Tag Archives: calling

Here am I, an environmental scientist. Send me!

Building homes and other structures with common materials in Malawi.
Building homes and other structures with common materials in Malawi.  By creatively recycling materials on hand, people divert trash from being burned and creating pollution.  This could be the work of an environmental missionary!

Environmental missionaries are those sent cross-culturally to labor with Christ-the Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer of all creation-in caring for the environment and making disciples among all peoples.  ~pg. 17

Lowell Bliss, Environmental Missions: Planting Churches and Trees.  William Carey Library, 2013

In 2009 I was a college student attending my first Urbana Missions Conference, and the book “Environmental Missions” was a twinkle in Lowell’s eye.  I was not interested in overseas missions because I was studying wildlife ecology, and enjoying it very much.  I thought that I would need to be a medical professional or pastor in order to be a proper missionary.   I thought my wildlife ecology studies precluded me from missionary work.

However, the idea of environmental missions is exactly the opposite: we can care for God’s good earth and His very good creation: people…at the same time.  Join me as I reflect on a few quotes from Lowell Bliss’ book, Environmental Missions, and explore the possibility of expanding our current understanding of missionaries to include those who love God’s world.
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An engineer, a priest, a pilot and a salesman

walk into a bar…

Actually, they walked onto a plane…

(originally posted 5/9/09)

Flickr CC License
Flickr CC License

Not long ago I flew from Madison WI to Hartford CT for a speaking tour, and returned by the same route 10 days later. Two flights each direction (Madison to Detroit, Detroit to Hartford) yielded a total of four seatmates, the aforementioned engineer, priest, airline pilot and salesman, and four very interesting conversations.

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What is Care of Creation? A Personal Reflection…

Care of Creation’s Kermit Hovey, Director of Operations and Development, weighs in with his first monthly blog post to Our Father’s World.

What is Care of Creation?

It is many things – attitude, activity, vision, people-holding-hands-around-the-world-mdmission, method, lifestyle and more. For me it is especially a fresh call, a poetic understanding and a hopeful dream. It is also a small faith-based Christian environmental action outreach mission & ministry with a global reach headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin (www.CareOfCreation.org).  Somehow, it is all those things at once.

My Fresh Call to Care of Creation

I can’t remember when I have not felt an essential general call to know, follow, obey and honor God. More specifically, in and through the words of my step-grandfather to me as a young kid, I received, promptly put aside yet never totally abandoned a call to pastoral ministry. As I walked my faith out through adolescence to the brink of college I chose to attempt to do it all. As an adult with an Electrical Engineering Bachelor’s degree I volunteered in church for various pastoral, leadership and caring roles while I worked professionally in Continue reading

What’s in a calling?

Can you be “called” to environmental work?  It took me almost 10 years working in the creation care movement to discover a person who should have been one of my first heroes, Sigurd Olsen, and who was, he believed, “called” from missions to care for God’s creation.  Maybe he’s new to you, too?  [Originally published Feb 9, 2009]

I recently spent almost two weeks in the Library of Congress, discovering some new heros to add to my collection. One of the names that kept appearing was that of Sigurd Olson. Previously unknown to me (and I suspect to many others today), he was a genuine hero of the wilderness movement in the early 20th Century. Among his writings are Singing Wilderness and Listening Point, both written in the first half of the last century. Continue reading

Farewell, sisters and brothers…

John Stott’s going-home-to-glory was announced yesterday.  I wrote the piece below last September, but the thoughts are just as valid if not more so now.  If you haven’t read Uncle John’s farewell message to all of us, please do so.  There’s a link at the bottom of the post.

There are few leaders in the Christian world greater than John Stott.  I first heard him preach at Urbana 1970 – forty years ago, when I was a senior in high school.  [You can read the actual talks here – I don’t think the recordings are available on-line.]  I’ve followed his ministry career ever since, though almost always from a distance – we shook hands perhaps twice or three times, but my memory fades a bit at this point.  John is now at the end of his life, though he has not yet ended his service to the church and her Lord.  He has written one last book that is intended to be his farewell to those of us still here – and you need to read it.  Continue reading

Old Literature: Wendell Berry’s “The Gift of Good Land”

Flourish Online Magazine has been running a feature celebrating the 30th anniversary of the publication of Wendell Berry’s essay, “The Gift of Good Land”.  This essay draws lessons on “ecological and agricultural responsibility” not from Genesis 1 or 2 or even Romans 8, but from the Old Testament story of God’s gift of the Promised Land to Abraham and his descendants:  “a divine gift to a fallen people.”  And that certainly applies to us, doesn’t it?

Read the essay here, and comments from many leaders in the field of creation care here.  Below is my contribution to this collection…

On being introduced to the world of Christian environmental stewardship about ten years ago,  I found early on that I had a lot of catching up to do.  Wendell Berry was one of the authors I was directed to  who has taught and continues to teach me.  Evidently, this is true of many of my colleagues as well.  It is a privilege to be counted among those who have sat at Wendell’s feet and learned from him, and I am sure I am not the only one who wishes that that learning could have been in person rather than through the pages of his books. Continue reading