The Common Good

Who Can Throw the First Stone at BP? None of Us.

100525-bp-oily I don't know the personal, spiritual ground of those who created the situation that has become the BP oil spill disaster. I know, however, that I am in no position to "throw the first stone." My style and standard of living cries for oil wells to be built.

This catastrophe raises the question of whether I am glorifying and relating obediently and worshipfully with the One who created everything I see, hear, touch, and smell. Have I stuck my head so far into the sand that I cannot budge from my self-serving practices?

While I stand convicted of my own shortcomings, the BP disaster dramatically represents the sinful, human tendency to put our own personal (or corporate) desires ahead of our Creator's treasured handiwork. I believe we were all created with a purpose to use our gifts and abilities to glorify our Creator, and this can be expressed by treasuring everything that the Master treasures. We are created in God's image (Genesis 1:27); thus our dominion must reflect the nurturing, sustaining character of the One who has knitted the universe together and breathed life into every living thing, rather than reflecting an overbearing parasite that sucks the life out of everything that might serve us. Additionally, Jesus taught that a good steward takes care of her master's belongings in a manner that will please the master and not in a manner that makes the steward feel good or brings the steward personal gain (Luke 12:43-48; 19:11-26; Matthew 25:14-30). So we must love our neighbors, love our enemies, and love all that God made and declared to be "good."

If loving and serving is our purpose, I think we must consider whether our response concerning the BP oil spill disaster is about glorifying God or about building a tower for ourselves.

Mark Johnson is the chair of the Creation Care Task Force of the Florida Conference United Methodist Church.

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