Category Archives: Our Role

And a Child Will Lead Them…

(A version of this blog post was distributed as the Climate Caretakers Weekly Prayer Newsletter of March 12, 2019)

Climate Action Signs of Hope & Opportunities for Prayer in a New Generation; part 2

The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them. Isaiah 11:6 NIV

by Kermit Hovey

I have been struck by additional recent developments. Youth of the world now organize to call those supposedly in-charge adults to take long overdue action against climate change. One In particular, the Global Youth Climate Strike, happens this Friday, March 15. Swedish 9th Grader Greta Thunberg boldly, plainly and forthrightly expressed that sentiment at the 2018 United Nations climate conference in Poland. Greta has since inspired the upcoming strike and plans for additional actions.

15 year old activist Greta Thunberg speaks truth to power at the UN COP24 climate talks.

These developments stirred to my mind Isaiah 11:6, in particular the closing clause, “…and a little child will lead them.” There are certainly Continue reading

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

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.

Image result for hello my name is
– 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