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We’ve been here before – even worse!

Stan’s Stuff – By Stan Stewart

The world’s a mess – doom, gloom and despair! Is this the end of civilization? There’s no shortage of people, even here in ‘paradise’ on the Coromandel, who will tell you that it is.

Really! In fact, I can remember when times were worse – much worse, more threatening and terrifying than what we are now facing.

I am talking about the height of the Cold War. In the 1980’s it seemed nuclear war was imminent. The British government issued a pamphlet to homeowners with instructions on how to build a nuclear shelter in their back yards. This was serious. Armageddon was about to arrive. In the build-up to this there was a race to build bigger and bigger nuclear bombs. In 1961, the Russians created a hydrogen bomb, RDS-220, nick named the ‘Tsar Bomb’. This bomb would vaporize everything in a 30 mile radius and destroy most structures within a 150 mile radius. To put this in a New Zealand perspective – goodbye Auckland and Hamilton in one explosion.

No wonder then that in 1965, the top of the pops was Barry McGuire singing, ‘The Eve of Destruction’. That was the feeling in the air. Scientists believe that Australia and New Zealand are best placed to survive a nuclear apocalypse and help reboot human civilization. The future could place on us heavy, awesome responsibility. Here’s a thought. What if that challenge to reboot human civilization is already before us? Because of our isolation, our racial mix, the variety of heritages we represent, we could, we should, create something different in this country. We do not need to simply duplicate pale images of our different heritages, but something new, something different, something fitted for new realities. One thing I’m sure of is this. Kilts and haggis look great in museums. However, kilts and haggis ‘thinking’ is not fit to determine the way we should be in the emerging, evolving future. Historical cultures are valuable. But in the matrix of the future, we will all have to adjust to find what works best in new situations. That thought excites me. Are we up to it? I’m hoping!

At 16 years of age, in the religious world I lived in, ‘end-of-the-age’ talk and ‘Jesus is coming back’ was ever present. It depressed me. But, amongst the Christians I moved with, I had to keep up appearances. I had to say that the return of Jesus was a good thing. But in my heart and in ‘my body’ I didn’t want it to be too soon. My best friend was adamant that Jesus would come back before we were 21. In fact, through the years, several of my friends have predicted the year of Jesus’ return. I am sure that right now loads of people are putting a date on the return of Jesus. I understand that some Moslems, for whom Jesus is an important figure, are also predicting that his return is imminent. For them he will bring about the end of this age. Then divine judgement of every person will commence, and for those whose piety has been enough, their entry into paradise is the reward.

On a couple of occasions, my friend Laurie and I went to an ultra-zealous prayer meeting. This was led by an old man, in his 80’s I think. During the prayer time he would go on at length. Most of his prayer was pleading with Jesus to come back soon – tonight if possible. After two sessions of this I told Laurie I was not going to that group anymore. “That old guy who wants Jesus to come back soon is married and has five kids. I’ve not even kissed a girl. I want Jesus to delay a bit so I can live a little.” It didn’t sound very pious, but Laurie understood. He was in the same boat as me. The hormones were stirring, and earthly pleasures were hard to ignore.

There is no denying the stressfulness of the times we are living in – the horrific suffering of millions, the enormous gap between the minority ‘haves’ (us) and the majority ‘have nots’. But in my lifetime, I have lived through similar things and worse. One thing is new – ‘Global Warming’. A few deny it but my impression is that their numbers are shrinking. If it’s a fact as I think it is, that will bring a whole new set of problems which could overshadow all other global problems.

What can I do in these worrying times? Hate is ‘hopeless”. Healing and new life can come from generosity. Here, I am not just talking about generosity with money. I know we will have to be flexible in our thinking and our actions. And I like the slogan “Keep calm and carry on”.

 |  The Informer  | 

Stan’s Stuff – By Stan Stewart

The world’s a mess – doom, gloom and despair! Is this the end of civilization? There’s no shortage of people, even here in ‘paradise’ on the Coromandel, who will tell you that it is.

Really! In fact, I can remember when times were worse – much worse, more threatening and terrifying than what we are now facing.

I am talking about the height of the Cold War. In the 1980’s it seemed nuclear war was imminent. The British government issued a pamphlet to homeowners with instructions on how to build a nuclear shelter in their back yards. This was serious. Armageddon was about to arrive. In the build-up to this there was a race to build bigger and bigger nuclear bombs. In 1961, the Russians created a hydrogen bomb, RDS-220, nick named the ‘Tsar Bomb’. This bomb would vaporize everything in a 30 mile radius and destroy most structures within a 150 mile radius. To put this in a New Zealand perspective – goodbye Auckland and Hamilton in one explosion.

No wonder then that in 1965, the top of the pops was Barry McGuire singing, ‘The Eve of Destruction’. That was the feeling in the air. Scientists believe that Australia and New Zealand are best placed to survive a nuclear apocalypse and help reboot human civilization. The future could place on us heavy, awesome responsibility. Here’s a thought. What if that challenge to reboot human civilization is already before us? Because of our isolation, our racial mix, the variety of heritages we represent, we could, we should, create something different in this country. We do not need to simply duplicate pale images of our different heritages, but something new, something different, something fitted for new realities. One thing I’m sure of is this. Kilts and haggis look great in museums. However, kilts and haggis ‘thinking’ is not fit to determine the way we should be in the emerging, evolving future. Historical cultures are valuable. But in the matrix of the future, we will all have to adjust to find what works best in new situations. That thought excites me. Are we up to it? I’m hoping!

At 16 years of age, in the religious world I lived in, ‘end-of-the-age’ talk and ‘Jesus is coming back’ was ever present. It depressed me. But, amongst the Christians I moved with, I had to keep up appearances. I had to say that the return of Jesus was a good thing. But in my heart and in ‘my body’ I didn’t want it to be too soon. My best friend was adamant that Jesus would come back before we were 21. In fact, through the years, several of my friends have predicted the year of Jesus’ return. I am sure that right now loads of people are putting a date on the return of Jesus. I understand that some Moslems, for whom Jesus is an important figure, are also predicting that his return is imminent. For them he will bring about the end of this age. Then divine judgement of every person will commence, and for those whose piety has been enough, their entry into paradise is the reward.

On a couple of occasions, my friend Laurie and I went to an ultra-zealous prayer meeting. This was led by an old man, in his 80’s I think. During the prayer time he would go on at length. Most of his prayer was pleading with Jesus to come back soon – tonight if possible. After two sessions of this I told Laurie I was not going to that group anymore. “That old guy who wants Jesus to come back soon is married and has five kids. I’ve not even kissed a girl. I want Jesus to delay a bit so I can live a little.” It didn’t sound very pious, but Laurie understood. He was in the same boat as me. The hormones were stirring, and earthly pleasures were hard to ignore.

There is no denying the stressfulness of the times we are living in – the horrific suffering of millions, the enormous gap between the minority ‘haves’ (us) and the majority ‘have nots’. But in my lifetime, I have lived through similar things and worse. One thing is new – ‘Global Warming’. A few deny it but my impression is that their numbers are shrinking. If it’s a fact as I think it is, that will bring a whole new set of problems which could overshadow all other global problems.

What can I do in these worrying times? Hate is ‘hopeless”. Healing and new life can come from generosity. Here, I am not just talking about generosity with money. I know we will have to be flexible in our thinking and our actions. And I like the slogan “Keep calm and carry on”.