Genesis 1:28 says: ‘Fill the Earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature.’ (New International Version). I think we’ve overdone the subdue part. At least that’s what the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico tells me. Of course, it’s not so much a spill or a leak. It’s a damn gusher. There. Now you know how mad it’s made me. It’s caused a chaplain to curse. I’m not mad, however, at BP. I’m not mad at BP’s president or the even the president of the United States for this environmental Armageddon. That would be a cop out. Do you want to know who I blame the most for this? Myself. I blame myself, because during our last campaign when I heard a candidate say, ‘Drill, baby drill!’ I shouted, ‘Amen! The Earth ought to give up all the oil it can.’ Even as a California resident, I’ve generally favored offshore drilling. Yes, I favored renewable energy, too, but in the meantime, I figured we ought to ‘subdue the Earth’ and take what we had coming. I knew I was being greedy at the time, but I couldn’t resist the ‘what-the-hell’ attitude. You can blame me for the spill, because BP was just out there following my orders. I told them I wanted cheaper oil to burn in my new truck. I told them to find me some oil and dig where no man has ever dug before. Don’t be mad at BP. Be mad at me. And certainly don’t boycott BP. I may hold some blame here, but my monthly salary doesn’t quite match BP’s $3 billion in regular monthly profits they’ll need to clean this up. Because of my greed, we’ll need them to be around for a long time to come. They are worth more alive than dead. If you haven’t guessed, yes, I’m being a bit facetious. Hopefully, my greed isn’t quite that out of control. I know that taking personal responsibility for the spill sounds a bit like the habitual confessor who owns up to every minor crime just to get some attention, but I do think there is some truth here. Most world religions, including Christianity and Buddhism, have a lot to say about individual responsibility. Christianity even says that individual Christians have some culpability in the historical crucifixion of Christ. So in this case, do we have some culpability in the crucifixion of our beautiful gulf? I think the answer is yes. Yes, BP was doing the actual drilling, but as people of faith, we have to be careful not to simply shift the blame upon those with the deep guilt pockets. Recently, I wrote a controversial column concerning media pundits and was scolded by a few readers for straying away from religious topics. Problem is, everything in life is connected to our own individual spirituality. Everything. There is no part of our lives apart from God’s care and concern. Especially not the planet he created. Yes, BP is responsible, and BP officials desperately need to do three things: Stop the gusher, clean up the mess, and take care of the damages to the ‘fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every living creature.’ As for you and me, I need us to drill into our own spiritual depths and ask ourselves: What part of our own greed caused this spill, and what will we do to keep it from happening again? Burkes is a former civilian hospital chaplain and an Air National Guard chaplain. Write or visit You also can follow him on Twitter, username is ‘chaplain,’ or on Facebook at