Tag Archives: hunger

Intimations of Mortality

Originally published August 13, 2010.

William Wordsworth’s most famous work is Ode: Intimations of Immortality From Reflections of Early Childhood.” It is one of my favorite poems, exploring the lost pleasures of childhood that Wordsworth believes are hints of the immortality we left behind:

It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
Turn wheresoe’er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

And again,

Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

Setting aside theological mysteries and controversies for another day, what has preoccupied me for that last month and a half has not been immortality, past or future, but increasing intimations of mortality:  My own,as I have experienced an unusual and thought provoking spell of genuine illness, something unusual for me; but also increasing intimations of mortality in the world in which we live, highlighted by the Gulf oil spill but buttressed by a host of other events. Continue reading

Drought and famine (again)

 

Originally published July 18, 2011.  Farming God’s Way in Kenya is going strong today, continuing to provide “famine prevention” skills combined with discipleship training.

It has been a year of flood and drought.  This spring’s floods along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers are old news to most of us, as is the ongoing drought in Texas, which is breaking records set as long ago as 1917, long before the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s.   

 But nowhere in the world are things as bad as what is happening in East Africa, not far from where Craig and Tracy Sorley are serving in Kenya. 

 The Worst Drought in 60 Years

“Once More Into the Abyss”.   That’s how the Economist news magazine described the developing drought in Kenya and other East African countries a week or so ago:

BLOATED bellies with stick arms and legs; huge eyes staring out of skeletal heads; gaunt mothers trying to suckle babies on withered breasts. The world thought it might never see such scenes again. Famine in Africa, absent for many years, appeared to have gone the way of diseases for which we now have cures or vaccines. 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

Creation Care in the Press: Two articles you’ll want to read

While it is hard to find a mainstream newspaper or magazine that does not have one, two or more stories on environmental topics these days.  Out “in the world” the crisis enveloping God’s creation is apparent and people are concerned.  Scanning the pages of Christian periodicals and journals yields the opposite result:  Little or no coverage of anything remotely environmental.  Which is why it is encouraging to find creation care appearing in two important magazines and journals in the last couple of weeks.  Read on and click through – they are both worth your time.

My colleague in Kenya, Craig Sorley, has an important paper in the latest issue of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research.  The entire issue is devoted to the topic of Creation Care, including topics like Mission and the Care of Creation by Jonathan J. Bonk [HTML or PDF] and Historical Trends in Missions and Earth Care by Dana L. Robert [HTML or PDF].   [All these papers require free registration to read.] Continue reading

Easter People – in a Good Friday World?

courtesy Thomas Schneider

This is the message we have just sent from Care of Creation to our friends and partners around the world. It’s topic is appropriate to Our Father’s World friends and readers, I think. May you have a truly blessed and deeply meaningful Holy Weekend whereever you are!

“Easter People in a Good Friday world.”

This phrase grabbed the attention of a few people earlier this week – in part, I suppose, because it was heard on NPR. Host Michele Norris was interviewing writer Ann Lamott about Easter. Citing the tension she feels between the world as it should be and the world as it is, Lamott quoted another author, Barbara Johnson: “We are Easter people living in a Good Friday world.”

Of course, most of the people around us are actually Good Friday people living in a Good Friday world. Continue reading

Another Food Crisis

This won’t be a surprise to those who paid attention to some of the serious weather events of 2010:  When Russia’s wildfires exploded, we heard that Russia would be banning wheat exports for the immediate future.  Then Pakistan lost an entire rice harvest and a good deal of wheat due to the worst flooding in that nation’s history – requiring Pakistan to import more than it normally would have done.  And now Australia’s floods are affecting not only coal but  wheat and other commodities. Continue reading