Political tremors

I feel the earth move under my feet,
I feel the sky tumbling down, tumbling down.
I feel my heart start trembling
Whenever you’re around. —Carole King

The story of geology has been one of letting go of permanence: from a world created just as it should be by God, we now have a world in flux. … Nothing seems to be at rest. The surface of the earth dilates and collapses; the seas rise and fall; further, the very continents move. —Earth: An Intimate History, Richard Fortey

Arenal-impressionsThe earth shook this morning — magnitude 5.3 — and no, it wasn’t God delivering a warning over last night’s rout by the Democrats.

I heard a distant rumbling that grew louder and nearer until it surrounded me. The doors began vibrating in their frames. The concrete floor beneath my feet rolled like a small boat on the ocean. And then, as quickly as it began, it was gone.

I laughed out loud. Seriously. I’ve only been in a few earthquakes before, one major one. I wasn’t frightened. Instead, I was awe-struck to find myself standing in a bowl of Jello. I think my brain momentarily popped out of gear — the novelty was just too much.

The crust of the earth is fractured into irregular pieces, like ice floes bobbing in the Arctic Ocean. As these massive, rocky plates grind and shove against one another, they create a continuous set of shocks and tremors.

The continents are on the move. When Africa collided with Europe, Switzerland buckled and the Alps were heaved into the sky. The subduction of the Pacific plate beneath North America and the Nazca plate beneath South America has created a chain of volcanoes stretching from Alaska to Chile, spawning earthquakes like the one I felt in Mexico.

As fast as crust is destroyed by subduction, new crust is extruded in deep places like the mid-Atlantic ridge.

These large-scale processes are joined by relentless cycles of freeze and thaw, as well as the steady onslaught of wind and rain. What the shifting continental plates pile high, weather grinds into dust. The eroded sediments of the hills flood the valleys, bringing even the highest places low in time.

There’s a whole lotta change going on. Political upheavals pale in comparison to the steady transformation of the earth, the birth and death of generation upon generation of humanity, and the rapid flight of our solar system through the universe.

Nothing holds still. Nothing remains the same. Stasis is an illusion — movement and change permeate everything, everywhere.

Yesterday, American voters elected “change.” Not a very big change, mind you — it’s not like we decided to put the Green party into office. It’s just the Democrats. They can be a little wild-eyed at times, but they just might bring some fresh air to the Congress, and it surely needs some airing out. Perhaps some of these newly-elected Democrat moderates, like pro-life Democrats Bob Casey, Jr of Pennsylvania and Indiana’s Brad Ellsworth, will edge the party’s liberal dinosaurs away from their more radical doctrines.


Change is good. Change is inextricably woven into all of creation. Only God is unchanging. Life is a bumpy ride; hold on to God’s unchanging hand.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever — Hebrews 13:8, (NLT)

Photo credit: Volcanic impressions, Arenal volcano, Costa Rica

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  1. Hey Charles,

    A while back I did a search through the blogosphere to find some interesting Christian folk to think with. I kept your site on file mainly because as a grapic designer I really was resonating with your blog design! Nice job man!

    At any rate, I’ve been doing a fair amount of thinking about the nature of faith and politics in this country and recently have been doing some reading by Greg Boyd. He has essay here:

    Greg Boyd

    It’s been a very freeing message for me, but somewhat confusing as well. Just thought I’d throw that out there in the interest of discourse.


  2. I am encouraged by the Democrats taking control of the Congress. Not because I’m a Democrat, in fact I’m a Republican, but because “change is good” as you wrote above. We need change, even if we don’t completely agree with it.

    When I heard the results of the election I felt a huge relief inside. Our system works better when one party has to negotiate with the other, not when one party controls the other.

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