The Trumpet Herald

Giving the trumpet a certain sound

July 2010

Oil spill in Gulf of Mexico

The April 20 explosion on an oil drilling platform and subsequent continuing oil spill have developed into the worst-ever oil spill in United States history. After several failed attempts at stopping the leak 5000 feet below the surface, a recently-installed containment cap is starting to work.

(June 5) -- As tar balls washed up on more of the Gulf Coast’s beaches, officials said today that BP’s containment cap had collected about 250,000 gallons of crude from the leaking well in its first full day of use on Friday. ...

The amount the U.S. Coast Guard said was siphoned in the first 24 hours is less than a third of what officials estimate may be spilling daily. The Associated Press reported it’s about a half-percent to 1 percent of the total oil that has leaked into the Gulf since the disaster began (BP’s Cap Collects Some Oil from Gushing Well,”, June 5, 2010).

Evidence is developing that a significant part of the oil damage is under the sea surface and devastating effects could be very long term.

Now it is increasingly clear that the initial reports of undersea oil were right, that life-giving oxygen in the water column is indeed being depleted, and that unless the laws of chemistry have been repealed, dispersants are likely worsening the tentacles of undersea crude. What might have been just another oil spill—albeit a bad one—has been transformed into something unprecedented. …

Oil on the ocean surface eventually evaporates, is degraded by sunlight, gets consumed by microbes, or washes up on beaches, where it can be collected. The fate and effects of the undersea oil are largely unknown. The Deepwater Horizon disaster is thus one big unplanned experiment (“What the Spill Will Kill,”, June 6, 2010).

Inspired commentary

Were it not for the reports of confusion about authority on the platform and negligence on the part of government regulators, the spill story might just be about overconfidence in technical abilities. Money is indeed a powerful motivator.

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows (1 Timothy 6:10).

Like other gifts of God, the possession of wealth brings its increase of responsibility, and its peculiar temptations. How many who have in adversity remained true to God, have fallen under the glittering allurements of prosperity. With the possession of wealth, the ruling passion of a selfish nature is revealed. The world is cursed today by the miserly greed and the self-indulgent vices of the worshipers of mammon (Counsels on Stewardship, p. 139).

Roman Catholic leadership mindset

The response of the leadership of the Roman Catholic church to the continuing pressure of covered up child sexual abuse by priests was discussed in a recent article in Time magazine. One comment illuminated a fundamental issue.

The church is hard-wired with extraterritorial prerogatives that go back more than a millennium. The Catholic Church believes it is Christ’s representative on earth, with all the sinlessness and omnipotent authority of its Saviour. The statesmen of the church have always known that to preserve that authority, the realm of the Popes could not simply be an otherworldly City of God. It also had to be an earthly power, if not equipped with military divisions (which it once possessed) then at least wielding the clout of secular government. The church must be a state (“The Trial of Pope Benedict XVI,”, May 27, 2010).

The article indicated that in addition to sometimes being part of the sexual abuse cover up from secular authorities, Pope Benedict XVI has had to deal with others in power in the Roman Catholic Church who appear not be be in harmony with recent attempts to deal more openly with priests accused of sexual improprieties with children.

Inspired commentary

Bible students for centuries have identified the papal system with the beast power of Revelation 13. This beast power is hostile to the true people of God. Questions about this interpretation arise when there are official apologies for past behavior. However to some the apologies seem limited and political.

The Roman Church now presents a fair front to the world, covering with apologies her record of horrible cruelties. She has clothed herself in Christlike garments; but she is unchanged. Every principle of the papacy that existed in past ages exists today. The doctrines devised in the darkest ages are still held. Let none deceive themselves. The papacy that Protestants are now so ready to honor is the same that ruled the world in the days of the Reformation, when men of God stood up, at the peril of their lives, to expose her iniquity. She possesses the same pride and arrogant assumption that lorded it over kings and princes, and claimed the prerogatives of God. Her spirit is no less cruel and despotic now than when she crushed out human liberty and slew the saints of the Most High (The Great Controversy, p. 571).

Leadership Mindset in Israel

A research fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School and a major in the Israeli IDF reserves wrote recently about the hardening attitudes toward Palestinians that seems to be growing in Israel.

The patterns are clear: more people are getting killed in shorter periods of time, and we care less and less. According to Israeli data, it took 22 days for the Palestinian death toll to hit 1,100 in the last big round of violence between “us” and “them,” the 2008–09 Gaza incursion. The same number of casualties accumulated over a full five years in the first Palestinian uprising (1987–93), which was then the largest Israeli-Palestinian clash since 1949. Over time, our hearts have grown harder. ...I

This hardening of the heart is not limited to our leaders. They, after all, merely reflect popular attitudes. …

Actions like the killings aboard the Gaza aid ship do nothing to ameliorate this situation; they only create new sources of resistance. The blockade that brought about the flotilla is dehumanizing, barely justified on security grounds. …

The only prescription I have, at least until I head back home, is a very personal one. I seek to change my approach to the conflict with the Palestinians. I think now that we must break through the language of strategic calculations and allow basic human decency to shape our positions (“Lost Tribe,”, June 5, 2010).

Inspired commentary

Before the end, wars and hostilities express the nature of mankind.

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet (Matt. 24:6).

Page created:07/01/2010. Updated: 07/01/2010
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