"Spiritual Pollution"

There's something about owning a satellite tower that makes a clergyman fixated about the weather.

Pat's been predicting hurricanes ravaging the American coastlines for the past few years. God told him judgment was coming. Dover was going to get a particularly nasty meteorological spanking for it's school board weighing in on the wrong side of the Creation/Evolution Debate.

Focus on the Family's, Stuart Sheppard produced a video clip that wondered aloud if it would be appropriate for Christians to pray that rain would ruin the Democratic National Convention.

Most recently, the Vatican promoted a man to bishop who once stated that Hurricane Katrina was God's judgment on New Orleans:

"The amoral conditions in this town are indescribable," Bishop-designate Gerhard Wagner said in a parish newsletter in 2005, after Hurricane Katrina had devastated New Orleans.

"This is not just any city which has been drowned, but the people's dream town with the 'best brothels and the most beautiful whores,'" he said, according to excerpts from the newsletter which appeared on the Austrian Catholic Web site Kath.net.

The Vatican announced Jan. 31 that Pope Benedict had named the 54-year-old parish priest of Windischgarsten, Austria, to be auxiliary bishop of Linz, Austria.

"Hurricane Katrina didn't just destroy all the nightclubs and brothels in New Orleans ... it also destroyed all five abortion clinics" in a city of less than half a million residents, the bishop-designate said.

"Is the piling up of natural catastrophes merely a consequence of the environmental pollution carried out by people or is it rather the consequence of a spiritual environmental pollution?" he asked, adding that the question should be further discussed in the future.

There's precedent for God using weather to judge. There was that whole "Flood" thing. That was biggish. Sodom and Gomorrah were taken out by fire and brimstone. So, these clergy get some credit for Bible literacy. Talking about "spiritual pollution" is not nonsense. Heck, the Apostle Paul wrote about all creation groaning under the weight of the curse.

But you still have to wonder, where are the predictions (or post mortems) that the weather event would come because of a lack of social justice or care for the poor?

The problem with these wannabe Elijah's is that they are so selective in their application. They've weaponized the Biblical concept of corruption and they use it to berate their opponents. Those sinners over there, they deserve a divine disciplinary tsunami. If they were more like us, well then, that would be different.

Actual spiritual pollution is everywhere. Its the lines and bags under my eyes, my graying hair, and that roll of fat that I can't seem to outrun. The living fill funeral homes to mourn those cut down by corruption. Spiritual pollution takes the form of weeds, rust, and moth-eaten shirts. It rolls off my tongue in the form or bitterness, cynicism, and biting sarcasm. The proliferation of boy bands in the '90s and three High School musicals now might be signs of spiritual pollution.

Spiritual pollution isn't a missile that God menacingly points at the wicked. Its a curse that humanity unwittingly unleashed on itself, all of us.

When Jesus was on earth, a building collapsed and killed the eighteen people were inside. The professionally religious responded to the disaster by assessing blame. "What kind of sin and what kind of sinner could cause this type of calamity?" Its likely that the Pharisees had used the disaster to reinforce the moral pecking order that they established. "Those fools died because they didn't listen to our teaching."

Jesus disrupted this ghoulish line of thinking with these words: "If you don't repent, you will all likewise perish." Jesus wasn't being morbid, or grouchy. He wasn't cracking open a can of brimstone. Instead, Jesus reminded us that spiritual pollution isn't something that happens to "them" but is something that hurts all of "us."

Jesus knew that he could only rescue people who realized that they weren't living in Eden but in a field with moths and weeds.


  1. Isn't it our natural tendency to think God is against us when things go badly and the weather is crummy? Yet sometimes we're doing things we shouldn't but God lets the sun shine anyway.

  2. Stephanie,

    Yep. Sometimes what we call "evil" is just inconvenience. C.S. Lewis talked about that more elequently than I ever could.

  3. it's funny how people point to the flood as proof that God uses the weather to punish sin, but they conveniently forget that God sent the rainbow as a sign that He'd never do that again...

  4. Yeah,

    I think of Elijah, who even though he proclaimed the famine, also experienced it. He wasn't proclaiming judgment on THEM but US.