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

Deep calls to Deep

People view sturgeon fish at the Beijing Aquarium on 30 May 2012. BBC © 2014

“The Chinese sturgeon, thought to have existed for more than 140 million years, is now on the brink of extinction, according to local media.”

This is from a recent article I found on the BBC, and I couldn’t help but think of how the Yangtze River has already suffered the extinction of the Baiji dolphin, when in 2006 a concerted search failed to find any evidence of a remnant population.  Two well-known species likely gone in less than ten years.

I will admit that the Chinese sturgeon has no impact on my life here in Madison, Wisconsin.  I highly doubt I’ll ever see one in person (I’ve never seen a live sturgeon native to this area, either).  Yet I find myself indignant that yet another of God’s creations will likely disappear for good.  Why do I feel this way?  So what if it goes extinct? 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

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

Reviving a Sense of Wonder

The first of Andrea Ebley’s monthly posts on the blog.  

IMG_3877wonder n : rapt attention or astonishment at something awesomely mysterious or new to one’s experience

Children embody the definition of wonder, a sense that inspires curiosity and investigation, and fosters delight. How often do you see a child running to catch falling leaves or jumping from curb to puddle, completely absorbed in his actions and oblivious to all else? How often do you see a full-grown adult doing those same things? Continue reading