BreakPoint: Reflections on the Oil Spill


I recently received an email that gave me another perspective on the Gulf oil spill.
The greatest environmental catastrophe in U.S. history seems to be a never-ending nightmare. Ever since the explosion at the Deep Water Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, things seem to have gone from bad to worse. And watching the disaster day to day is heartbreaking: From the lives lost in the explosion, to family livelihoods shattered, to the destruction of wildlife and habitats.

People are angry. Very angry. Angry at BP. Angry at the President and the administration for the way they responded. Environmentalists are angry at the oil companies. Others are angry at environmentalists, who back regulations that force the oil companies to drill in deeper waters.

And, as I found out recently, many are even taking out their frustrations on those who are responding . . . who are trying to contain and clean up the mess.

One of our BreakPoint Centurions sent us an email describing the situation. He’s involved in the clean up efforts. “On two separate occasions,” he writes, “police had to be called out because protesters were attacking the responders who were cleaning the beaches…Responders (These are Coast Guard, EPA, state employees, volunteers). All have been threatened and denied services in some communities along the Gulf.”

While frustration, anger and lashing out, are very human responses to tragedy, I am saddened that some responders are on the receiving end.

So I want to share the thoughts of our Centurion as to why so many of these responders are doing what they do.  Here’s what he wrote, and I hope it inspires you:

“I would humbly suggest,” he writes, “that the responders are demonstrating the God-given commission to be stewards of this world.  The individuals who are responding are putting their lives at risk in the heat…Many of them have gone through a minimum of 40 hours of training (to just be around the oil), and those who are rescuing wildlife have gone through even more training.

“Those who are involved in response are devastated to find dead wildlife and to see the soiled shores and marshes, because they are personally invested in defending and cleansing these precious resources.”

He continues: “When our world was covered with the toxic coating of Sin, Jesus came down into the midst of it to cleanse and restore the world to the way it ought to be.

“I saw a powerful picture today of a pelican being released in a part of Florida that is far from the spill.  It was an amazing and beautiful thing to see this cleansed bird to be free once more.

“At this point,” he concludes, “so many people are numb at the pictures of the devastation . . . but the unappreciated sacrifices that I see each day inspires me and inspires my faith in Christ because I see people sacrificing their time and talents to restore the created order and to defend the birds of the air, fish of the sea and beasts of the field from the very impacts of this deep undersea oil volcano.”

Well, all I can add to that is, “Amen.” As we pray for all those who are suffering loss of life and livelihood as a result of the oil spill, let us remember as well to pray for those men and women who are working so tirelessly to contain and clean up the damage, and to restore God’s beautiful created order.


Gulf Spill: Doubts Over Key BP Oil Well Test
BBC News | July 14, 2010

A Hard Day’s Word on the Front Line of Oil Cleanup
Louis Sahagun | The Los Angeles Times | July 2, 2010

Cleaning Up The Gulf Oil Spill
Michael Torrice | Chemical and Engineering News | May 13, 2010

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