The petrol crisis is on the Conference agenda, and the great theme, pushed strongly by the Tabloids, is listening to the people. This is obviously a very good thing. In any democracy people ought to be listened to. Yet, it leaves the people a big responsibility. We have to make sure what we say is carefully thought through, and not merely thoughtless.
So how should we think about pricing petrol?
So, thought could lead to the conclusion that the best course is to allow the price to go up, preferably more by taxation than through the suppliers' market power. And with a bit more thought we could decide that, because oil is a precious resource and you can't run your car on coal dust, stewardship of God's creation requires us to guard it with a high price. That way, there will be some left for our children and grandchildren.
All of this is thought, not difficult, but thought none the less. And Thought for the Day is committed to thought.
There's a passage in the New Testament where Jesus has a go at thoughtlessness. He says,
'Look, when you see a cloud rising in the West, immediately you say, 'It's going to rain' and it does. You know how to interpret the weather. So how come you don't know how to interpret the present time?'
His answer is not because people can't, but because they won't. His listeners were so caught up in the present that they couldn't think about God or future judgement. And today, if we won't think through the price of petrol, we're probably not going to be strong on the bigger issues of life, either. Now, unlike Jesus, I have no divine authority, and these views on petrol are only my thoughts. But I am part of the people, so I'll toss them in. And thanks for listening.