All posts by Ed Brown

A Church, a Smartphone and a Sin that has to stop

2014-09-23 13.13.36A church stands silent, hiding in the woods, surrounded by leaning, moss-covered gravestones, as it has for almost a thousand years. I use my ever-present smartphone to snap pictures of this monument to an ancient faith that still guides my own life. As I seek to capture the mood of the place, I am struck by the juxtaposition of time frames that I am experiencing. The device in my hand, one of the latest Android devices, was only invented a few years ago, and will likely be obsolete and useless within two or three more. Everything about my life changes in a year, often even more quickly, but this place has stood for centuries and will likely be here for centuries more.

The contrast between a church a thousand years old and the smartphone that will last less than two is jarring and disturbing.

Let me explain… Continue reading

Not-so-old Literature: Wendell Berry and the Pleasure of God

Originally published June 9, 2009.

Wendell Berry [courtesy Wikipedia Images]
Wendell Berry (courtesy David Aaron Marshall)
“Wendell Berry (born August 5, 1934, Henry County, Kentucky) is an American man of letters, academic, cultural and economic critic, and farmer. He is a prolific author of novels, short stories, poems, and essays. He is also an elected member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.” – thus Wikipedia introduces one of my favorite authors.  Among his many achievements, however, he is not listed as a theologian.

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Creation and Incarnation

Originally posted December 20, 2010.

We who advocate for creation care tend to overlook some important connections between the central beliefs of the Christian faith and our obligation to care for the world God has placed in our hands.  Christmas – when we celebrate the Incarnation, literally the ‘enfleshment’ of God in human form – is one of those overlooked connections.  The following is an excerpt from my book, Our Father’s World, chapter 3:

In middle-school and early high school, one of my children went through a serious “I have a crush” phase.  Her idol was a singer with a popular contemporary Christian music group.  An enormous poster hung over her bed, and every song he released was purchased, listened to, memorized and sung – over and over and over.  One year the group was scheduled to sing in Chicago, just three or four hours from Madison.  And it happened that the concert was close enough to my daughter’s birthday that we could make her birthday party be a trip to see her idol on stage.  So we bought the tickets.  We even paid a bit extra so that she and her friends could stand in line before the concert to meet him in person.  The great day came and everything, for once, went off without a hitch.  We arrived at the concert venue in good time, stood in line, got our autographs, put in the earplugs, and enjoyed the concert.  It was a highlight of her young life.  My ears are still ringing. Continue reading

New Literature that’s worth reading: Tending to Eden by Scott Sabin

Originally published March 3, 2010.  Have you read Tending to Eden?

“Old Literature” is an occasional feature that highlights long-forgotten books, articles, speeches or poems that still speak to us today.  As it happens, there’s some new material that also deserves our attention.  Today, Tending to Eden by Scott Sabin, Director of Plant with Purpose (formerly Floresta).

Scott Sabin and I met about 7 years ago at a conference in Kenya.  He tells about that conference in his new book,Tending to Eden that was just released two weeks ago:

Edith and I took several pastors to a conference on creation care in Kenya.  I was one of the presenters, and in the course of my presentation I showed a slide of the devasted forests around Mt Kilimanjaro National Park.  Pastor Lyamuya approached me later and, with an embarassed smile, explained how convicting it was to see the photo from his own community.  “God entrusted it to us to take care of, and we aren’t doing our job.” Continue reading

Whales, spray cans and chickens: Sometimes we do things right!

The environmental movement has been criticized at times for being too negative and ‘alarmist’.   Now, you have to be fair to those of us who study these things closely. There is usually little to be positive about and plenty of things to be frightened of. I could tell you things that I seldom mention in a public lecture, things that never make the news but that would keep you up most nights and make your skin crawl (especially if you are raising a family right now). If there really is a fire in the theater, being an “alarmist” is an obligation, not a crime.

On the other hand, I will confess that it is tempting at times to spend so much time looking at the crisis that we can ignore legitimate good news. So, at least for today, let’s set the bad news aside, and review three legitimate “good news” stories: Continue reading

Christian Camping and Creation Care – a formula for success!

Originally posted September 27th, 2011.  I (Brittany) am now a UW-Madison graduate and a full-time staff member at Care of Creation.

This summer Brittany Ederer, a student at UW-Madison, served as an intern in the Care of Creation office in Madison.  Based on her interest in camping, education nature and environment, we assigned her to start a survey project of Christian camps in Wisconsin, the upper Midwest and then throughout the country.  Are there Christian camps who are actively promoting creation care as part of their camp program?  Are they using creation care principles in caring for their properties?  This blog post is a preliminary report on a visit to one camp not far from Madison.  It turns out one of the best examples of creation care at camp is right in our own back yard.  We’re looking forward to a complete report from Brittany later on, but in the meantime, enjoy her thoughts on what’s going on at Timber-lee

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