A Tale of Two Cities

I flew into Dubai early yesterday morning from a two week stint in Kenya and Tanzania.  Coming from one of the least developed areas of the world – I spent a week without electricity and running water – into one of the most developed cities on earth and home to the world’s tallest building, I was reminded of this article which I wrote for The Other Journal three years ago after a similar trip.  Enjoy…

There are few air hops that will give you a greater contrast than the four-hour trip from Nairobi to Dubai.

Nairobi is the capital of one of the poorer nations in the world, the home of the infamous Kibera slum, and a textbook case of how population growth, rapid unplanned development, and massive environmental degradation result in poverty and human suffering. Flying out of Nairobi, you can see signs of distress in every direction just by looking out of the plane window.

Dubai is one of the wealthiest cities on earth. Flying into Dubai, evidence of prosperity is as obvious as the poverty of Nairobi. High-rise buildings grow out of desert sands, massive highways clog with traffic. The terminal itself is more of a shopping mall with jetways than an airport: a temple to consumerism. Every imaginable gadget, garment, and trinket is on offer at prices that may be as low as anywhere else in the world.

But there’s another way to look at these cities. Let’s rewind and put on a different set of glasses:

Read the rest of the article here.

If the theme interests you, pick up a copy of my latest book, When Heaven and Nature Sing at careofcreation.net or on Amazon.

How abusing God’s creation makes natural events unnatural

DSCN6254This post comes to you from an airport lounge in Nairobi, Kenya, where I am waiting for my flight to Tanzania to visit the new Care of Creation project in Iringa.  Meanwhile, I am thinking of the many people, sights and sounds from the last week.  One of the most important events is actually one that happened on April 28, a week before I arrived, when an unaturally large rainfall event caused a portion of the mountain above the community where our project is located to slide down.  Such an event is a natural part of God’s creation – or is it?

The evidence of God’s grace and mercy in the aftermath of the April 28th landslide in Kijabe, Kenya, is clear.  The slide happened after midnight on a Saturday night, so the path the slide took down the main street of the town (which runs straight down the slope) hit no vehicles, no houses and  no people.  It did wipe out several hundred meters of the boundary fence of Rift Valley Academy, and could have done serious damage to a local high school and the famous Kijabe Christian Hospital but for a strong fence and row of trees at the bottom of the street – and because of the damming effect of a railway line above the town – but we’ll come back to that in a minute. Continue reading

Repost: Old Literature: Cry the Beloved Country

I am currently in Kenya, being reminded once again of the enormous human toll caused by environmental degradation.  This post is four years old, but perhaps even more relevant than when first published:

Alan Paton wrote his novel in 1946, published in 1948.  It is set in South Africa.  What is startling about the book is that the first two pages could have been written about Kenya – and could have been written yesterday.

The lessons from today’s reading are painfully clear:  1)Environmental degradation is not a new problem.  Abuse of God’s creation is, apologies to Paton, as old as the hills.   As ancient as human nature.  If you’ll allow me to quote myself in Our Father’s World, ‘environmental problems are sin problems.’

And, 2)Why don’t we learn?  If it was obvious that people were destroying the very land they needed to live on more than 60 years ago, why do we keep acting surprised?  Why do we think we can solve this with more fertilizer or another loan from the World Bank?

Here’s the reading.  (Pick up the book here)

Continue reading

Looking for Hope on Earth Day #44

“Hope springs eternal,” we say, and Earth Day certainly demonstrates that truth.  Earth Day was founded in hope in 1970; as you will read below, we are still hopeful.  The question is, should we be?  In the face of all of our challenges, where should we look for real hope?  These are my Earth Day #44 thoughts (see some earlier year’s thoughts here and here:

Madison Wisconsin, can arguably claim to be the historical center of the modern US environmental movement.  This small city has direct connections to many of  the movement’s pioneers:  John Muir (Yellowstone National Park), Aldo Leopold (“Sand County Almanac” and many other works), Sigurd Olsen (The US/Canadian Boundary Waters), Gaylord Nelson (founder of the first Earth Day), and Cal DeWitt (Au Sable Institute).  Perhaps because of these historical connections, the current voices of the environmental movement can often be heard in this city, and what these voices are saying – and not saying – is worth noting. Continue reading

The Victory that is Easter

Every year I try to write an Easter-themed devotional. (See some previous posts here.)  Here are this year’s thoughts on the occasion of Holy Week.  This will be emailed to our newsletter list in a few days, but as many on this blog and on our Facebook pages don’t get the newsletter, here’s your copy early.  Enjoy – and let me know what you think in the comments.

It is the start of Holy Week.  We Christians of whatever label take time this week to remember and celebrate events that are at the heart of our faith:  A coronation march into an ancient city.  A sham trial.  A barbaric execution.  An unexpected finale with earthquakes, empty tombs, and wild rumors.  And finally, a dead man come to life.  Euphoria, despair, confusion, victory – all in one short week. Continue reading

“Our Father’s World” documentary with Pastor Joel Hunter, Bill Hybels, etc.

We haven’t had many really quality creation care video products come out recently; this one is an exception.  Pastor Joel Hunter of Northland Church in Orlando narrates, there are clips from Bill Hybels, Scott Sabin, Tony Campolo, Mark Liederbach and many others, along with beautiful photography and a consistent powerful message:  It’s not our world, it belongs to God.  And we have to take care of it.

The film runs about a half an hour, but it is worth the time.  Highly recommended for those of your friends who might be wondering about this creation care stuff but aren’t quite sure.  (Also recommended – the book of the same title that has no connection to the film… !)

Enjoy!

A Conversation about God, His Creation and Our Role in Creation

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