Yesterday, I was working in a small city that I will call Pleasantville because it’s a nice place, with clean streets, green parks and many tall trees, and where most people are polite. It’s a center for the economy of a large region and it has a university campus. It’s also full of retired people because of the low house prices.
I’m sure you get the picture.
I was in a car, waiting at a red light at a busy intersection, with another person. Suddenly, on my left, I saw someone walking through the intersection, and not on the sidewalk. That person was followed many others, two or three hundred, including at least one person in a wheel chair, and several babies. This was in a city where everyone waits for a walk light, and crosses carefully at the designated crosswalk, showing respect and courtesy to the neighbors.
It’s that kind of place.
It was shocking to see a large crowd walk through a busy intersection, even when the light was red for them, in Pleasantville. At the end of the mob was a parade marshal who shooed the stragglers forward, and he smiled and waved at all the people who were waiting for him to move on. Even the radical activists are nice in that city.
If you can’t guess, we saw a demonstration against climate change. Some people in the crowd had pieces of cardboard with words written on them; but the words were not clear. We could also hear some of them shout “something-something now!” “Something” because we couldn’t understand what they were saying. And then they left, and traffic resumed. If I didn’t tell you about this, it would disappear from my memory, like a dream.
So, what makes that demonstration important?
Anyone reading this has probably heard of Greta Thunberg, the environmental activist from Sweden. Many things will happen after I write this, but until now, she has inspired many public demonstrations, she scolded politicians from the podium of the United Nations General Assembly, and then she led huge demonstrations in the city of Montreal.
Greta Thunberg is 16, at this time, and she has been diagnosed with Asberger’s Syndrome, a form of Autism. She describes the effect of her illness as a super power that makes her more effective as an activist. Her parents are entertainers in Sweden, and they have helped her with her career as a publicist, and that explains how she has become a famous success. I don’t think any other 16 year old girl has addressed the UN General Assembly.
This sudden rise to power is a sign of our times. In the language of the Bible, Greta is a prophet.
Greta has her critics. They are easy to find in the comment section of news articles:
- RELATED: Montreal climate march: ‘We are the change,’ Greta Thunberg tells throng: Montreal Gazette
In the words of the critics, the environmentalists have chosen the methods of religious cults, and they have achieved huge success. They even inspired a march in the college town where I was working.
Religious prophets give a path to success.
If you are wondering, I can form opinions about Greta Thunberg and other environmentalists. We all do that, but I am interested here, in the method and not the message. In the Bible, not all prophets were good; some were ‘false’ but they all used the same method. They got inspired and spoke loudly. Prophets tend to burst on the scene and get attention, for a short time. They inspire us, usually with no staying power, and many inspire religious cults.
The lesson for us, is that we are now in a time when prophets speak, and things were different a few years ago. Greta Thunberg achieved huge success, and she will have many imitators. People with a message want the world to hear them.
Jesus told us this would happen, at the end of this age:
So, is Greta Thunberg correct, or not? Every Christian has a responsibility:
That girl from Sweden and her friends have revived an ancient responsibility among Christians. If we were lazy with this before, we are now in a time when we must test the spirits of the prophets. There will be more loud voices soon.