What Role Does Faith Play? God Draws Straight with Crooked Lines…

Kermit Hovey pausing during a bike ride through a forested path in 2013.
Kermit Hovey pausing during a bike ride through a forested path in 2013.

“What role does faith play in you discovering and living your purpose?”  Last year I met Sterling Lynk, strategist and coach, at the Madison Non-Profit Day conference. He chose to interview me about that question and the particulars of my story of faith, purpose and work at Care of Creation.

In his article at www.mightypurpose.me, Sterling introduces the topic before sharing both an invitation to Care of Creation’s April 18th Tenth Anniversary Celebration and his interview with me.  A partial excerpt follows:

“Sterling Lynk: Tell us a little about yourself.

Kermit Hovey: Decades ago, even before David Byrne & Fatboy Slim popularized it in the 2000s, a friend of mine shared a quote with me – “God draws straight with crooked lines.”  I believe this applies to many lives, including my own.  On the one hand a life trajectory can all too often feel abruptly disjointed, chaotic and even “crooked”.  Yet we can still achieve higher purposes, arrive at wonderful destinations and recognize through it all surprisingly “straight” lines.

By what seems like “crooked” lines I earned a bachelor’s degree, worked as an electrical engineer in industry, got married, lived simply, practiced church, had kids, graduated from seminary, moved to Madison, co-led an experiment in Christian intentional community, raised a family, refined recycled fiber architectural paneling technology, cared for the poor and disenfranchised of all ages, advocated to protect creation, and to reduce the carbon-pollution that causes climate change.

Meanwhile the journey reveals “straight” lines stretching as far back as I can recall.  Recurrently and consistently, if not constantly, I worked to protect and nurture the disadvantaged, the creation, and the Church.  I have coordinated outreach, food, clothing and furniture programs at my community’s faith-based non-profit, caring for the poor and disenfranchised.  I also worked for a company that designed, built and installed computerized building automation and energy management systems, applying technology to use less energy and generate less pollution.  Finally, I have led and coordinated house group meeting programs and other activities to help the Church more fully express love, community, and the Good News.

Today, I find these three straight lines of protecting and nurturing the disadvantaged, the creation and the Church converging into one line at Care of Creation.

SL: What is Care of Creation about and what does it do?

KH: Care of Creation is a faith-based environmental action organization and ministry.  Although based locally here in Madison, WI we have global scope and impact.   Overall, Care of Creation mobilizes the Church to become more of what God calls it to be.  In particular we help the Church and its people not only embrace creation-care as a central part of its mission but live out a God-centered response to today’s environmental crisis.

Our current major initiatives include convening regional “Care of Creation and the Gospel” conferences around the globe, teaching a faith-rooted model of sustainable agriculture called “Farming God’s Way” through teams in Africa, and practicing “environmental missions”.  In addition we use live in-person seminars, social media presence, on-going blog posts by staff and guests, along with talks, plus collaborative networking with other advocates and allied organizations to spread the creation-care word.

All three of my straight lines converge at Care of Creation.  By nurturing the Church in these ways we nurture and protect creation.  By nurturing and protecting creation we nurture and protect the disadvantaged.  The poor and disenfranchised are the ones who otherwise suffer first and most the consequences of our current environmental crisis.  These consequences include droughts and degraded soils driving farm output down and food prices up, sea levels rising to wash out poor coastal communities and fossil fuel pollution increasing asthma rates.”

P.S. – I [Sterling] am sharing these ideas just a handful of days before Care of Creation holds its Tenth Anniversary Celebration.  You are invited to the party!  Festivities begin at 6:30 pm April 18, 2015 at Christ Presbyterian Church, 944 E. Gorham St, Madison, WI.  The gathering time will offer  conversation, light refreshments and desserts. The formal program begins at 7:30 with a scheduled keynote from Cal DeWitt, UW Madison Professor Emeritus of the Nelson Institute and father of modern Evangelical Environmentalism.  For details and to RSVP please go here.  I hope to see you there.”

For the rest of the article, go to http://www.mightypurpose.me/ideas/god-draws-straight-but-with-crooked-lines