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New Paradigms
Connections 29th July 2007

David Kitchingman


We got to church earlier this morning despite the weather. The new car seems to handle better on our frosty street. I had time to look at the 'Connections' article in the Bulletin while Colin was playing the organ. Unfortunately, it wasn't one of Ken's 'Connections' today, but it did have a subject line, just like a real email. 'The New Paradigms', it said. I'd love to have a new Paradigm - it's such a cool name for a car. Our Toyota Ipsum's all right, but in the UK it was distributed under the name 'Picnic'. Come off it. Who'd ever want to buy a Picnic?

It seems whoever was writing the article had found something in a recent issue of The Independent, that world oil supplies are set to run out faster than expected. Scientists warn that supplies will start to run out in four years' time! You know, my brother-in-law has just bought a runout. He was told it was the last one of its model in the North Island. Lucky for him.

Yet the article was talking about the last car in New Zealand. Gee, that would be worth a packet. Mind you, it would certainly solve our church parking problems which have been exercising the mind of the Leaders' Meeting. And if we ended up with hitching posts, that would also solve the problem with wandering dogs in the local area - you'd never know they had been doing their stuff. All part of being a good neighbourhood church.

Back to 'Connections'. It went on to lament 'the age of the automobile'. I disagree. I've never thought that the age of a car is as significant as its condition. Our Ipsum is over 10 years old, but that doesn't worry me at all. It's still in good order.

Apparently, The Independent article is a rebuttal of an optimistic BP Statistical Review of World Energy. The rebuttal was prepared by an Oil Depletion Analysis Centre, headed by a Dr Campbell. He's a geologist and former vice-president of several oil companies including, you guessed it, BP. He says, 'When I was the boss of an oil company I would never tell the truth. It's not part of the game.'

Be that as it may, I don't always go along with The Independent. I think the ODT is more authoritative, and it's been on about the Great Southern Basin recently. Did you see the little cartoon about it? That new cartoonist, Parry Jones, is good - he's a friend of my son. He likened the Basin to a UFO full of oil. Actually, I thought our Basin was going to be full of grass. I see Chris Laidlaw thinks that putting a lid on it might make it fly. It's good that he agrees with me on that - he's a pretty smart guy.

Colin stopped playing. I had run out of time to read the entire 'Connections' article, so I skipped to the end to see how it finished. Marion does that quite often, she says, with novels. I don't know about Harry Potter. But whoever was writing had obviously got hopelessly sidetracked. He or she was on about a new paradigm in religion! All about traditional theology running out. Peak doctrine just like peak oil. The age of creeds just like the age of cars.

There was talk about the need for a much deeper level of exploration. I thought we already had an Explorers' Group for that sort of thing. The oil search seemed to have been forgotten, but I lighted on the phrase 'liquid spirituality' ( la Zygmunt Bauman). And a quote from Paul Tillich, 'in the depths of every living religion there is a point where the religion itself loses its importance...raising it to a spiritual freedom that makes possible a new view of the presence of the divine'.

Then it got into reverse. Something about the first axial period in the millennium before Christ - that must have been when the Romans invented chariots. There's even a book about it called The Great transformation, by Karen Armstrong. She must be a bright mechanic. I'll look it up in the motoring section at the Library. Forward gear again. There was speculation that we might now be entering another axial age. I didn't think there was anything particularly wrong with axles, as long as they're properly greased, but then if we're running out of oil there might well be a problem.

The last sentence was about grass roots reformation. Which reminds me of the new roofed stadium. If what's needed is a revival, why don't we invite Billy Graham to come back? I remember going to his big crusade at Car-is-broke. The singing would raise the roof, which is more than we ever do. Why hasn't anyone written to the ODT to pass on the idea to Malcolm Farry? Syd Adie would be happy too, because the hire costs would save the ratepayers, while Billy... Never mind.

Ah, I've just had a thought about the word 'paradigm'. It must be a typo for 'paradise'. That's what you enter when your old world comes crashing down, whether it's the end of oil or of the dinkum oil on what to believe. I'm beginning to feel better already.

David Kitchingman


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