Category Archives: God’s Creation

The Climate Crises of Tomorrow Are Here Today – What Now? PRAY

The Climate Crises of Tomorrow Are Here Today

Climate Change is not a “tomorrow” problem. These photos come from within a couple miles of my house on Hubbard Ave near Park St in Middleton, Wisconsin in the aftermath of August 20ths torrential downpours. My wife’s and my house lost electrical power last week from 9 pm that Monday to about 7 am Tuesday but only had a little water seepage in the basement. We did have to mount a rescue expedition after the downpour finally lightened to retrieve our daughter. Roads were nevertheless still obstructed by debris, water and abandoned cars. She and her car had sheltered with others at the Denny’s restaurant near WestTowne Mall from the street flooding deluge. Sadly, one man was swept away by roadside floodwaters to his death a few blocks away.

( Pic and Caption details, thanks to Mark Opitz, Facebook Posts)
Railroad tracks turned into a “railroad bridge” after embankment washed out by raging South Fork of Pheasant Branch Creek in Middleton, WI. The creek drains much of far western Madison, west of Gammon Rd.

Meanwhile in Middleton, police directed patrons of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse to not leave due to flood waters surging through surrounding streets. Nearby, customers, employees and random Continue reading

What’s Palm Sunday got to do with creation care and climate change?

John 12:13-15 (NIV) They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!”  Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:“Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”

As I sat in the sanctuary this past Palm Sunday I reflected on how this holy day might shape a sharing I hoped to make.  I wanted to inform and inspire my fellow congregants about creation care and Christian missions. I also wanted to invite prayer for the fast approaching April 6 & 7, 2018 conference on those very two essentials.  Many hands , including some from Care of Creation, had helped  plan and prepare “Creation Care at the Frontiers of Missions“.

Of course within Missions we find the Gospel,  within the Gospel we find creation care, within creation care we find climate care, and – it clicked suddenly – within Palm Sunday we find creation.  In the Continue reading

MLK, Jr’s Life and Words Challenge All To Pursue Justice – Racial, Economic, Environmental

Martin LUther King, Jr's quote suggests his vision that all the world and its occupants are interconnected.
Martin Luther King, Jr’s quote suggests his vision that all the world and its occupants are interconnected.

Last year, immediately after the 45th President’s inauguration January 20, 2017, people of faith in Madison, WI joined with multitudes around the country. They participated in prayer vigil events over the course of the first 100 Hours of the new presidency.  They implored God to guide the new administration to “Keep Good Faith On Our Climate Commitments.” Prayerful reflection and thoughtful exhortation aptly drew from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words, life and spirit. People gathered in the shadow of his birthday and holiday as well as on the near eve of Black History Month. As then, so again now, the words offered up by Rev. Nick Utphall drew from Rev. King to speak timely truth to power and encouragement to those laboring for justice – racial, environmental, and economic.  Despite disappointing progress and discouraging regress, God calls us to faithfully persevere NOW:

A lot depends on perspective in these days, and so depending on your perspective, you might find it either a fitting coincidence or grotesquely ironic that this week ending in inauguration began with the observance of Martin Luther King day.

Whether good or ill, I’ve been considering the Rev. King’s words and example amid this moment. There are, again, things both more and less helpful.

Less helpful to me feels that grand reassurance oft repeated by Rev. King, that the arc of the moral universe is long but that it bends toward justice. Overall, I have that hope Continue reading

Advent: Look Busy? Be Faithful! Prepare By Care

Traditional advent candles shed light on this season of reflection and anticipation.
Traditional advent candles shed light on this season of reflection and anticipation.

As Advent invites us to prepare for the arrival of Christ, it challenges us to care for creation and protect the climate.  In this article, first published in December’s Climate Caretaker’s Newsletter, I explore this challenge and suggest some responses.

The church secretary rushed into the pastor’s office and said, “This is incredible, Jesus is riding into the parking lot on a donkey. What should we do?” The pastor turned back to his keyboard, resumed typing and said, “Don’t just stand there, look busy.”

This joke comes to mind as I consider the work of Climate Caretakers and the opportunity of Advent. We have just begun these days of Advent on the journey to Christmas. It is a time, a season, for reflection and spiritual preparation. A time when, to one extent or another, churches invite their members to exercise their empathy and imagination. Advent opens up time and Continue reading

Hurricanes and Climate Change – Science, Faith and Humanity

Hurricane making landfall at Key West, courtesy of https://www.goodfreephotos.com/weather/hurricane-making-landfall-at-key-west.jpg.php
Hurricane making landfall at Key West, courtesy of https://www.goodfreephotos.com/weather/hurricane-making-landfall-at-key-west.jpg.php

Hurricanes regrettably link to climate change.  Although pouring gasoline on the fire might not cause an explosion, it still isn’t a good idea because it will make things worse.  Likewise fueling climate change by pouring carbon dioxide into the atmosphere might not cause any specific hurricane or extreme weather event, but it still isn’t a good idea because it will make things worse.

For a snapshot of the science linking hurricanes to climate change, view this 3 minute video from Vox.com, How Climate Change Boosts Hurricanes Like Harvey .

For a snapshot of the faith and humanity stirred up by hurricanes in an age of climate change, see the words of our friend from Climate Caretakers, Lee Anne Johnson in Fort Myers, FL, who writes:

“There’s a terrible pit-of-the-stomach feeling that accompanies an approaching disaster. Before Irma, I had only experienced it second-hand, such as neighboring cities devastated by Continue reading

Guest Post – What’s In A Name?

Oregon Zoo Education Curator, Grant Spickelmier, sheds light on why God tasked humans with naming creation.

Original post from Green Jesus, shared with permission.

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– via –

When my son was two and half years old, he came to visit me at work. He was pretty excited because I am employed by one of the most kid-friendly workplaces in the world … the zoo!

After lunch, we walked through the tropics building to visit some of his favorite animals including the sun bears and the Komodo dragon. Next, we walked past a black and white animal with a stout body and a long nose. A woman standing nearby explained to her toddler, “Look honey, that’s an anteater.” My son tightened his grip on my hand and said “No!” He looked at the woman and corrected her loudly “No! That’s a tapir!” While slightly embarrassed, I felt a flash of pride sweep through me as I thought, “That’s my boy!” Continue reading