On living on a finite planet

Originally posted January 6th, 2011.  

 

Do we live in a world of limitations or one of potentially inexhaustible resources?

Wayne Grudem, writing in Politics According to the Bible, makes this rather astounding statement in an attempt to persuade his reader that there’s really nothing to worry about with regard to the global environmental crisis:

“Long term trends show that human beings will be able to live on the earth enjoying ever-increasing prosperity, and never exhausting its resources.” (p. 332)

I’ll be doing an in-depth review of Grudem’s book in the near future – let’s just say for now that it’s kind of hard to believe that he and I are living on the same planet.  Case in point: two different news items over the last couple of days: Continue reading

Research to Watch: How do humans affect wildlife?

Calvin of Bill Watterson’s famous comic has a few iconic lines, such as “It’s a magical world, Hobbes ol’ buddy…Let’s go exploring!” This is exactly how I picture scientific research, especially in the field of ecology.  Our home is so immense, so complex, and there’s so much to discover!  The more we know, the more we marvel at God’s handiwork.

Madison County, Montana. Shared under the Creative Commons license.

A recent study from the Wildlife Conservation Society compared how songbirds in two very different habitats, the Adirondack forest region of New York and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in Montana, respond to human development going on around them.  Human development of a rural area means that the habitat will be changed structurally–a house replaces trees, et cetera.

The scientists asked the question, “do songbirds in different habitats respond in Continue reading

The Wisdom of the Caterpillar

Papilio machaon  Swallowtail caterpillarIn this season of renewal and resolutions, we have high hopes for the coming year, and expectations of change and growth.  In Philippians 3:12-14, Paul writes from prison, urging the church at Philippi to not become stagnant, but to continue to make progress in their faith.  He writes,

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal,but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Continue reading

A Walk in the Woods

Bill Bryson spent several months walking the Appalachian trail in order to write his book, A Walk in the Woods.  I just spent an hour on a bike trail near my home in Madison WI yesterday afternoon.  Bill got a whole book (yes, it’s worth reading – go find it!), while I got about five paragraphs, though in terms of words per hour invested, I’m probably ahead of him.  In terms of useful thoughts, you’ll have to let me know.  It was a profitable hour for me: Continue reading

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

The Parable of the Corals

Beloved Planet is a blog run by our good friend John Elwood, and with his permission we are cross-posting this excellent article originally published Dec. 1, 2014.

The Parable of the Corals

“For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” (Romans 12:3-5)

On the evening of June 11, 1770, Captain James Cook and his fellow explorers aboard His Majesty’s bark Endeavour sailed cautiously under a full moon along Australia’s east coast – a wild terra incognita never before seen by Western eyes. The calm of the tropical night was broken only by the sighing of the wind in the sails, and call of the “leadsman” in the ship’s bow, throwing his lead-weighted line into the black water ahead to measure its depth beneath the ship’s keel. For days now, the passage between the massive landmass to the west and the Great Barrier Reef to the east had been narrowing, and vigilance was required to assure the safety of the ship’s 94 living souls, now almost two years into an epic journey of discovery.

Austrialian replica of HMS Endevour

“Fourteen fathoms,” came the call from the leadsman – 84 feet, a comfortable depth for any ship. “Sixteen fathoms.” No worries disturbed the quiet evening. “Seventeen fathoms.” More than one hundred feet of blessed, deep water.

The leadsman prepared to cast his line again, but the throw was never made. With a sickening, splintering jolt, the Endeavourcame to a jarring halt, the sea grinding the ship’s broken timbers on sharp corals with every swell, pouring into the hull beneath the gunwales.

Stricken and alone in the remotest corner of the world, Continue reading

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