We’ve been back in the Federal Republic now for most of a month, and the anxious mood of the country seems to have gotten worse. Before the headlines here were taken over by news of Queen Elizabeth’s death and of the startling Ukrainian successes in the Russo-Ukrainian war (update as of September 12th, here), the newspaper headlines were filled with stories about the impending wave of price increase for everything from foodstuffs to soaps to clothing, all driven by the continuing price increases in the energy sector. The war and the energy prices are of course related, and those who laughed when Donald Trump warned Europeans against relying on the regime of Vladimir Putin for their supplies of natural gas are finding out now just how appalling crow really tastes when it is served up cold. It tastes like the fear of pensioners who quite legitimately think that their government is going to force them to choose between food and heat this winter.
Thankfully, there are some promising developments in the war right now, and German Chancellor Scholz has wisely ceased on the moment to put what pressure he can on the Russian President to withdraw his forces from Ukraine. For that matter, some members of the Russian Duma and Russian military leaders are calling the war already lost. Pray that these pressures bring an end to the war sooner rather than later.
Here I could spend a few lines railing against the German “Energiewende”, so I will. If you are unfamiliar with the term, it refers to a German decision to force the use of “green energy” and only “green energy” (which is no such thing, if we’re honest about it) instead of fossil fuels or nuclear power to supply electricity for transportation, household use, municipal facilities, streetlights, etc. Described most accurately, the “Energiewende” is a short-sighted mess of energy policy imbecility whose main architects- including the CDU and not just the Greens or the SPD- are adhering to it with a stubbornness easily and in most cases rightly understood as a kind of fact-proofed ideological fanaticism. Green Party leader Robert Habeck defending the policy debacle against material and economic reality, even as that reality is already giving impetus to mass protests, such as those seen in Leipzig last week.
The German press, is warning already that continued pursuit of the unrealistic policies of the “Energiewende” without more reasonable concession to the financial strain on the populace will likely to lead to even greater unrest in winter (German link). Professor Werner Patzelt, speaking in an interview in Die Welt online, rightly pointed out that the press and the government are not going to be able to blame either the far-left or far-right for such protests. When absolutely everyone sees the results of the decisions made in Berlin on their utility bills, no one will be able to tell them some populist is just making it all up (link to German interview here).Or when the blackouts, which the head of the German Association of Municipalities and Communities, Gerd Landsberg, just called a „given“ in a newspaper interview, do happen. Germany has gas, oil, coal and nuclear power plants it could keep online for a few years longer, but…that wouldn’t suit the “green” ideological aims of the current government. It’s easier, for them anyway, to approve new short-term relief packages for industries and taxpayers than to alter course long-term by adopting an energy policy that embraces an “all of the above” approach and gives technology time to catch up with Germany’s dreams of a greener future. In short, they’re buying people off to buy themselves time to find a better solution.
Pray they do, and soon.
Which means that it is a difficult time to be living here. Certainly, living here now is more difficult, the atmosphere more anxiety-ridden, than any other time I’ve lived in Europe, and I’ve been living here for periods ranging in length from six months to now over seven years since 1990. And that includes the end of the Cold War, the entire Balkan War and the early days of the Global War on Terror. But, not for this life and this world do we have our hope in Christ Jesus. If we take Jesus, Paul, the Prophets and for that matter the whole Bible, Torah to Revelation, seriously, we cannot expect our lives here to be trouble-free afternoons in the park- endless steak, beer and funnel cake. We in the west have certainly gotten used to peace and plenty, but we in the Kingdom of God on earth, while being thankful for the long period of relatively irenic geopolitics and material well-being, must not panic when things move back in the direction of the historical norms of war and privation. We should instead let these times stir up our longing for Christ’s return and our compassion for our neighbors in the months to come.
As for the government in Berlin, pray for them to make better decisions in the near future, and pray that all of us here receive greater patience and wisdom.
As for us, please pray for the new school year, for work with both Reasons to Believe and for Toward Jerusalem Council II as we head into the High Holy Days on the Jewish calendar. We also have our usual shifts in the Gebetshaus this week, so pray that those be guided by the Holy Spirit more than by any prayer leader.
Thank you for supporting our mission(s) here in Germany.
Please do keep Germany and us in your prayers. If you are able to support us with a contribution here, we’d be grateful. It would help keep the lights on, for one.