Tag Archives: Sin

How do you pray about an oil spill?

Today is the 45th celebration of Earth Day.  Monday of this week was the fifth anniversary of the worst environmental disaster in US history, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  The damage to the Gulf was more severe and longer lasting than even the pessimists predicted:

Cynthia Sarthou, executive director of Gulf Restoration Network, says that after five years, there are more questions than answers about what the lingering impact of the spill means.

“Dolphin deaths continue, oil is still on the bottom of the ocean, tar balls keep coming up,” she says. “And nobody really is able to say what we may find in five years, 10 years. It’s really distressing to me.”

Sarthou says there’s no certainty the spill won’t be a problem for generations to come. (NPR)

So, five years after this disaster, and 45 years after the nation started trying to do something about this kind of thing, we ask again, “How long?”   Below is a repost of one of our original commentaries on the oil spill from May 20, 2010.  The oil well had been gushing for a month already, and we asked:

How do you pray about an oil spill?

It’s a legitimate question:  The news is getting worse by the day for those of us many miles away, and no doubt by the hour for those living in the area of impact.  This morning we learned that some experts believe the amount of oil leaking may be much more than even the revised estimate of 5,000 barrels per day. More worrisome than that, there is now real concern that the oil may join the Gulf stream ocean current, which would send it around the tip of Florida and all the way up the East Coast of the United States, staining beaches and killing wildlife as it goes. Continue reading

A Better Earth Day?

Originally posted April 23rd, 2010.  We’re coming up on another Earth Day…how will you celebrate it?


courtesy Thomas Schneider
courtesy Thomas Schneider

Pastor Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor of University Reformed Church in East Lansing MI has posted some comments on how Christians can celebrate Earth Day “better”  over at his blog. This is a response to that post.

While I appreciate Pastor DeYoung’s sincere desire to “build a Christian foundation” (his very good image) under the concept of Earth Day, the ‘bricks’ he is using to build that foundation, most of which were purchased somewhat uncritically from Jay Richard’s Environmental Stewardship in the Judeo-Christian Tradition, could have been baked a little longer.

Here are his ‘bricks’ and my thoughts in response: Continue reading

People aren’t the only ones who are hungry now

Originally published March 14, 2009.

As you can imagine, my job has me reading a lot of disturbing reports about all aspects of the environmental crisis.  Though I do my best to keep things upbeat here on Our Father’s World and in my presentations, sometimes a story will sneak  up and grab me from behind.

Great Nurse Shark – (Flickr Creative Commons License)

Like this one:

In Canada, scientists said Atlantic cod in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are becoming skinny because they are having more trouble finding reliable sources of small prey like capelin. In Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, striped bass are turning up emaciated because of shrinking supplies of herring and anchovies. Continue reading

Black Friday and a very good Friday

Originally posted Nov. 29, 2011.  Not much has changed, except that stores are now starting their Black Friday sales at 6 pm on Thanksgiving.

Last Friday was  “Black Friday”, when the world goes crazy over shopping.  There was a lot of controversy in the days leading up to the event concerning stores opening not at 5 am, not at 4 am, not even at midnight, but as early as 10 pm the evening of Thanksgiving.  This controversy was misguided.  The issue should not have been Black Friday “invading” Thanksgiving’s time slot, but Black Friday happening at all… As for me, my experience of Black Friday was different and unexpectedly blessed. What did I do on Black Friday?  I went to a funeral.  

I am an incurable news-addict, so I suppose it’s my own fault that I had heartburn before breakfast on Black Friday.  I woke up to a story from the Los Angeles Times that many of you probably saw in some form sometime during the weekend:

Matthew Lopez went to the Wal-Mart in Porter Ranch on Thursday night for the Black Friday sale but instead was caught in a pepper-spray attack by a woman who authorities said was “competitive shopping.” Continue reading

Meditation on The Goodness of Creation

Cedar Campus in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, one of the best places to hear the heartbeat of God's creation. Author's photo.
Cedar Campus in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, one of the best places to hear the heartbeat of God’s creation. Author’s photo.

I grew up in a wee church in rural Wisconsin, and one of the community grandmother figures to me was Sara Smith.  I know I have a good friend in Sara, because today she sent me a card in the mail and included a little bulletin that she thought I would enjoy.  It’s from the Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church in St. Paul, and seems like an ordinary worship bulletin.  But I’m amazed at Continue reading

A Church, a Smartphone and a Sin that has to stop

2014-09-23 13.13.36A church stands silent, hiding in the woods, surrounded by leaning, moss-covered gravestones, as it has for almost a thousand years. I use my ever-present smartphone to snap pictures of this monument to an ancient faith that still guides my own life. As I seek to capture the mood of the place, I am struck by the juxtaposition of time frames that I am experiencing. The device in my hand, one of the latest Android devices, was only invented a few years ago, and will likely be obsolete and useless within two or three more. Everything about my life changes in a year, often even more quickly, but this place has stood for centuries and will likely be here for centuries more.

The contrast between a church a thousand years old and the smartphone that will last less than two is jarring and disturbing.

Let me explain… Continue reading