All posts by Lowell Bliss

Praying by the Pump: Let pumping gas improve your prayer life

Gas, Gasoline, Petrol Pump, AutomobileAnother great meditation by Lowell Bliss:

When are gas prices not gas prices? There’s a childhood joke about a door not being a door when it’s ajar, and so my question about gas prices can seem like a riddle, but the answer isn’t funny; it’s philosophical.  Gas prices are not gas prices when we can turn them into a spiritual discipline.

Prices at the pump around here in Kansas have “reached” (i.e. the other direction for a change)  $1.77 a gallon.  That’s apparently the third lowest in the nation behind Oklahoma and Missouri.  I’ve heard two sets of expert economists argue whether lower gas prices are good or bad for the U.S. economy. Continue reading

Naming again all the animals

Originally published August 31st, 2011.  Is it a woodchuck, or a groundhog?

Guest blog: by Lowell Bliss

As part of our summer vacation this year, we found ourselves at Canada’s Wonderland, a colossal amusement park near Toronto.  My teenage son has discovered roller coasters as a passion, and so we strapped ourselves into the Behemoth, riding up to a height of 230 feet and then plunging down at 77 mph.  The Behemoth cost $26 million to build.  But all day it was like that: we were surrounded by acres of ingenious and costly technologies engineered with the sole purpose to amuse and thrill.

As my old body began to wane in the late afternoon, I plopped down on a park bench and waited out my kids who were on another ride.   A young teenage girl was standing nearby.  Suddenly, I heard her utter a short squeak and I felt something rustling on the ground between my ankles.  I looked down.  A chubby woodchuck wandered out from under my bench.  Behind us was a small wooded lot between paths in the amusement park.  A little stream flowed into a pool there and it was hard to tell whether this patch of nature among the tarmac was original or manufactured.  Nonetheless, it was apparently where the woodchuck lived.  I suspect it was “suppertime,” if that’s what you can call his daily allotment of popcorn and funnel cake. Continue reading

Ebola and Global Warming: When Fear of a Hoax becomes a Hex

Lowell Bliss’ monthly post.

Piltdown "gang"
Orangutan jaw and human cranial bone was combined and posited as an early human, the Piltdown Man .  It took 40 years for scientists to discover he was a hoax.

I suspect it was the word “hoax” which first caught my attention. Assuming that the Piltdown Man scandal died as a headline in 1953, we are still left with Senator James Inhofe’s now famous declaration that global climate change is “”the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” this said from the Senate floor.

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Plain Speech from the Heart(ache)land

The John Brown Mural hangs in the Kansas Statehouse.
The John Brown Mural hangs in the Kansas Capitol Building. That is a Bible that the crazed abolitionist is holding in his hand.

by guest writer, Lowell Bliss

The next time you hope for some plain-speaking legislation to come out of your state legislature, you may want to take a moment and be careful what you wish for.   This is the story of three environmental bills recently introduced in the Kansas statehouse. I live in Kansas.  We’re generally known for being plain-spoken.

Our governor Sam Brownback says he has an “All of the Above” energy policy.  I do not consider that plain-speaking any more than when President Obama uses the same phrase.  “All of the above” means that an executive can throw a sop to renewable energies without threatening the continued exploitation of fossil fuels. And thus we have our first bill, House Bill 2241, which wants to give our state utility companies a break on the Renewable Portfolio Standard.  They will no longer have to get a certain percentage of their energy requirements from renewables by the original deadlines – 10% by 2010, 15% by 2016 and 20% by 2020.  Surely these deadlines aren’t onerous for America’s second windiest state.  Even our name is a Native American term for “People of the South Wind.”  The bill also grants vague exemptions for “firm transmission” (i.e. standards don’t go in effect if there aren’t transmission lines available) and “excessive costs.”  There were a couple of occasions last summer when the nation of Germany reached the 50% mark in obtaining its electricity from renewables. Germans are the largest ethnicity designation of Kansas citizens.  Perhaps we could take some inspiration from the Old Country. Continue reading

Launching the Agabus Project Podcast

by Lowell Bliss, guest contributor

Eden Vigil is very pleased to announce the launch of the Agabus Project podcast.  In our pilot episode, we interview A Rocha founder Peter Harris about the creation care legacy of his dear friend, John Stott.   John Stott, who passed away this past summer, was a charter board member of A Rocha and accompanied Peter on many birdwatching expeditions.  His commitment to creation care, as an indispensable component of discipleship, was unequivocal.

You can find the Agabus Project on iTunes and also here:

“Peter Harris on the Creation Care Legacy of John Stott”

Since I’m posting this at Our Father’s World, may I break professionalism and say, “I’m having a blast!”  I love the excuse to chat on the phone with those who feel so passionately about creation care, and who think so biblically about it.  For example, our second episode this month features Joel Salatin, farmer at Polyface Farms and author of a new book Folks, This Ain’t Normal!  Many people are familiar with Joel Salatin, but did you know he is an evangelical believer?

Link to the website:

People (and people groups) live somewhere

Subtitle: The Mission Field as field. . . and forest and river and mountain and topsoil

by Lowell Bliss, guest contributor

Ed has asked me to re-post this article from a recent issue of our Environmental Missions Prayer Digest, in particular as a means to discuss one way in which

Pray to Jesus for Tiger Protection: The people of the Sunderbans Mangroves (#139), from the Environmental Missions Prayer Digest

creation care can affect how the Church goes about doing missions: evangelism, discipleship, and church-planting.  “Go and make disciples of ta ethne, all nations,” the Great Commission says.   Even the Greek renderings of the words indicate that making disciples occurs among ethnic groups, or people groups.  Political nations may grant missionaries their passports and entry visas, but ministry occurs among smaller cultural and linguistic communities.  But what about ministry in something we would define as ecoregions?  To what extent should the local biosphere inform how we preach the Gospel to a particular people group?

A 1982 Lausanne Committee meeting in Chicago offered the following definition of a people group:  “A significantly large ethnic or sociological grouping of individuals who perceive themselves to have a common affinity for one another. For evangelistic purposes, it is the largest group within which the Gospel can spread as a church planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance.”  A creation care perspective looks at this definition from a number of assumptions.  One is that these “individuals” are homo sapiens, and thus not disembodied souls floating in a simple construct of culture and language.  People live, and they live somewhere.  That physical “somewhere” means something; it creates a valid “common affinity for one another.”  It also greatly affects how one hears and interacts with the Gospel.

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