The Problem with Exceptionalism

If you follow political developments, you may have run into the term ‘exceptionalism’ recently, particularly in reference to the uniqueness of the United States of America.  I was actually surprised to learn (via Wikipedia, naturally) that exceptionalism is not at all a new term, and that the concept goes right back to Alex de Toqueville’s early analysis of our country and what made us on this side of the Atlantic different from our European ancestors and cousins.  (In de Tocqueville’s time the US was primarily a country with European roots, and while many Americans now have much more diverse ancestries, the lessons are probably the same.) Continue reading

A look back at Care of Creation in 2010

My day job is leading our efforts at Care of Creation as we seek to ‘mobilize the church toward a God-centered response to the environmental crisis.’  2010 was quite an eventful year for us.  Here’s my Director’s letter that was mailed to our constituents recently.  If you would like to be on the list to receive such letters by email, please sign up here.  And as always, we appreciate your support by donation or by helping us plant trees in Kenya.

Dear  Friends,

As we come to the end of another year, we want to thank you for your interest in and your partnership with us in our work of mobilizing the church toward a God-centered response to the environmental crisis that is engulfing the world.

This year marked our 5th anniversary as an organization, and it started off with lots of challenges:  We had some major problems in our Kenya project.  Money was tight.  We soon learned that the house that Craig and Tracy Sorley had been living in for seven years was about to be sold, putting not only their housing but the entire project in jeopardy.  Several staff were experiencing health issues.

But you prayed.  God heard. And looking back we can say that 2010 was one of the most exciting years we have experienced as a ministry: Continue reading

Our Family Christmas Letter

Most of the year we try to stay “on message” at Our Father’s World with thoughtful commentary having to do with God, his creation and our role in creation.  But it’s Christmastime – and I thought you might enjoy seeing what we have written in our annual family Christmas letter.  If you would like to get these occasional notes by email, please sign yourself up!   Meanwhile, here’s a glimpse of my wife Susanna’s thoughts and an update on our family… along with prayers from us that you and yours will have a truly blessed Christmas celebration this year:

Dear Friends,

Not many days ago, as I lay in a hospital bed, Ed looked at me and said, “When we write our biographies, I think we should wipe 2010 off the record of our lives!”  It has not been our best year health wise.  Besides being a very difficult year for my chronic illness, unexpected problems rained down on both of us.  Between the two of us we have had five E.R. visits, two surgeries, and four hospitalizations—to say nothing of numerous doctor visits.  None of these statistics measure the pain and wear to our bodies from both the illnesses and the treatment of them.  No, it was not a great year for our physical bodies.  In fact, some would look at our year and wonder if we were living under some kind of curse! Continue reading

Book Review: Jim Ball, Global Warming and the Risen LORD

Jim Ball was Director of the Evangelical Environmental Network for many years. He has been heavily involved in efforts in Washington to influence climate policy decisions, and this week is releasing his new book, Global Warming and the Risen LORD.  I’ve been watching the progress of this book behind the scenes for some time, and would encourage you to check it out.  It’s available on Amazon or directly from EEN.

Here’s my review:

Global Warming and the Risen LORD is not quite like any other you’ve read. Checking in at more than 450 pages, it might be best to think of it as three books in one cover: A very good analysis of the science of climate change and current predictions of havoc both in the US and globally; an almost devotional examination of theological principles wrapped around the theme of `walking with the Risen LORD’; and a call for a strategic response that is genuinely comprehensive in scope. Continue reading