Oil, water, blood, words

I’ve been following the Gulf oil disaster story, and I’m increasingly more horrified by what we’ve done to our world. It’s looking now as if we’re going to be facing the worst case scenario, and that due to damage to the well bore shaft, the entire thing is just going to empty out into the water.

And that’s scary. Tremendously scary to me.

You guys know by now that I’m the kind of person who leaps to a panicked conclusion and then talks herself down from it. You won’t be surprised, therefore, to know my first reaction after reading this article was to remember the Book of Revelation, where the seas turn to blood.

16:1Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go, pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.” 3The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead man, and every living thing in the sea died.

My next reaction (after saying, “Philangelus, get a grip”) was to wonder why the Christian bloggers hadn’t yet taken a (more rational) whack at what was going on in the Gulf of Mexico. Because although I can’t say I have my finger on the pulse of the blogosphere, the blogs I read have been pretty much silent on the matter. But they shouldn’t be.

Because in the Christian view…this world? God gave it to us. God told us to be stewards of the Earth, to take care of it. To subdue it, yes, but also to tend it and make things grow on it and to keep it our home. And instead we’ve done this.

I don’t believe we’re really in the endtimes (f0r several reasons) and I also don’t believe God is punishing us, despite the way lightning struck the oil collection rig yesterday. But I do believe that God allows us to make bad choices and to live with the consequences of those choices.

I don’t have a solution. But the places I’m accustomed to hearing a rallying cry aren’t either crying or rallying.

At the very least, we need to pray. Pray hard that the “doomsday scenario” doesn’t go to completion. Pray for mercy.

Right now none of the fine readers who visit this blog can stop what’s happening in the Gulf of Mexico, but at the very least, we should be talking about it.


  1. cricketB

    I think the scope of the problem is overwhelming. We don’t know what to do. It’s part of the reason young people today don’t vote, and often aren’t even aware of the election issues.

    I’m relieved that there isn’t an outpouring of suggestions from people who don’t understand the conditions that deep under the sea, but you’re right — we should be talking about it.

    We should be doing more for the people of the Gulf.

    We should be pressuring TPTB to stop all drilling until there’s better compliance with the safety requirements.

    The entire deep sea drilling community should share some of the blame. The companies need to inspect each other. People in the industry know which shortcuts are tempting and what is reasonable “common practice”. They should share ideas and safety designs. They’re all going to suffer from this disaster.

    We also need to accept more visible energy sources. This disaster is doing more damage — short and long-term — than a windfarm or solar field ever could.

    1. philangelus

      The second article I linked to, at The Oil Drum, has many industry professionals making suggestions to one another about what might work.

      But among the laypeople, shouldn’t we be voicing our outrage, our sorrow?

      And yeah, those folks who object to wind farms because they’ll destroy their coastal views are going to have a much lovelier view now. 🙁 (Although to be fair, I don’t know how much that happens in the GoM. I know that happens up here on the north eastern seaboard of the USA, though.)

  2. Kate

    I’m actually grateful people aren’t talking about it, because it’s on the front page of my newspaper every day (New Orleans Times-Picayune) and because when people do start talking about it it seems that it is only to use it as a political football against one faction or another. And frankly, the folks affected by it don’t really need that layer of finger-pointing and obfuscation.

    What we could use down here – donations to local charities (the local Catholic Charities has done stellar work in fishing communities here). And lots of prayers that this all gets cleaned up before hurricane season really gets going and that the area is spared any major hurricane hits this season. The only thing I can think of worse than this much oil in the Gulf, is this much oil spun up into a hurricane and dumped on coastal communities and waterways.

    1. philangelus

      Kate, do you have websites or addresses for other local charities that need help right now? Raising awareness is always the first step to raising donations.

      This is what I have for Catholic Charities of New Orleans:

  3. Mary Nicewarner

    My sister mentioned that very same passage from Revelation a few days ago. The magnitude of the oil spill and it’s effects on our ecosystem – frightening to say the least. Do you think the average American is aware of the interdependence of the different organisms on our planet and how far-reaching the effects of this oil spill could be? Most Americans probably have some idea which is likely the reason why BP and the government are being so secretive but it is unlikely that any of us fully realize the impact this will have if they fail to stop it.
    I don’t think the end of time will come in our lifetimes but I think we are in for some rough times and God is “allowing” it for our purification. I believe we are being called “out of Egypt” (slavery to the world) and God is using the results of our sins to bring this about. He doesn’t cause evil (we do that well enough ourselves) but brings good out of it instead. I am interested in seeing what the next ten years will bring. Then again, maybe I’m not.

    What a legacy this world is leaving for it’s children! Or maybe I should say the children that haven’t been aborted.

    You can hit the delete button if you want 🙂

  4. Kate

    I’ve responded to your delphi post with a list of more local charities. That is the correct web address for Catholic Charities. Thank you for caring so much!


  5. Justin D

    Long-time lurker here. I am not exactly certain why I’m posting, as a) I never have before, and b) I’m devoutly agnostic and irreligious…but something motivated me. I apologize to our hostess in advance.

    Anyhow, I had an uber-religious upbringing, where the only thing my kinfolk DIDN’T do was pass around rattlers (and, trust me–they would have been infinitely more awesome if they had). It was drilled into my head, from pretty much the point of my birth, that EVERY terrible thing was a sign of The End Times. Armageddon was going to happen ANY day now…just you wait…!

    But it never, ever did.

    As the decades passed, “event fatigue” set in–it got to the point where, as a teen, I just wished God would get around to bloodying up those seas already. It was exhausting. (Plus, the perverse glee that my supposedly good, charitible, Christian family had for all the impending smiting rubbed me the wrong way.)

    I guess this is my way of saying that the entire End Times phenomenon is part (of many things, but perhaps the primary) of what turned me away from the Christian religion completely.

    That, and the the whole binary aspect of daily events as they apply to Good/Evil.

    Lightning strikes the rig? Obviously, God is showing his wrath.

    But lightning strikes and destroys a giant Jesus statue (Christian Science Monitor, http://tinyurl.com/27mmy3r)? Obviously, The Devil is up to no good.

    Ugh. Gives me a headache.

    I’ll slink back to the ether now.

    1. philangelus

      Justin, good to see you posting! Did you ever see my post about The Bunker? I was raised near a few endtimes folks too, and every year this was The One, and every sign pointed toward some sort of horror about to happen. It wasn’t until I went to college and came back after the first semester that I realized talking to these people filled me with fear. Specifically an unhealthy fear, not the healthy fear you get when looking at the moldy meat in the back of the fridge, but more like the kind of fear you have when you’re living with something angry, unpredictable and uncontrollable. It did mess up my perception of God for a while. That’s exactly why I had to tell myself to get a grip when I first thought about the Revelation stuff.

      You might also like my Phases of Christian post, where I talked about the people who are sitting around gleefully waiting for God to come beat up everyone who disagrees with them.) I agree, it’s really off-putting. Jesus said he didn’t come into the world to condemn it, so why would people who follow him want him to come back just to condemn it? In true charity, we shouldn’t want ANYONE to suffer, ANYONE to go to Hell. Right? (Right.)

      But I do believe that when a group of engineers and company executives decided to cut corners in a dangerous way in order to make a billion dollars more per year when their company was already earning something to the tune of $75 million a day, that God would let them (and the rest of the country) suffer the consequences of those actions in such a way that we have an opportunity to re-examine our lives and figure out what led to such wanton disrespect for nature, for people’s lives, and for the world in general. If only we’ll listen and consider.

  6. Justin D

    Sorry. The question mark screwed up my CSM link.