Grieving in Louisiana

A poem by Paul Unruh:

GRIEVING AGAIN

April and May 2010

Part I

Grieve for the red fish and the trout

That lie belly up

Near the marsh grasses

Grieve for the brown pelican

That flounders on the riverbank

Instead of gliding proudly over

Grieve for the dolphin nearby

With oil in its eyes and nostrils

And a death ache in its stomach

Grieve for the sea turtle

The raccoon

And the lowly nutria

Grieve for the prairie marsh

As it soaks up the crude

And its ecological cycle begins to warp

Grieve for the Vietnamese and the Cambodians who survived war, Katrina and Rita

But who now sit in silence on their boats

At night time.

Grieve for the Houma, the Cajun, the Atakapa and the African American

Whose ancestral way of life is being altered

Without their permission

Grieve for the eleven

Who died while at work

On the sea

Part II

Pray for the children who do not understand

The unspoken fear and sadness

On the faces of their parents

Pray for the parents who wonder

Whether their children will learn

Their ancestral way of life

Pray for Venice, Boothville, Buras, Triumph, Empire and Port Sulphur

And for their roots

Sunk deep in the oily marsh

Pray for us all, that we may yet find a way to save the earth

And to teach our sons and daughters

To fish

Paul Unruh

Louisiana Coast. June9.2010. photo by Lois Nickel

Paul Unruh is a volunteer and consultant with Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) from the Shalom Mennonite Church in Newton Kansas. He is currently working on the Gulf Coast. Thanks to Lois Nickel, Director Regional Relations & Programs at MDS for forwarding this poem to me, and to Paul for giving me permission to share it.

A Prayer For Our Beloved Earth

T. Thorn Coyle blogs at Thorncoyle.com on her thoughts on practice, philosophy, politics and love. She wrote A Prayer For My Beloved in response to the catastrophe in the Gulf. Here are excerpts from it. To read the entire prayer, click here.

You have carried us, these long millions of years,
We beasts, we leafy fronds, we crouching walkers.
The ice has come, the ice has gone again.
Your crust has softened, hardened, cooled, and warmed…


Oil gushes from your sandy floor, betrayal.
Chemicals suffuse once fertile soil.
Holes are rent above your southern quadrant,
Mountains blasted open, or felled clear.


Your oceans saline quick, flow in our blood.
Lover, forever we can say, “I’m sorry,”
But actions speak far louder than strong words,
And we, though brave and brash, are also feeble.

Lover, I fall now to my knees before you.
I will not beg forgiveness, not just yet.
My good friends shall be gathered all around me,
Holding hands, we will make better still, amends

image copyright Conor Ashleigh 2008

Dis-invest-a-lujah from the Church of Life After Shopping

From the Reverend Billy Talen, of the Church of Life After Shopping:

This “Dis-invest-a-lujah!” 3 min. film is breath-taking. It is radical common sense action. “Stop Shopping” faithful spy-cammed a conversation with a Chase banker, explained Mountaintop Removal to him, then withdrew their money. Some say this is trespassing, but is it? JP Morgan Chase accepted our bail-out. It ought to be a public institution. Earth-a-lujah!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZtT4mfT0Gc&feature=player_embedded]

If you are on Facebook, check out Reverend Billy’s page (click here), or visit his webpage at www.revbilly.com.

On Easter Sunday – A Prayer For The Earth

Via Brian McClaren’s blogHoly Week: Meditation 6:

Wherever there is death … wherever hope is buried … wherever evil triumphs over law, and wherever law triumphs over grace … wherever injustice, unkindness, and arrogance are winning … just wait. It’s not over yet.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Un7Dv3l0Rec&feature=player_embedded]

Click here to go to Brian McLaren’s home page.

Copenhagen Day 7 – The Earth Needs Our Prayers

Tens of thousands of people rallied in Copenhagen and around the world this weekend, holding signs that read “There Is No Planet B”, “The World Wants A Real Deal” and “Bla Bla Bla Act Now”,  sending leaders a message that people want a real, binding, and enforceable agreement on climate change. Grown men cried in the UN meetings, pleading for a deal that would save their island nations. The World Council of Churches is calling on churches around the globe to ring the alarm on climate change by ringing their bells  350 times at 3:00 pm local time. As today is Sunday, a day traditionally set aside in North America for spiritual reflection and renewal, I thought it would be appropriate to repost Brian McLaren and Tim Costello‘s Prayer for the Earth.

