Sunday, June 06, 2010

last days: deepwater horizon take 2

Deepwater horizon, blog take one: oil and water

oil spill day 48: Sunday, 06 June 2010. 31 May completed the biblical number of 40 days…

nature conservancy

The photographs of oil-soaked waterfowl are unbearable to view; they reinforce that without any doubt Obama's presidency will be marked by, possibly solely remembered by, an epic environmental disaster over which he had no control. No one can unwind time, though conventional wisdom and common sense says some of us might be able to consider and examine what has gone wrong, learn from it and use the knowledge to help make a different future that's not an endless recycling of the same behaviors and outcomes. A couple years back someone in a bible study I'd been attending and sometimes facilitated suggested "end times" as a possible study topic. People who hold onto the worldview of conservative evangelicalism typically look forward to the end of this physical earth as we know it. Those final days especially will feature The Rapture in which they confidently expect to be included as in, "in case of rapture this car will be unmanned" / "In case of rapture, can I have your vehicle?" / "In case of rapture, I'm not sure reading this bumper sticker is a top priority for you." Truth to tell, in so-called liberal mainline denominations not only is "end times" in that sense not a viable theological topic, it's not a plausible or possible one. In terms of responsible interpretation of scripture, to consider the faithful in Christ caught up into the air and floating away as the earth is undergoing the most catastrophic event imaginable mocks and negates the gospel call to journey alongside all people and all creation, to be the presence of Jesus Christ in the world, just as it turns upside down scripture's call to love and cherish the earth just as the Creator God cherishes and cares for all creation.

For some millennial (premillennial, amillennial, postmillennial, Darby, Ryrie, Scofield…) dispensationalist basics, check out this site; it explains dispensationalism more concisely than I could or care to:
…a system of Bible teaching or hermeneutics which holds: 1. That the revelation of truth from Adam to Christ was progressive and that none of the Old Testament writers or prophets had or knew all of the truth of God. 2. That through the various ages or periods of time, God revealed special portions of truth to humanity and placed humanity under a particular test regarding this revelation.
But there is an important theological topic of eschatology, or the word about the redemptive consummation of creation's original purpose. Christianity proclaims the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ completed the work of salvation for all creation, yet typically we assert that we actually live in the proleptic or anticipatory realization of the eschaton, rather than in its fulfillment. Throughout its witness, scripture calls humanity to help initiate justice and redemption for all creation and an ultimate vision of the messianic feast to which the entire earth is invited, welcomed, gathered together healthy and restored, living in mutual dependence and covenant. Without water, that dream cannot be realized.

For sure many prophets we know from the Hebrew Bible wrote and preached about a Day of the Lord, which variously was a time of deep darkness, doom and despair, a occasion for immediate repentance followed by redemption or a time of hope. Apocalyptic writing full of metaphor, code, mystery and hidden (apocalypse literally means uncovering, therefore a "revealing") symbolism tends to emerge and flourish in times of political unrest, turmoil and uncertainty; besides the the book of Revelation in the NT, parts of Daniel, Zechariah, Ezekiel, 1st Isaiah, the "Little Apocalypse" of Mark 13, some of the writings of Paul of Tarsus, 2 Peter (probably I've missed some) all include hidden symbolism, dreams, visions, and often dualism.

In my previous blog about the Deepwater Horizon incident I wrote, "Through its witness, scripture brings humanity a call to help initiate justice and redemption for all creation and an ultimate vision of the eschatological feast in which the entire earth is healthy and restored, living in mutual dependence and covenant. Without water, that dream cannot be realized."

Noel Paul Stookey and Peter Yarrow (remember them? from Peter, Paul and Mary) wrote and recorded "Very Last Day"; The Hollies had a version, too. In some ways it's a slice of vernacular apocalyptic, though it contains a huge burden of scriptural, ethical and practical reality.
Everybody gonna pray on the very last day
When they hear that bell a-ring the world away
Everybody gonna pray to the heavens on the judgment day.

Well the law is given and the law is known,
A tale is told and the seed is sown,
From dust we came into dust we'll go,
You the know the Lord once told us so.
Each brother takes his hand,
Heed the meaning of the Lord's command
Get ready, brother, for that day.

published by Neworld Media Music Publishers and Silver Dawn Music
"The law is given (to us) and the law is known (by us) … Heed the meaning of the Lord's command…" God's covenantal decree is nothing like the arbitrary social code self-righteous pharisee types invented and continue to invent in order to separate out people they didn't like with impossible demands and elevate themselves; it is a graciously given way of life that brings sustenance and more life along with it to those who observe it. Over these past eight years I've blogged a fair amount about the Ten Words or Commandments of the Sinai Covenant and the Great Commandment (love God, neighbor and self) and won't repeat what I've previously said, at least not right at this moment. No one knows how much more devastation creation can bear. But there is something we can do, even the majority of us who do not have the kind of money that talks (a high level of financial articulation). Check out the Nature Conservancy link in The Gulf: Ways You Can Help image at the top of this blog and may peace, justice, and righteousness return to the earth of God's creation the earth God calls – and enables us in the Spirit – to help preserve, sustain and re-create!

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