Let me take a few moments to introduce myself. (The picture is of me standing on a North Sea Oil and Gas platform. Although hard to see, it was snowing lightly when the picture was taken.)
I am a chemical engineer. I have worked in the process and energy industries for my entire career. This engineering background helps me understand much of the science and technology that lies behind discussions to do with the Age of Limits. In addition, I have a Masters in Literature from the University of Houston, Clear Lake. I believe that this combination of engineering and literature helps me better understand the nature of the issues that we are facing.
I am also a member of the Episcopalian/Anglican church. My home church is St. James the Less in Ashland, Virginia — about 20 minutes north of Richmond, and an hour and a half south of Washington D.C.
One of the reasons for writing this book was to try to figure out a theology that is appropriate for the very difficult times that we are entering. But I am a semi-retired chemical engineer, not a theologian. The nearest I got to being a theologian was the four years I spent as in the Education for Ministry (EfM) program organized by the University of the South. Students attend a weekly class and carry out the necessary background reading. My class colleagues heard me talk about how the Peak Oil/Climate Change issues create opportunities for fresh Christian leadership, so they suggested that I become a modern-day prophet.
Taking on such a role is obviously presumptuous. How can a semi-retired chemical engineer handle such knotty theological questions? Nevertheless, someone has to do it, so I decided to give it a go.
Yet, when I looked at what the Hebrew Bible prophets actually said, their messages seemed quite contemporary. The word ‘prophet’ suggests to us that they were some type of fortune-teller. But that was not the case. A better word might be ‘proclaimer’. They stated obvious truths to an audience that did not want to hear their message. They preached against the worship of false gods. Our false god is a faith in endless material progress — a faith that is now being sorely tested as the industrial revolution winds down.
Of the Hebrew prophets, probably the best known in “weeping” Jeremiah. He did not want to be a prophet, nor did he believe that he had the skills to be one. But he felt that he had no choice.
Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth.
In the event that you would like to know more about my journey through what Dante called the ‘Forest Dark’, please check out Chapter 2 (My Personal Journey) and Chapter 11 (Theology) in the book The New City of God.