addict

Tim Kumfer 08-12-2011

If the United States is a fossil fuel addict, then the Alberta tar sands are our next big fix.

The tar sands contain the largest oil reserves in North America and their extraction has been called "the most destructive project on earth". The proposed Keystone XL Pipeline would carry oil from the tar sands down to Texas refineries, making it available for our consumption and pushing a turn to green energy sources even further down the road.

Borrowing wisdom from the twelve step program pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous, theologian Ched Myers contends that addiction -- "the inability to say no because of captivity to pathological desires" -- names our spiritual and cultural condition. Perhaps nowhere is this clearer than in the case of fossil fuels.

Nadia Bolz-Weber 07-18-2011

Crossphoto © 2004 Phil Whitehouse | more info (via: Wylio)Even I can't help admitting that there is a bunch of stuff in the Bible that's hard to relate to. A lot has changed in the last 2,000 to 4,000 years, and I have no form of reference for shepherds and agrarian life, and I don't know what it's like to have a king or a Caesar, and I don't know a single fisherman, much less a centurion, and I guess I can't speak for all of you but personally I've never felt I might need to sacrifice a goat for my sins. That's the thing about our sacred text being so dang old -- it can sometimes be difficult to relate to. Things have changed a bit over the millennia.

But one thing has not changed even a little bit is the human condition. Parts of the Bible can feel hard to relate to until you get to a thing like this reading from Romans 7, in which Paul says, "I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do."

Finally. Something I can relate to. This I know about. I too do not understand my own actions. I too can't manage to consistently do what I know is right. Paul's simple description of the human condition is perhaps a most elegantly put definition of what we now call addiction.

It's no secret that I am a recovering alcoholic. By the grace of God I have been clean and sober for more than 19 years. But, boy, do I remember that feeling of powerlessness that comes from not being able to control your drinking. I'd wake up each morning and have a little talk with myself: "OK Nadia, get it together. Today is going to be different. You just need a little will power." Then, inevitably, later that day I'd say, "Well, just one drink would be OK," or, "I'll only drink wine and not vodka," or, "I'll drink a glass of water between drinks so that I won't get drunk." And sometimes it worked, but mostly it didn't. In the end, my will was just never "strong enough" Like Paul, I did the thing I hated. But that's addiction for you. It's ugly. Yet on some level I feel like we recovering alcoholics and drug addicts have it easy. I mean, our addictions are so obvious. The emotional, spiritual, and physical wreckage caused by alcoholism and drug addiction has a certain conspicuousness to it.

Evan Trowbridge 04-15-2011

A quilt hangs in the dining and fellowship hall of Christ House, a medical facility for homeless women and men in Washington, D.C. The patches in the quilt tell the story of its creator, a former resident at Christ House

Randy Woodley 07-07-2010
At the same time oil is spewing from the ocean floor in the Gulf of Mexico, some politicians are already calling for more drilling, accompanied
Jim Wallis 06-17-2010
This week, in President Barack Obama's Oval Office speech on the oil spill, he used the term "mission." That's the right word.
Rabbi Arthur Waskow 06-10-2010
The brazen chutzpah of Big Oil and Big Coal is amazing.
Jim Wallis 05-13-2010
My mother taught her children never to "toot our own horn." So last year, when Sojourners became the first publication ever (so far as I know) to win the best general interest magazine awa
Ernesto Tinajero 04-30-2010
The defenses that Goldman Sachs execs gave to this week's Senate hearings for their actions were full of emotion and denial. They claimed shock that anyone could question their actions.
Juan Daniel Espitia 03-18-2010

An immigrant woman's testimony, as told to Juan Daniel Espitia, a pastor in Solana Beach, California.

Cathleen Falsani 02-26-2010

Apart from the Dalai Lama, who reportedly had never heard of him until earlier this week, Tiger Woods is the most famous Buddhist on the planet.

But until Woods invoked his Buddhist identity during a televised mea culpa for cheating on his wife and a spectacular fall from grace, like most of his fans, I had no idea the golfer was a follower of the Eight Fold Path.

Cathleen Falsani 01-22-2010

We love a redemption story.

The profound appeal of rags-to-riches-to-rags-to-riches or the fall-from-grace-followed-by-a-spectacular-comeback is about as ingrained in our American psyche (and soul) as rooting for the underdog, generosity to those in distress, and second chances.

LaVonne Neff 11-17-2009
I'm a cradle vegetarian. Didn't have even a bite of meat -- red or white, fish or fowl -- until I was maybe eleven years old, and then I lost my dietary virginity to a hot dog.
Sheron Patterson 10-28-2009

I am excited about the Justice Revival because it brings the lowly center stage, and we all can be blessed by them. Romans 12:15-16 tells us, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly."

Lisa Sharon Harper 06-30-2009
I stepped up to the automatic sliding doors, but they didn't open. I knocked. The guard recognized me, waved, and the South Bronx-based special care facility opened arms of welcome.
Alan Bean 04-15-2009
American Violet, a Hollywood blockbuster that opens in theaters next week, tells the story of Regina Kelly, one of the people rounded up in a T

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