catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 12, Num 8 :: 2013.04.12 — 2013.04.25


Enough already

Editor’s Note: On Saturday, March 30, 2013, a group gathered at the Hermitage Community in Three Rivers, Michigan to express lament and hope around the impending construction of a new crude oil pipeline through the Hermitage property.  At the same time, a group gathered on another section of the pipeline in Gretna, Manitoba.  This writing and the other pieces in this issue of catapult were presented as part of the service or created in response.

We gather here today on this Holy Saturday to express our sorrow, our grief, our disappointment, our regret, our anger over the death sentence given to this and neighboring lands to prepare a path for yet another petroleum pipeline.

And we need to listen to these feelings whatever they may be, to hear what they have to teach us.  I do not presume to know any or all of your individual concerns, but I have a sense of some of our corporate angst that brings us here to mourn.  At a time of loss, we so often ask, “Why?”

Why will this grievous gash to Mother Earth occur in this, our sacred space?  And why again, we ask?  Hasn’t this particular piece of property already given of itself for the original pipeline?  Why are companies allowed to dig and drill when too often they have not demonstrated safe practices, as occurred with the poorly managed spill that spoiled the land and water and flora and fauna to the east of here on this very pipeline?  Why do corporations continually risk damaging fragile ecosystems to obtain and transport more fossil fuels?  Why are they so handsomely compensated for this work that strips both animal and human communities of many valuable resources, including the beauty of wilderness?   Why are we, who are really only a minority in the world, facing all of this, and in this place that has provided us with retreat and solace?  

We shout, “Enough already!”  And we ask, “How long will these unsustainable practices continue?”

As long as we strive to see the “spills” or errors of others’ ways and fail to grasp the “gush” of oil in our own ways of living, we are doomed to repeat these unhealthy habits.  As a nation, we seek political power and horsepower, both of which run on oil and deeply affect how we relate to others with whom we share this planet.  We complain regularly about the price of gasoline, but we are blind to the true cost of our lifestyles.  The love of oil has caused the deaths of humans via war and harm to air, water and soil, impacting the animals and vegetation with which we share this earth.  We North Americans are a minority of the world’s population, yet we use a greater proportion of the earth’s resources than our brothers and sisters in other places.  And as other nations attempt to become more developed, as we euphemistically say, we are critical of these nations for what we have been doing for so very long.  And to add persistent insult to pervasive injury, many of us profit from personal portfolios invested in fossil fuel and/or the investments of the institutions (colleges, churches, foundations, etc.) to which we are attached. 

We are grimy from the overuse and abuse of the Creator’s gifts to us.  We deceive ourselves when we think that it is better to have a pipeline, power plant or polluting production facility in someone else’s backyard.  We are not living simply so that others may simply live.  We are harming our very children whom we claim to love and see regularly, to say nothing of the millions of other children whom we never see. 

While we seek publicity in all the ways available to us in this digital age, we have not spoken regularly and publicly about our complicity in promoting a petroleum-rich life.  We do not see how our riches and desire for more separate us from others here and around the world, with whom we were created to be in community and with whom we are to be stewards of our home, the earth.  We are so easily bought that when a major corporation buys an advertisement purporting their care for the environment, we do not do our homework to follow up on that claim.  We worship speed in all forms: fast cars, fast food, fast internet, all of which run on fossil fuel.  And yet, despite the speed, we are still too busy to take the time to face where this metaphorical drug called “speed” has taken us.   And finally, that speed impacts this space, the very space set aside for us to be quiet and reflective.      

We are individually and corporately broken and barren and embattled and embittered and embarrassed.

We have questioned, “How long?”  We have shouted, “Enough already!”

We come now weeping for the wounds that we have witnessed.  We come now writhing with shame for the wounds we have inflicted on this planet and all of her inhabitants, including ourselves.  We come now seeking healing for these wounds of body, mind and spirit, and air, water and land.  We ask for healing, a moment at a time, so that we may move forward at a respectful pace, living with consideration for all of creation. 

Let us now join hands, as a sign of our corporate complicity, and whisper to ourselves what we individually have done and what we individually have left undone.  Let us grasp hands, bow our heads and hearts, and whisper our words of confession. 

 Holy Spirit, take our whispered words and wounded hearts, cleanse them by your eternal Grace, and breathe a new spirit within us, among us and through all of creation so that even as we presently mourn, we look forward in hope to a new day.

Let the people say: “AMEN.”

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