I will admit that environmental issues have never been one of the driving forces of my ministry and spiritual activism. While I have a deep respect for those who fight for the environment, there are just a plethora of other issues that have drawn my attention over the past decade. Tonight was different.
I live in Denton, Texas. Denton is a beautiful city with a real community feel to it. I have noticed lately the large drills that seem to be popping up in weird locations around town, near houses, apartments, the football stadium, playgrounds and a whole host of other sensitive areas. When I heard that a City Council meeting was going on tonight to talk about the issue, I decided to attend. In the reports of citizens, I listened to resident after resident call for a moratorium on drilling inside the city limits. In their unique pleas, each resident revealed something about their lives to illustrate their concern for the issue.
One pregnant woman delivered an impassioned plea for the health of her unborn baby. In the midst of her pleas, I imagined listening to my 40 weeks pregnant wife Emily ask a similar question, “Jeff, how are we going to protect our baby from this drilling?” The issue of drilling in Denton became very real for me in that moment.
I had to leave the meeting not long after the citizen reports, but there is a part of me that is still there…asking and praying “How are we as a family going to protect our children from this and future drilling?”
My mind has consistently traveled tonight to Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as your self.” I don’t see how you can “love your neighbor as your self” and allow drilling next to their house! I don’t see how you can “love your neighbor as your self” and allow drilling within walking distance from where they go to school! I don’t see how you can “love your neighbor as your self” and drill near where kids play on the playground! I don’t see how you can “love you neighbor as your self” and allow drilling that is ruining lives through sickness and oppression! I know that many of the council members considering a possible moratorium and those who own/manage the energy companies profess to be Christians. So as a minister, I will ask in the words of Jesus…
Can you please “love your neighbor as your self” and stop the damned drilling?