BP, The Gulf, and the Assault of God

by Brian Walsh

The doctors seemed totally incapable of stemming the flow. This wound was too deep. The blood would not stop. The woman had been assaulted so violently that all of their medical emergency and trauma training was totally ineffective. This woman was dying. And all we could do was watch. Perhaps weep. Undoubtedely keep thinking up new techniques to save her. But in the meantime, all we could do was watch.

So we set up a camera in the emergency room where she was lying. We focused the lens on the wound where the blood continued to seep. We set up a 24/7 vigil and we posted it as a lives feed on the internet. Millions of people around the world logged in. At first they also wept. Then they stopped watching the feed around the clock, but only tuned in once in a while to see how this woman was doing.

Yes there was a sense of voyeurism to it all. Yes there was a morbid curiousity. I mean, watching a woman bleed and bleed and bleed. Maybe if Jesus was there she could have reached out and touched the hem of his garment. Maybe he was there. Not watching on the internet, but sitting by her bed, tears streaming down his face. Maybe that is why she didn’t just die. After all, where does one woman get that much blood? She should have been gone after a few minutes with that kind of flow. Maybe that wasn’t her blood. Maybe that was Jesus’ blood. Maybe he was bleeding through her. Maybe the wound that she bore, he also bore. Maybe that blood was somehow flowing from his side, through her.

Well, the oil gushing in the Gulf of Mexico isn’t blood. But it sure does seem like a slow death. Naomi Klein puts it this way: “… the hole at the bottom of the ocean is more than an engineering accident or a broken machine. It’s a violent wound in a living organism; it is part of us. And thanks to BP’s live camera feed, we can all watch the Earth’s guts gush forth, in real time, 24 hours a day.”

Is Jesus watching? Does that flow of oil have anything to do with the blood and water that gushed from his side? We have often said that Jesus is crucified daily in the lives of the poorest of the poor. I believe that is devastatingly true. Might it be that he is crucified 24/7 in a gaping wound at the bottom of the ocean? I think so. I mean, on the cross all things, in heaven and earth and under the sea are reconciled to God. That’s what Paul says in Colossians 1.20. And a few verses later he says that the gospel has been proclaimed to all creation. That means the shrimp, lobster, sting rays, sharks, turtles, sea birds, plankton and plant life of the sea and its shores. All of these creatures know the gospel. They all are recipients of grace. It’s just that it’s a little too hard to enjoy that grace or to hear that gospel when you are covered with oil.

So this assault on creation isn’t even just a violent wound in a living organism. It is also an assault on God. It is a grieving of the Holy Spirit. It is a mockery of the cross. Christ have mercy.

Brian Walsh
Brian is an activist theologian, a retired CRC campus minister, the founder of the Wine Before Breakfast community, and farms with Sylvia Keesmaat at Russet House Farm.He engages issues of theology and culture, and has written a couple of books you might want to check out. His most recent offering is cowritten with Sylvia Keesmaat and entitled Romans Disarmed: Resisting Empire, Demanding Justice.

2 Responses to “BP, The Gulf, and the Assault of God”

  1. morris

    BP’s New Cap. A Ruse?
    What better way to create calm and hope than to announce that next week there is going be a new cap put on the well, and maybe the leak will be stopped. I fear the worst, that it is a ruse, to buy time. What for? Martial law, or rehearsing and considering a nuclear solution? With the restrictions on journalists, and the use of Corexit, it seems that suspicion is begged for.

  2. jt*

    Amen. Lord have mercy indeed.


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