there was an act of commitment where a pawn was held up to the king while people made commitments about their future, particularly in terms of whole life discipleship. Sometimes you go to events and wonder if they were worth the effort. This was a long way to go but I felt was a significant event and well worth the investment.
It was great to be at Davidsons Mains Church for both services the first Sunday I was in Europe. Peoples smiling faces are such an encouragement. I always leave with a deep sense of gratitude for the people there and know that they really love us. It was good to spend time with various friends, to see my folks and Ailsa's dad (her mum was in Canada). The Pacific Partnership Trust board meeting and Mission Scotland meetings were also very encouraging. We miss our friends and family in Scotland a lot but we know that many stand with us in what we are doing at the other end of the world.
The family coped pretty well in my absence. I have been away less the year which has been good. We are still doing things for the first time which continues to be stressful. Ailsa and I have to sit our NZ driving license test by the end of the year which should be interesting! The boys are enjoying cultural experiences, Craig in Maori mode above and sporting experiences, Luke and Jamie below. Both Luke and Jamie have been to school camp in the last two weeks.
As I write I am at the National Student Leaders Conference on the Kapiti Coast. There are some terrific young people here, around half are international students. I am encouraged that we are moving in the right direction and are building for the future. I have been speaking each evening on 2 Timothy and "Tim Teams" are looking at the same book in the afternoons. We have a group from Fiji here, who we sponsored to come and also Arul, a guest from UESI India, who we are exploring greater partnership options with for the future. We had a fashion show last night to launch the new logo in regional colours for each of the groups, which was great fun.
We long to see the message of the good news impact this generation, nation and region. The gospel may be inconvenient, (it challenges the values and norms that surround us) but it is true.