Clothesline in Winter

Clothesline in Winter

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Did We Actually Win?

Funny thing about losing.  You fight, scratch, claw and struggle – and lose.  You think you’re doing the right thing, but you still lose. You commit your efforts to a sovereign Lord, but it seems you can’t stop losing.
And then, one day, you win. 

It happened in the last century’s epic struggle.  Until El Alamein in November 1942, the Allies never won a battle.  But with victory in this dusty North African outpost, the Yanks and Tommies never lost again.  Soon came Stalingrad, Sicily, the Italian campaign, D-Day and the Bulge – until Hitler finally collapsed.

Well, today, I am in shock.  Like all advocates for creation care, I’m used to losing.  But I read with near disbelief about our El Alamein:  President Obama has directed the State Department to scrap its flawed review of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline from Canada to the Gulf, and start over again.

The truth in a nutshell
This time, the review should be “an open, transparent process,” said the President.  And it should be “informed by the best available science and the voices of the American people.”

The State Department went even further: “Among the relevant issues that would be considered are environmental concerns – including climate change…” in assessing the KXL Pipeline project.

Well, if this can’t be done in back rooms by oil industry lobbyists, if it must listen to the best scientists and the American people, if it has to consider the impact on the global climate, then it’s pretty close to dead. Or so I think.

So did we actually win?  You wrote the president. You prayed for environmental justice.  You signed online petitions.  You traveled to Washington.  And you encouraged others to do the same.

And the impact was dramatic.  A month ago, this was a slam dunk for Big Oil. Energy insiders “virtually all” expected this to be a cake walk.  The pipeline company TransCanada was moving huge quantities of pipe across the border and seizing land by eminent domain, certain that its permit would be granted. They practically ran the State Department’s approval process, using their own consultants and hiring key government staffers. Who could expect to stop them, with their virtually inexhaustible hoard of cash, and so much of Congress in their pockets?

Well, whether you expected it or not, you did. Dare I say it? You stopped them. You won. You won! We won!

And maybe we’ll win again.  We’ll have to, you know. God’s creation remains on the same terracidal trajectory that it was on yesterday.  Defeat of this pipeline did nothing to heal the world’s broken climate systems, our acidifying oceans, our failing rivers, our flooded coastlands and our parched farms.  It only temporarily halted something that would have made it dramatically  worse.

So smile, for a moment!  Give thanks to God for his mercy and kindness.  But pray for the guidance and resolve to struggle again. The richest corporations in the world aren't giving up, so neither can we.

Thanks for your friendship and partnership in caring for the creation. And may God bless you.

J. Elwood


  1. All we can do is hope. And keep writing letters and calling people. And reward those who acted justly if their injustices don't outweigh this good deed.

  2. Terracidal trajectory: well said, and congrats to you and all the others who stood up and protested. Very encouraging to see your voices making a difference. We all thank you.

  3. The above comment is from Dr. Myhre of Kijabe, Kenya. If anyone wants to see God's mercy in action, you simply must take a look at their website:

    But here's a snippet from their most recent post, about a 6-month preemie born to an HIV mother, fighting for breath in the wee hours. It that may break your heart, or inspire you deeply:

    "This baby may or may not survive in the long run. He has far to go. Is his life worth $200? An all-night effort? Is it worth that even if he doesn't live more than a day or two? Did I make the right decisions? One can always choose life whole-heartedly, but in a limited-resources setting one life might cost another...

    "When I put him in God's hands, I didn't really hope for a lot. God doesn't always plan things the way I do, and my prayers have become less certain of their outcome. God's hands did not imply that I was, or am, sure of his survival. But God knew our limits .... Perhaps it was a widow's mite that will be multiplied to life. Perhaps not. This baby's worth is equal to mine, or the President's, or the richest man alive, so we trust that if God does not heal him now, it is not a matter of being unworthy, but a matter of mercy and a better plan."

    To read the complete story, copy and paste the above URL into your browser window.

    Thanks for looking away from your pressing needs, Drs. Myhre, to care about what we're doing.