Tag Archives: oil spill

” you can’t plant me in your penthouse…”

” …I’m goin back to my plow” ~ Elton John.

No….as of now I am supposed to be in Florida. And frankly, Florida summers totally suck. Endless humidity with the ever-present threat of those named storms paying a visit to our coast. And THIS summer, the Gulf is besieged with the fallout from that OIL SPILL.

The latest news is that Beach Polluters have capped the gushing hole in the bottom of the Gulf. I hope & pray that these reports are true but frankly cannot & shall not believe anything coming from that company’s spokespeople.

Summers here in Florida always render me * very* homesick for my Appalachian foothills. Last weekend I attended a family wedding in Rome, Georgia & was delighted just to set my gaze on the foothills of the mountains .

As much as I am not a fan of summers here in Florida, I * know* that my being here in this{ hot & humid} place at this particular time in my life is all part of God’s plan. Yet I remain thankful for central air conditioning all while struggling with the reality of Beach Polluters’ stranglehold on the energy market in the United States.

Tending to your own flock….

“Tend to the flock of your own community, for we are not saved as individuals.”++ Katharine Jefferts-Schori Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church[ { _ Gospel in the Global Village_ pg 86}

This quote comes from a speech on leadership that ++ Katharine Jefferts-Schori gave to a gathering of bishops in England in 2008 shortly after the Church of England’s synod voted to start the process of  women being included in the episcopate  in the Church Of England.

 As this oil spill crisis  continues literally near my backyard, I cannot help but consider the effects of good & poor leadership.  Here on the U.S Gulf Coast, we have seen little response from the big shots in Washington DC &  surprisingly little from Florida’s governor.  But the last time I was over on the beach near where I live, I must have seen nearly one hundred people walking along the beach looking to remove any trace of oil. Now I cannot be sure if these individuals are  among those hired by the ” enemy{ BP} or are  unpaid volunteers  but regardless of how they got there I must applaud their efforts to keep our local beaches  clean. 

Mission begins at home, whether it be  working in the 100-degree summer heat to clean up beaches in Northwest Florida or donating time to tutor  underprivileged children in one of America’s inner cities.

Charity begins at home & I am really put-off by all the celebrities who willingly jump on the  metaphorical bandwagon to aid  other nations in crisis yet fail to even  issue statements  regarding a crisis here in our own great nation.  Of course it is good for us to help those in need in far-away lands but when a crisis hits our own nation, should  not be the care of our own people be our number-one concern? I am old enough to remember the wonderful work that the celebrity-led  USA For Africa organization did to raise funds & awareness  for the famine victims in Africa in the 1980’s.  My question to Hollywood is: Why not start a USA for The Gulf Coast benefit?  Real, hard-working people are hurting financially  here &  neither the US government nor BP has come through on promises  to help those hit hardest by the economic fallout from the oil spill.

50 days with KJS: Day 3

Day 3: Collective Memory

{Mark 22-25}

That  section of The Gospel of Mark is my favorite  of all the stories in which Our Lord institutes the Lord’s Supper.  Jesus says:

“While they were eating he { Jesus} took a piece of bread, and after blessing it, broke it, have it to them & said ‘Take, eat this is my body. Then he took a cup, & after giving thanks he gave it to them and all of them drank from it. He said to them ‘ This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many….”

 Bishop Katharine, in today’s sermonette sermonette, says that the verb ” to remember” has a far deeper meaning for we Christians.  She says that by the act of gathering together at the Table to receive Eucharist we  ” re-member” all of Christ’s Body.  Think about it. When we come forward to receive Eucharist, we Catholic Christians kneel or stand beside our siblings-in-Christ who can hold different world views, be of another race or sexual orientation,  be well-off or in financial need, both male & female, young children  & the elderly.

SHe says that  the sacramental act of gathering at the Communion table for Eucharist is an act  in which we see a glimpse of  ” Shalom. I agree with her .   My former Protestant tradition  only celebrates Communion   sporadically & they do * not* believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist as we do{ therefore, dear low-Church friends, we Anglican Christians are NOT PROTESTANT! But that discussion is neither here nor there}

Bishop Katharine says

” Remembering is about the truths of our faith as well as making the possibilities real now  in the future.”

 When we go forward to receive Eucharist, we  become part of something that is so much bigger than any of us, or even our Church.  At choir practice on Wednesday evening my parish choir practiced a gorgeous  hymn  entitled _ In Remembrance of Me_  The words  are something like this

” In remembrance of Me/ feed the poor/ In remembrance of Me/ heal the sick”

 As Christians of any  denomination, we are called to live out our faith  by helping those who  are needy.  Someone { and I cannot remember who} once told me that the word Eucharist  comes from the Greek word for THANKSGIVING.  THis same person also  said that we are not only called to  receive Eucharist on a regular basis but also to BE Eucharist.

 As the  effects of the floods in Tennessee continue to  spread heartbreak among the people there, as the looming oil spill  creeps closer to US Gulf beaches, as millions of Americans  deal with the reality of an economic  downturn, let us re-member that we are all welcome at God’s Table, even & perhaps especially those who  feel hopeless , alone or despondent.

Amen.

50 days with KJS: Day 2

Day 2: Tending to The Wounded Body Of Christ

 We live in a hopless age….the most recent environmental distaster we hface on the US Gulf Coast  brings to the front of my mind the hoplessness that many feel. We  cannot fathom how such a terrible thing can occur right here  on the shores of some of the most beautiful beaches on Earth.

But Bishop Katharine reminds us that our hope comes from knowing tha the God of Israel is the same God WHo delivered the people from slavery in Egypt. This is the same God Who loved humanity so much that God sent the only Son to live, teach , die & eventually be raised from the dead in atonement for our sins. God loves us…all of us.

God even loves the executives of BP{ and yes…I am * really* struggling with that concept right now…my own woundedness does NOT want to make room for rich BP execs who are the catalyst  for this disaster.

Let me focus on the Incarnation: God coming to Earth in the form of one Jewish rabbi in the first-century Middle Eastern world.

Jesus’ message is one about inclusive love. His early followers were men{ and  most-likely some women!} who were not men of exceptional intellect, wealth or even good moral character.  Jesus chose the first disciples from among  average men in His community & these individuals trusted  Him enough to abandon their livelihoods &  Follow Him as He  brough the message of hope & salvation.

Bishop Katharine  says that each person is valuable in God’s  view & it is up to we 21st century Christian disciples to   find the worth in every human being & invite him or her to use their God given gifts to further spread the Kingdom of God  in the here & now.

Let me return to the current oil spill crisis  here on the Florida Gulf Coast. What might you & I be called to do to  be better stewards of God’s Creation? Perhaps we are  called to save resources on gasoline by using public transportation or carpooling to work or school?  Maybe we can alter our use of electricity by keeping the thermostat at a level that uses less power.  This oil spill crisis  has & will would those of us living on the Gulf Coast, but it is often during these  painful times that folks most need  we Christians to reach out to them in the spirit of unconditional love? 

Finally, we can reach out in prayer for the  people at the top of the BP corporate  ladder…those very people who earn a lot of money from  American’s addiction to oil products. God loves rich oil executives, too.