Now is the time for fasting and prayer begging our Father's forgiveness for destroying his creation with our carelessness and greed. We are all guilty. Have mercy on this country, O Lord. Free us from our addiction. Restore your ocean. Amen.This confession troubled an untold number of our congregation. Some took issue with the fact that corporate confession was being used for something...well...corporate, rather than dealing with our individual sins. However, I had no problem with that. My background includes experience with both corporate and identificational repentance, and I am comfortable with the concept of repenting corporately for the sins of our nation, our culture, our church, and so on. True Christianity is corporate in nature, and that corporate nature is rooted in the Hebrew foundation of our faith. The western Church has individualized our walk with Christ to the point that we've lost sight of the fact that each person is only one cell in the vast body of Christ. So I got it. I think that's the problem. I understood exactly what was going on. We were supposed to be repenting for our sins.
A discussion ensued today on facebook. One friend pointed out that the Gulf catastrophe was rooted in the greed and carelessness of a corporation. But the confession did not say that. We were not led in a prayer of repentance on behalf of British Petroleum. It specifically said, "...our carelessness and greed. We are all guilty. Have mercy on this country, O Lord. Free us from our addiction..."
Whose carelessness and greed? Not BP's...not according to the confession. And that leaves "this country."
Whose addiction? Our country's.
Our greed and addiction to what? Oil.
I've heard the term "oil addiction" in political debates about the environment enough times to recognize the term as a very political one when it appeared, thinly veiled, on our church projector screen Sunday. The chosen wording lended itself heavily to a liberal political interpretation, and I personally don't think the church should make room for politics, either way.
Bottom line: it felt political, and a little icky because of that...I couldn't help but think when I first heard it, "why are we as a body taking sides in environmentalism?"
Will we next repent as a body for global warming? Or let's strike more toward my personal side of the political fence and ask if we're going to repent corporately for the countless lives lost to abortion...that's an even greater travesty in the eyes of God than the Gulf catastrophe, in my opinion...
See where it could go, and how quickly? This is why it felt icky to me.
If the church is going to participate in corporate repentance, I think we should take a close look at WHAT we repent for, and WHY. Does our nation need to repent for using fossil fuels? Is that biblical? Being poor stewards of the Lord's creation, yes, I can see that as a biblical subject for repentance. But oil addiction? How about our addiction to abortion for convenience...or pornography?
Don't get me wrong. I'm horrified by what's happened to our beautiful Gulf, but I disagree with labeling this as a sin that deserves to rest on the conscience of the nation and the church as a whole, when greater (translated: more scripturally proven) sins are effectively being ignored.