Monday, March 25, 2019


After years of serving as pastor in Bayou Blue, Louisiana, a town situated on the Mississippi Delta, The Rev. Dr. Kristina Peterson, guest blog writer, says: 

"I write from a unique position as a Presbyterian pastor in a sinking church in Bayou Blue, a town in Louisiana. I don’t mean that Sunday attendance is dropping. I mean that the land under the church is slowing disappearing into Gulf of Mexico waters."

                                  No photo description available.

Photo: Presbyterian Church in Bayou Blue. Used with permission.

Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting and indoor

Photo: friends and family Easter egg party. used with permission.

Looking at the photos you'll see no evidence of the loss of ground to the sea. But the church, the town of Bayou Blue, and the vast Delta itself, are at risk. Land is being lost daily.

You will want to click here for a visual of the effects of flooding, not only in the Mississippi Delta but across the American midwest and elsewhere. 

The photo conveys a message: the centuries-old cultures are being destroyed along with homes and towns. In the Mississippi Delta, salt water is creeping in, points of land are disappearing, and the Delta itself is at risk. At flood stage, which happens frequently, cars drive down roadways and make waves. Kids walk through waters. People evacuate to higher ground.

Causes of the situation in the Delta are pretty clear and documented scientifically by U.S. and other government agencies. Human activity--particularly undersea oil extraction--is a major cause. As liquid oil is piped out from undersea reservoirs, land falls under the force of gravity, leading to flooding at sea level.

What's to be done? Here’s one national church body’s response: avoid stock and bond ownership of oil companies. The Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., is calling for divestment from the stock of oil drilling petroleum businesses. Three relevant links just below.

Add to this Delta situation the broader prediction for flooding across vast parts of America this spring and you get a stunning, bigger picture. “This is shaping up to be a potentially unprecedented flood season, with more than 200 million people at risk for flooding in their communities,said Ed Clark, Director of NOAAs National Water Center, in a press release. That represents about 60 percent of all Americans. 

The challenge: is oil drilling and all other human-caused of higher amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere worth more than the risk of total loss of the entire Bayou and much of the world's coastline? The hope is that groups of all kinds, ranging from congregations through towns and counties and on to national governments will alter their global-warming behaviors. This is a financial question: who will be forced to pay for oil corporate income? It's also a moral question: is the financial gain worth the broader social cost?

For further reading click on these links.

P.S. Rev. Dr. Kristina Peterson is a long-term friend since her student days at University of Puget Sound. You can access her resume on her Facebook page

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