A sweet answer for oil addiction?

A Christian Science perspective on daily life

The blunt acknowledgment by President George W. Bush earlier this year in his State of the Union address that "America is addicted to oil," grabbed headlines and signaled a moment of opportunity. If a former Texas oilman talks about oil addiction, could solutions, even unheralded ones, be at our doorstep?

Fossil fuel consumption has been growing for years and has yet to be fully addressed. But experts trumpet a host of creative approaches available today. It's not as if we're waiting for technology to catch up with our hopes. Good answers are already in use, already making a difference. Just not a big enough one, yet. For that, we'll need a higher perspective. We'll need a fuller embrace of the spiritual ideas that cause new approaches to evolve.

Consider just one of those new approaches. Look to Brazil. They've charted a course to energy independence by powering their cars with ethanol. Better yet, they're not using ethanol made from corn, which is not the most effective option for Brazil; they're making it much more efficiently from sugar. Brazil abounds with sugar cane. And they're planting more all the time.

No one suggests this will solve the world's crisis. But it could be one of many answers. Nearly everyone agrees that a multi-pronged approach will be the most effective.

The Brazilian model echoes a biblical pattern. Elisha - a Soul-inspired prophet if ever there was one - rescued a widow in dire straits (see II Kings, chap. 4). She was on the edge of losing her two sons to a creditor. Elisha asked a question that shifted her outlook, lifting it to a more inspired, more solution-oriented perspective.

"What hast thou in the house?" he asked. She answered, "Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil." But where she saw want, he saw plenty. He persisted in nudging her to a higher, more spiritual outlook. He told her to borrow as many vessels as she could from her neighbors. As a result, her oil multiplied, filled the many containers she'd borrowed, and met her need abundantly.

Back to Brazil. Did Brazilians, in effect, ask themselves, "What have we in the house?" Did they more highly value the good already at hand? It looks as if they recognized a possible answer, and then applied it. Some experts assert we're so deep into this crisis that any solution will be distasteful, a bitter pill. But the Brazilian model suggests solutions may be closer and sweeter than we assume.

Two steps come into play: 1) Recognize a good problem- solving idea. 2) Implement that idea. The Almighty assists in both. God forwards the recognition and the implementation of inspired approaches. God is Soul - the source of intuitiveness, creativity, keen insight. Soul endows us with mental and spiritual resources. Soul breaks us out of narrow thought- patterns, walling off our view of answers already "in the house." Soul moves us to see the good at hand, even if unorthodox. Soul equips us to lay hold of the good already present and stride forward.

Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy wrote in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," "Soul has infinite resources with which to bless mankind, and happiness would be more readily attained and would be more secure in our keeping, if sought in Soul" (p. 60).

The Soul-inspired Elisha saw the promise of abundant oil right where others saw impending crisis. We don't have to be an entire race of Elishas in order to beat an oil addiction. But there's a need for people who follow the widow's example, who help implement a good solution that originates with the Divine. Everyone can shift consciousness Godward, can mentally draw closer to Soul. Everyone can admit a readiness to respond with creative approaches. The outcome will be better answers with fewer downsides, and a society more inclined to shed this addiction.

Adapted from the Christian Science Sentinel.

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