Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Reflection: Oil and Repentance

Take a moment to view the images of human loss and environmental destruction caused by the explosion of the Deepwater Explorer oil platform . Who is to blame? I am, and you are, and we are, all of us together. There are many obvious ways in which we are complicit: we use -- and use extravagantly -- the petroleum-based products such an enterprise produces and we want them at the lowest possible cost, even at the cost of safety; we work in the oil industry or in subsidiaries made possible and profitable by the industry; we elevate energy independence to the level of national security and wage political and economic warfare over the issue; and so on.

But our guilt and complicity run far deeper still. We are -- individually and collectively -- the fallen image bearers of God. Our fallenness, our sin -- individually and collectively --is responsible for a humanity curved inward on itself through greed, self-interest, power and domination. Our sin -- individually and collectively -- has subjected all nature to a futilty under which it groans for release. In short, I have and you have and we have, all of us together, produced a world in which such disasters are not only possible but inevitable. It is a terrible dilemma for which the only answer is Jesus Christ -- crucified and risen -- and the only course of action is repentance.

Let the engineers and scientists look for technical solutions for the immediate problem. Let the politicians debate legislation to reduce the likelihood of future disasters. Let the lawyers assess criminal and civil responsibility. But let all God's people fall on their knees and cry continually: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

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