Last week Ed Brown, director of Care of Creation, Inc. posted How Do You Pray About an Oil Spill? Below is an excerpt which my wife and I, found particularly helpful for the direction of our prayers. Note: in the context of Daniel’s prayer of confession as recorded in Daniel 9.
From today’s New York Times:
“In the furor over the Gulf disaster, a hard-to-overlook fact: America needs the oil.”
As an individual, I do my part to feed our oil- and coal-driven economy by pumping gas into my car, by burning electric lights and using all kinds of oil-derived plastics to sustain my “lifestyle”. As do you. (You are reading this on a computer screen… enough said). Collectively, we have created an economic and political system that cannot run without these fossil fuels, and we bear collective guilt for this. Yes, guilt. We could have designed an economic system that would have functioned in harmony with God’s creation rather than in opposition to it. We did not. We are guilty.
Over the past several days, I have been struck by how the oil spill is an example of research and development reaching its in the field limits. The deep exploration tested boundaries with unexpected consequences. Could more university research (before going to the field) modeled these potential consequences and adverted the current situation? Do we really have a grasp on how to accurately track the spill (e.g., 5/9 NPR Piece with Widget and comments)?
Will the oil spill be capped, if so how?* Or will we have to wait until it runs dry? Who should be leaned upon for the best recommendations regarding next steps in addressing the spill (short and long term)? Will the incident discourage similar exploration or encourage a chastened pursuit to get it right?
Is there a point at which our society should choose, even become satisfied with less? In what ways do followers of possess the beginning of a framework for saying No to our consumer orientation and harnessing our creative efforts in order fulfill the call to care for/steward God’s creation? More on these topics coming, but would love to read your thoughts. …
Recommendations regarding next steps:
- Read How Do You Pray About an Oil Spill?
- Gather some friends to pray on the National Day of Prayer for Creation Care (May 25).
Encourage further conversation on the oil spill and pick up a copy of Our Father’s World: Mobilizing the Church to Care for Creation (InterVarsity Press) for summer reading as an individual or part of discussion group. Note: The new Our Father’s World is about 20% longer, with updated material, several new chapters and a discussion guide suitable for small groups or Sunday School classes.
- Ask around to see if there is interest in hosting Our Father’s World: Why Christians Should Care about the Environmental Crisis to explore these questions further. Note: Ed shared with me that the weekend seminar can be done with a student/campus focus. I’ve desired to arrange a seminar for several years, if you’re in the Mid-Atlantic and have interest in partnering, let me know. For more information, visit here and/or email ed [at] careofcreation.org.
*[BP deploys second containment box (CNN Wire Staff, 5/12). Picture linked from article.]
About the author:
Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the Northeast Regional Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). For a number of years, the Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine was the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!