It's the Nut Behind the Wheel

I remembered a joke I heard as a child this past week (I wasn't a child this week, I heard the joke when I was a child, I just remembered it this past week…..anyway).  A guy is complaining about not getting good performance from his car: rough starts, hesitation etc.  He begins identifying parts that may be causing the trouble.  "Maybe its the fan on the turbo injector or maybe it's the wiring harness over the battery", he wonders aloud when the other guy responds, "It must be the nut behind the wheel".

It's not a very funny joke but anyway it reminds me of another joke: Grandpa was having a nap in the living room when little Billy decided he would pull a trick on him.  He smeared limburger cheese in Grandpa's mustache and managed to sneak away before Grandpa woke up. 

Grandpa sat up with a sniff and said, "This living room stinks!".  With a scowl on his face he stood up left, walking out into the hall where he turned, and paused.  "This hall stinks too!", he exclaimed and stomped off into the kitchen.  Once he was there with a squawk of disgust he covered his mouth and blurted, "This whole house stinks" and proceeded to stagger outside and stand on the porch.  Once he was there, with a twitch of his nose Grandpa yelled for all to hear, "The whole world stinks!"  In the end Grandpa couldn't see what the real problem was.  It was right under his nose all along.

 Steven Hawking in Hong KongSteven Hawking was quoted this week saying, "The survival of the human race depends on its ability to find new homes elsewhere in the universe because there's an increasing risk that a disaster will destroy the Earth".  Hawking says that if we can keep from destroying ourselves for the next 100 years we will be able to build colonies on other planets that no longer need support from Earth.

Critics of this idea say a base in Antarctica would be much easier build and maintain but I think I already know what that won't fly.  It is too familiar to be plausible. 

When we look at the mess we have made of this world we think, 'Man I need to get away from this and start over.  Then things will be different.' The problem isn't with the planet or what we have done with it.  The problem is us:  The nuts behind the wheel!

When considering environmental concerns I think George Carlin put it best when he said,

The planet is fine. Compared to the people, the planet is doing great. Been here four and a half billion years. Did you ever think about the arithmetic? The planet has been here four and a half billion years. We've been here, what, a hundred thousand? Maybe two hundred thousand? And we've only been engaged in heavy industry for a little over two hundred years. Two hundred years versus four and a half billion. And we have the CONCEIT to think that somehow we're a threat? That somehow we're gonna put in jeopardy this beautiful little blue-green ball that's just a-floatin' around the sun?

The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through all kinds of things worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles…hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worlwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages…And we think some plastic bags, and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet isn't going anywhere. WE ARE!

We're going away. Pack your [stuff] folks. We're going away. And we won't leave much of a trace, either. Thank God for that. Maybe a little styrofoam. The planet'll be here and we'll be long gone. The planet'll shake us off like a bad case of fleas.

During the aftermath of Katrina I was disgusted to see and hear about chairities that are trying to feed the homeless dogs left behind by the hurricane.  Let's get all the people looked after first folks then we can worry about the dogs!  Why are we so quick to help the animals and not the other people? 

I think the reason animal rights people want to save the whales or save the dolphins and not worry about people is because you never see a porpoise holding up the Piggly Wiggly on the 6 o'clock news.  People we have trouble with but sea mammals that we see on the nature shows; we can deal with that!

We would much rather try and move on to someone elses problem, or something simpler, than deal with the one at hand: We are in a mess.  Everyone is doing what is right in their own eyes and it's not going so well.  Global warming, international war, disease, starvation, these are signs we are living in a world that thinks it knows what is best for itself . In the words of the great philosopher Dr. Phil, "How's that workin' for ya?"

The greatest evidence that there is a God and he has a plan for us is the mess we get into when we try to go it our own way.

Paul begins the book of Romans with this indictment:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

Romans 1: 18-23 (NIV)

We have been given a glimpse of God and His nature.  Even though it grieves us we know that this world isn't all there is.  There must be something more.  In going our own way we have exchanged the glorious for the shameful.

Jesus came to make this relationship right.  "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!." (Rom. 5: 8-9)

God didn't wait until we cleaned up our act.  He extended His hand to us while we were still stubbornly going our own way.  The prophet Hosea captures it beautifully when he relates God's words,

It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
       taking them by the arms;
       but they did not realize
       it was I who healed them. 

I led them with cords of human kindness,
       with ties of love;
       I lifted the yoke from their neck
       and bent down to feed them.

Hosea 11: 3-4

Our world doesn't even know it is lost, and yet God patiently waits for our return to His loving care.  Praise be to God our Father.  May He be glorified and honoured.

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