A Prayer for the Earth

Most gracious God, creator of all good things, we thank you for planet Earth and all creatures that share it.

Have mercy on us, Lord. Through ignorance and carelessness we have poisoned clean air and pure water. For monetary gain we have reduced verdant forests to barren wastes. In our craving for more we have plundered your beloved creation and driven many of our fellow creatures to extinction. Only recently have we begun to realize the dangerous future into which our current patterns of consumption and waste are driving us, especially in relation to Earth’s climate. Only recently have we begun to see our need to find a wiser and better way of life in the future, before it is too late and our choices are limited by the consequences of inaction.

We who join in prayer today believe the time has come, Lord. Please guide us now, our God, at this critical moment in history, to better fulfill our role as stewards of this fragile planet. Guide the leaders of nations who will gather in Copenhagen on Dec. 7. Give them courage to set noble goals that reach beyond short-range political expediency, short-term economic profit, and short-sighted self-interest. Impress upon their conscience our sacred duty to bequeath to our children and grandchildren a healthy and thriving environment rather than a world in climate crisis.

The World Wants A Real Deal Candlelight Vigil

Read more

Time for New Thinking on the Climate Crisis

The UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen begins today!  If you are the praying sort, take time today to send a prayer that scientific and moral values will prevail, and our children’s future will be preserved.

Here’s a short video that won the Ecospot Video Grand Prize:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-S1xOG6FDQ]

And after you’ve watched it, if you are the emailing sort, contact your elected representative and let them know that you want a real deal in Copenhagen.  Let’s stop ignoring the 1.2 billion elephants in the room!

And if you’re ready to be inspired to more action, click on this link or go to #2 on my video list on the right to hear Al Gore’s address at TED in March 2008. Thanks to Krystofer for bringing this to my attention!

Open Letter to Canadians on Faith and Climate Change

Mardi Tindal is the Moderator of The United Church of Canada. The Hon. David MacDonald chaired the House of Commons Committee on the Environment from 1989 to 1993. Both will attend the COP 15 UN meetings on Climate Change in Copenhagen. In this open letter to Canadians, they explain why the Copenhagen Conference is a place where faith and science must meet.  Here is an excerpt from their letter.  To read the complete letter, click here.

We believe the United Nations Climate Change Conference is a place where faith and science must intersect.

These talks will almost certainly determine the fate of coming generations. The future of our children is at stake. Finding a way forward will require that we attend to the best science available, so we are firmly grounded in reality. But it also demands that we recognize the spiritual values that have guided humans for centuries so we can work toward a vision of wholeness.

Science tells us what is and, given certain parameters, what will come to be. Spiritual values teach us what ought to be. Only the two, working together, can see us safely through this perilous time.

Winter Trees

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A Prayer for the Earth

21 days left before world leaders meet in Copenhagen for UN Climate Talks.

As today is Sunday, I thought I would share an excerpt from A Prayer for the Earth, written by Tim Costello of World Vision Australia and Brian McClaren, a speaker, writer, and contributor to Sojourners “God’s politics” blog.

A Prayer for the Earth

Most gracious God, creator of all good things, we thank you for planet Earth and all creatures that share it.

Have mercy on us, Lord. Through ignorance and carelessness we have poisoned clean air and pure water. For monetary gain we have reduced verdant forests to barren wastes. In our craving for more we have plundered your beloved creation and driven many of our fellow creatures to extinction. Only recently have we begun to realize the dangerous future into which our current patterns of consumption and waste are driving us, especially in relation to Earth’s climate. Only recently have we begun to see our need to find a wiser and better way of life in the future, before it is too late and our choices are limited by the consequences of inaction.

We who join in prayer today believe the time has come, Lord. Please guide us now, our God, at this critical moment in history, to better fulfill our role as stewards of this fragile planet. Guide the leaders of nations who will gather in Copenhagen on Dec. 7. Give them courage to set noble goals that reach beyond short-range political expediency, short-term economic profit, and short-sighted self-interest. Impress upon their conscience our sacred duty to bequeath to our children and grandchildren a healthy and thriving environment rather than a world in climate crisis.

Read more