Standing Face to Face with Injustice

CC License, Wikimedia Commons

I moved from a rural farming town to the “big city” to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2008, and I’ve lived in Madison ever since.  I felt that I’ve always fit in here, and I’m proud when I tell people where I live–after all, Madison and her suburbs consistently receive recognition in contests of “Best Place to Live, Raise a Family, #1 City to Live in 2015,” and that’s pretty cool.  According to some sources, we are also the #1 Greenest City in America!  Recently, I became aware of information that pretty much shatters my paradigm that Madison is a near-perfect place.  The 2013 Race to Equity report, undertaken to promote greater public awareness of racial disparity in Dane County Continue reading

So what is an “Environmental Missionary” anyway?

Originally posted June 25, 2010.  Check out Lowell’s NEW book called “Environmental Missions” and let us know what you think!

 Lowell recently wrote the following piece for the Evangelicals for Social Action newsletter, answering the question, What do we mean by “Environmental Missionary”.  Enjoy!

What Is an Environmental Missionary?

At first, the question remained the same, but my answer would change.
People asked me, “Lowell, why are you a missionary?” Before I left for India in 1993, I’d tell them my conviction that Jesus is worthy of the worship of India, that the Great Commission is a mandate given to us all, and that those who die without Christ are lost eternally. But then after just a few months on the field, while those central convictions had not changed, I added to my answer, “I love Indians.” Over time, however, I had to change that answer, too, and admit, “Well, I don’t know if I can say that I love Indians, but I do love Shivraj, Munnu-ji, Prakash, and Prem Kumar.” I would rattle off names of individual friends. It’s hard to love disembodied aggregates, but it’s impossible not to love those God has placed in your heart.
Now, however, the question has changed. People are curious: “Lowell, why do you call yourself an environmental missionary?” The question has changed, but the answer is remarkably the same: I love Shivraj, Munnu-ji, Prakash, and Prem Kumar. Continue reading

What’s killing the frogs? And does it matter?

originally published January 24, 2010.

I had just finished giving a talk for Blackhawk Church‘s  adult fellowship group, and had included a short video from Discovery Channel’s Planet Earth in which one expert says, “I think we’re facing the loss of half the world’s frogs.’

On the way out, one of the participants asked me:  “So, exactly what is killing the frogs?”

It happens that I had just run across an article on this very topic two or three days ago.  Richard Black, BBC Environment Correspondent, was commenting on a world-wide precipitous decline in amphibians of all kinds (think frogs, salamanders, etc) in a post he called ‘The Attack of the Killer Everything“: Continue reading

Renewal – A Lesson From Nature

When winter turns to spring,
IMG_0211When the colors start to reappear,spring When the snow has melted and the ground can once again see the sun,IMG_0217When the world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful,
IMG_0275And sunshine pours in a little earlier each day,
IMG_0222
I find joy in the process of renewal.
forsythia & oakThe fattening buds on the eager branches,
Finally waking from their winter nap,
Silently preparing,
To spring.

Spring is a time of restoration,
A time to renew and refresh.
And so it is in our lives,
We are called to be made new,
And we thrive through this renewal,
Shaking off the deadened pieces of our past,
And walking forward as new beings in Christ.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be renewed in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  Ephesians 4:22-24

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17

And just for fun, one of my favorite springtime poems, and an inspiration for this post: “in Just-” by E.E, Cummings.

People aren’t the only ones who are hungry now

Originally published March 14, 2009.

As you can imagine, my job has me reading a lot of disturbing reports about all aspects of the environmental crisis.  Though I do my best to keep things upbeat here on Our Father’s World and in my presentations, sometimes a story will sneak  up and grab me from behind.

Great Nurse Shark – (Flickr Creative Commons License)

Like this one:

In Canada, scientists said Atlantic cod in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are becoming skinny because they are having more trouble finding reliable sources of small prey like capelin. In Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, striped bass are turning up emaciated because of shrinking supplies of herring and anchovies. Continue reading

Monarch Butterflies and Malaria Fever

In the language of medicine, symptoms of a problem or disease are often what help professionals diagnose the root cause.  If a person has malaria,  he or she will exhibit symptoms like a fever, the chills, and feeling achey.  Of course, many of us have experienced those signs and we just have the flu.  Context is also crucial: malaria is only found in certain areas of the world, and only carried by certain mosquito species.  Symptoms can point a doctor in the right direction, but a closer examination like an MRI, X-ray, or blood test usually provides the definitive proof of the problem.

So what in the world do monarchs have to do with malaria fever?

Migration map of monarch butterflies. Chris Brackley/Canadian Geographic

In the United States, Continue reading

A Conversation about God, His Creation and Our Role in Creation