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Been busy- so, this is a week late and my friend Father Timothy Fountain beat me to the punch. I’ve noted several times on my other blog that we are praying for God’s mercy in the Gulf with regard to the oil spill. This is the jist of the prayer I’ve posted a couple times already and have been praying publicly and privately:

We are praying fervently that God would have mercy on us in relation to the BP oil spill in the Gulf; specifically that he’d release wisdom to plug the leak and creative technologies to clean it up, and that he’d expose what he needs to expose right now in our hearts and especially in our corporate and national leaders.

Now the New York Times reports the oil spill is vanishing fast. Apparently God has been answering our prayers in a way far beyond what we can ask or imagine. One of the main causes of the dissipation is the presence of oil eating bacteria in the Gulf water. In response to that news Father Tim posts…  “Dare I say that lots of people have been praying?”  In the comment string following Father Tim’s post, our yet unbelieving far far left of center friend Cory at Madville Times writes… “Tim, is that headline saying what I think it’s saying?”  Father Tim responds in part in this way:

Cory – people of faith will consider unexpected improvement a blessing and an answer to prayer. Favorable natural phenomena and successful human effort are not ignored – in fact they are the primary means through which God would be understood to answer prayer in most faith traditions.

Cory thanked him and noted that was the thoughtful answer he was looking for. Here was my contribution to the discussion:

Tim – You beat me to it on this post. I’ve been busy, but not to busy to notice all those who are now praising mother nature, micro-bacteria and the tiniest members of the ecosystem! And who can we thank for that perfectly ordered natural healing design? That’s right… Darwin! O wait, he’s dead.  I lack the blind faith the evolutionists possess… and I chuckle when people praise the ecosystem instead of the one who ordered it perfectly. I can’t even look at a tiny little bird without thinking of the stunning foolishness of those who swallow the dangerous delusion that it is a product of uber-billions of years of unguided random mutations. [It’s dangerous because the ideology devalues human life and holocausts and genocide have been the historical result of the deception that some are more human than others – and that only the more fit should be allowed to survive. And, teaching it to kids communicates they are accidental, just the next random mutation, and we have no intrinsic value. Cory will likely take these words and try to make a campaign issue out of them for me. I think we ought to teach evolution as one of the theories explaining origins and point out it’s both unproven and flawed.]

I am grateful for the legislators in LA who, painfully aware of the arrogant emptiness of the ideas of man, had the humility and wisdom to ask for Divine Aid.  [It would now be appropriate for a Louisiana legislator to call for a Day of Thanksgiving in gratitude to God for saving us from ourselves. If it’s appropriate for us to bestow our gratitude and honor any earthly scientist for their great contribution, it’s appropriate to thank and give due honor to the Grand Architect of the Universe for having the foresight to hardwire the creation to heal itself. Too bad he didn’t think to hardwire the universe to also deal with human Co2 emissions 😉 Perhaps Al Gore will save us there.]

…Though this nation deserves no favors from heaven, we continue to pray God’s mercy on every living thing in the Gulf. And we pledge to better steward the wonders of his creation.

Had God prompted a scientist somewhere to solve this problem I would have been praising God while the world bestowed awards and honors on the man. Surely God wearies of the boasting of man. These micro-members of the ecosystem have risen up as one of the little mercies of God and ironically, as simple as they are, they are presently confounding the wise. That too is evidence God is behind this dissipation. [Don’t think for a moment that this God who knows when every sparrow falls to the ground has no concern for the masses of oil-covered pelicans.]

All week I’ve been focused on the notion of “little mercies.” In terms of the millions of gallons of oil disappearing I’m not really sure this qualifies as a “little” mercy. But it seems appropriate to designate oil-eating, micro-bacteria as a little mercy.

A couple passages of Scripture come to mind. There is the story Jesus told of the ten being healed of leprosy and only one returning to give thanks. Maybe the others were praising natural processes. What I like to show people are the dangers of ingratitude and how big a deal this is to God when we boast in ourselves.  In the oft-quoted Romans 1:21-25 passage about the iniquity in the world, few notice how fundamental ingratitude was the issue and not iniquity. It was because of ingratitude that God turned the world over to it’s own destructive course:

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

When the military honor guard officer handed me the flag that draped my father’s coffin, he looked me in the eye and said with these words… “On behalf of a grateful nation…”  For sure our nation is filled with gratitude for those who give their life in service of their country. But beyond that, I’m not sure it’s true we are a grateful nation any more.

One other thought… recently I dropped a quote elsewhere on this blog regarding how American Christianity has digressed to nothing more than a “moralistic therapeutic deism.” In light of that, it’s no surprise that most church leaders are silent on these kinds of topics. As they have resorted to offering popular therapy over unpopular theology, they’ve digressed into deism and no longer have a theology of a God who acts or personally intervenes in our world today.

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