Oil and Trust

We trust oil. Oil fuels our way of life in almost every way. We hear politicians talking about our dependence on foreign oil but very little is actually done about it. Oil drives our economy. Oil provides our energy. Oil is gold.

We trust large corporations. Yes, we decry unsavory business practices and unethical behavior. But we all depend on big corporations. They provide most of the goods and services that we enjoy. Even small businesses that take pride in being small would most likely enjoy seeing their profits and products take off and send them to the top of the heap. We believe that large corporations solve problems. We tend to think that they have the most resources, the brightest thinkers, and the greatest potential for expanding the largess of life that we enjoy. Large corporations are easy targets for criticism, and when they make mistakes they are usually BIG. But we depend on them and generally trust them.

We trust technology. Technology spins our culture on it’s ear. Two million iPads were sold in the past two months…each one with a $500 price tag (or more). We love technology. Most homes have a computer and internet connection. If yours doesn’t …well…you’re not reading this post. We have gotten used to smart phones. Now we have smart cars that sync with our smart phones. We’re so smart! I do not have to spell out the ways that we love technology – it’s a given. We love it, yes. We trust it? Yes.

We do not love our environment. I know we talk a lot about our environment and how we should care for it. How many bags of garbage do you tote to the can every week? Every bag is filled with packaging that is not Earth friendly and will be around for a long long time … somewhere. But while we talk about taking care of the environment most of us do very little about it.  We elect officials who have little to nothing to say about the environment. Of those who do talk a lot about the environment, a percentage of them are simply kooks. Some of the rest of them are flying around the country in private jets as they wag their finger at us. And some genuinely care, make every effort, and practice what they preach. But by and large, we do not love our environment.

We wish to maintain this fantastic lifestyle that has been generated by the availability of oil, large corporations, and technology. We demand more. Our expectation is that there will be something new to enjoy very soon. A new toy, an updated version, new and improved whatever. When we get our  new toys the old ones go into the dump. Where they will reside for decades. I don’t know how to stop the cycle…and recycle.

So we’re all thinking about this oil pumping into the Gulf of Mexico. It hits a sickening place in our gut to know that this has been going on for so long and now they’re saying maybe by August they can get it stopped. It is beyond me that with all the technology available to corporations who have unimaginable wealth that a solution hasn’t been found yet. On all the social media there is a collection of thoughts about it. BP is getting lots of blame – it is their drill… and they have been unable to stop the flow. I think we have to be careful to act too indignant. We are a part of the problem. I know we didn’t create the disaster and we didn’t approve of it … but the supply of that oil was sought because of our demand for it. And few of us cared much what it costs to get it – or what lengths had to be gone to in order to drill it out of the earth. We share in this together.

This is not the first oil spill. Do we think this will be the last? I don’t know. But I do know that this crisis demonstrates our trust in oil, large corporations, and technology. It demonstrates our disregard for the environment, or at least the back seat it takes to our gregarious search for an amazing life filled with stuff. I notice people calling for the boycot of BP …and some even asking for BP to be booted out of the US! Do we not know that in the boardrooms of all major oil companies sits a group of men who are thanking God it wasn’t their company that did this. All the while their company could be next.

Our fabulous American lives are balanced on a very small thread of trust in oil, big companies, and technology. When that thread frays a bit, we get a vision of just how fragile all of this really is.

My thinking is that this should move us all more toward a trust in God. His promises do not depend on oil, technology, large corporations, governments, nor the economy. But for most people, that just doesn’t seem enough.

Thanks for reading my ruminations!

john

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