I’ll Take Joan of Arc

604px-Joan_of_Arc_on_horsebackWho in the world is Greta Thunberg?

That probably seems like a silly question. After all, she is Time Magazine’s “person of the year”. That makes her famous and important.

Basically, she is a 16-year-old Swedish female who has become the voice and face of those who believe mankind is causing the climate to change and the world will end in a few short years.

At one extreme, some folks see her as the environmental version of St. Joan of Arc. At the other end of the spectrum, some folks believe she is a smarty-mouthed brat who ought to go home and study a little math and chemistry. In the service of honesty, I admit I’m more in the latter camp.

The Pope thinks Greta is wonderful and the Vatican has praised her message of environmental concern. President Trump has a less enthusiastic opinion and has subjected the young Swede to a few inflammatory Tweets.

Whether you think what Greta has to say has merit or not, there is something terribly wrong with our society where a girl’s parents, the media, church leaders, and the United Nations raise her to the status of an international icon. It is the political version of making someone a child movie star – except this is a young person without talent beyond getting in the face of the establishment.

The “person of the year” thing might be confusing to some folks.  After all, isn’t gaining that title a good thing? Perhaps, but the choice – made by some senior editor at the magazine – is really just a tribute to the biggest “newsmaker” of the year, the person who caused the most commotion (good or bad).

I looked at the list of everyone who received the recognition since 1927; there are some impressive people on the list…Charles Lindbergh, Winston Churchill, Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan, and a couple Popes.

There also are people who caused the world nothing but trouble: Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Ayatullah Khomeini.

There are 10 people on the list who drew a complete blank from my college-educated mind, suggesting that even for the person of the year fame is fleeting.

Unless I missed someone on Time’s list, Greta is the youngest to receive the title and one of only a few women. However, unlike the rolls of the magazine, the Christian catalog of saints includes a vast number of women, many of them quite young when they made their mark for the faith. Two of my favorites that come to mind are Saint Lucy of Syracuse and Saint Therese of Lisieux.

Of course, Saint Joan of Arc was a teen when she raised an army, fought battles, and was burned at the stake. I’m sure Greta would deplore the carbon emissions from the fire.

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