WEMBLY STADIUM–Today a new religion splashed across the planet, quickly outnumbering all ancient and ineffective rivals. Welcome to Live Earthism.
An overstatement? Consider the following:
** In a Kabbalistic alignment, 2 billion people across the planet, on all 7 continents, were brought together–an ingathering of sparks–on 7.7.07. (How lucky is that?) True, the date relates to the non-Jewish calendar. But a good Kabbalist knows that it was also the seventh day of creation, the Sabbath.
** The opening act–I kid you not–was Genesis, of course, with Phil Collins on the lead mike. And out of the chaos below the stage, in the swarm of people, came order, when hands and lips synchronized to the music. And it was evening and it was morning, First Act.
** If you recently saw the movie Evan Almighty, a Noah story rip-off with great biblical and political relevance and super family fun–you would know that following the great Flood, God promises humanity that never again will she flood the planet and wipe out creation. And, just to make the point stick, a rainbow appears above the ark in the sky to symbolize the new covenant. While God promises never to reflood the earth, the Torah does not say that the earth would not be flooded by others. Indeed, one of the dangers of global warming is the melting of the poles and the rising sea levels, which would flood much of the earth. This flood is being caused by humanity, not God. Wembly is a magnificant stadium, recently redone. Most of the seating is covered high above, but there is a huge rectangle opening in the ceiling so that the field is bathed in sunlight. Above it, with cables holding up the ceiling, is a huge, white, metal arch–a bow above the Live Earth concert.
** Live Earthism is closer to Judaism than to Christianity and it uses Torah-ish language and models. The central characteristic of Christianity is the importance of belief and belief in the next world. Judaism is so about this life, about everyday actions and belief is very secondary. Live Earth is not about belief; it is all about action.
** One of the early defining characteristics of Judaism was its system of laws to create a just society. The Mishnah is divided into six tractates with lots of practical debate and laws in each realm. Live Earth put forward six tractates today and within each one is a wide range of actions to be taken. 1) At Home; 2) On the Job; 3) Leadership; 4) Shopping; 5) Transport; and 6) Community. Then there are helpful tips within each one how to live differently, a life filled with purpose linked to the consciouness of others and in the pursuit of life. And nothing to do with eternal life or after life. It is all about living in this world, in this reality.
** The central two phrases of Live Earth mirror the first encounter between Abraham and God. “Abraham, Abraham.” “Hineini, I am here” answers the patriarch, in a revolutionary tight dialogue that changes humanity and morality forever. Madonna, who I will write about more below, released for Live Earth a great new song and music video. After each public service ad–all done really well–in the stadium, a short clip from her new song serves as the final punctuation to each point made. “Hey, you,” she calls out. Changing the world is infinately personal according to Live Earthism. And across all the screens, in all the literature, in many of the short speeches, in the videos–everywhere–the follows words appeared, with first letters capitalized: Answer The Call. Heneini.
** Speaking of Madonna. Even before the program came out on-line with the order of performers, readers of Peoplehood.org would have guessed that she was the last act. Not only because she is Madonna. But because Esther doesn’t perform on Shabbat. The Foo Fighters had a relatively long song set since they had to burn up time for three stars to appear.
** Havdallah. And, just before her appearance, an eloquent speaker told the audience that the lights would go out for a minute in the stadium. (All the energy for the concert was produced by green suppliers; very impressive). “May the darkness bring enlightenment” said the speaker. And it was glorious. The lights went out, except for small emergency lights along the perimeter. Who Separates Light from Darkness. Spices? Just then a heavy whiff of marajana floated past me and the three girls (Aliza, Hallel and a friend). Who Makes All Manner of Spices. And then, a lone spotlight, centerstage, pin-points on the empty state from directly Above. A blond figure wearing black against her white skin stands under the light. And when it was clear it was Madonna, across the darkened crowd thousands of stars beeped on, as everyone with a cell phone and camera went to capture the moment.
** Live Earthism has its prophets, Al Gore and Kevin Wall, the founder of Live Earth. (anyone know if he’s a MOT?) But if it has its prophets, it also has its high priest, and Madonna fit the bill. After the “Hey, you!” song and video, she delivered out of the darkness a hard-rock version of–you guessed it–”A Ray of Light.” Brilliant. And the only prayer of the evening she uttered. “We need to thank Al Gore and Kevin Wall for the wake up call…this needs to be starting an avalanch of awareness that we are running out of time. May this concert and the concerts around the world be not just entertainment but starting a revolution.” And then she said, “Amen.”
** Will work. Live Earthism is highly personalized (send an SMS and receive suggestions), idealistic and empowering (”you can change the world”), expresses spirituality and values through mainstream and popular music, has a 7 part pledge (written by Al G.), is highly relevant to the world around us and is highly sexualized.
** Sex. No Catholic guilt here. Among the popular suggestions to save water was to bath together. And then to shower together. And then the Pussycat Dolls pounced on stage, with their megawatt clevage and smiles. They meowed: “Undo My Buttons, Babe”, which charitably was either a response to global warming, or, more likely, one of its causes. Fergie and the Black Eyed Peas didn’t
do anything to cool down the audience. In fact, it was the Beautiful People worshipped in the magazines preaching Live Earthism for nine hours.
** Lucifer. Every religion needs a foil to help define what it is not. The Devil certainly made an appearance, and I’m not talking about Metalica’s gig. An inimated short invited Live Earthers to join with Satan to leave lights on, shop indiscriminately, and undertake all sorts of other sins of our current lifestyle. Very effective.
** Apocolypse when? Many religions have an End of the World scenario. Live Earthers buy into that one. We have ten years to turn it around. Two years to have nations sign a new treaty cutting down carbon emissions by 90%. For all the gloom and doom, the message is that the 2 billion people gathered in person, in front of their computers or by their televisions, or in the 10,000 local events today, that we can turn it around. That The End is not inevitable. Repent by changing basic actions. Like the Rebbe’s approach to Jews who may have strayed: little by little, the key is the direction, without negative judgment.
Oh, have I got lots more. But it’s past 2am and I’ve got to get some sleep before returning to the U.S. and then returning with the rest of the family to Israel by Wed. night.