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
What exactly does an organization like Care of Creation Kenya (sister organization to Care of Creation Inc. which I direct) do, and whatever it is, does it make a difference? Here’s a blog post from the Alliance for Religions and Conservation in the UK, reporting on the experience of a woman in Tanzania who took experienced one of CCK’s training programs in Nairobi. Does it make a difference? Judge for yourself:
A surprise phone call from Tanzania
By Susie Weldon, July 23, 2013:
||ARC’s Susie Weldon on a visit to farming projects in Uganda
I was heading home from work near Bath, UK, the other day when I got the best call I’d had for weeks. I didn’t recognise the number but I knew it was from Africa. The voice on the line was Judith Atamba, a minister with the Methodist Church in Tanzania.
The last time I’d spoken to Judith was 14 months earlier, after she’d made the two-day trek from her post near Lake Victoria in Tanzania to attend a workshop I’d organised in Kenya on Farming God’s Way.
And now here she was on my mobile phone, her voice full of enthusiasm. “I want to tell you I’ve been going everywhere preaching about Farming God’s Way,” she shouted down the crackly line. “I tell everyone about it – and now I have managed to get a good piece of land to set up demonstration farms.” …
[Read the rest of the post on the ARC website here.]
This 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
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)
Just over five years ago, Kenyans went to the polls. As in other countries, the election results were far from clear cut – but instead of taking to the airwaves or to the courts, Kenyans took to the streets with machetes and gasoline cans. More than 1000 people were killed, the country came to a standstill for months, and thousands were displaced from their homes and farms. It’s election time again in Kenya…
S0 I’m asking you to pray for this beautiful piece of God’s creation this week, that God’s peace will descend on it. Things are different this time: While the electorate remains ethnically divided, the major ethnic groups have chosen different partners – like the second half of an evening of bridge. Where the Kikuyu and Luo were aligned last time against the Kalenjin, in this chapter it’s Kikuyu and Kalenjin against Luo and Kamba, with a fifth group, the Luhya, in a position to decide the election.
Confused? So are some Kenyans, according to an excellent write up in the New York Times today: Continue reading
Care of Creation’s Kenya project is housed in Kijabe, on the campus of Moffatt Bible College, overlooking the Great Rift Valley of central Kenya. Kijabe town is perched on the edge of the Rift Valley escarpment, with steep slopes all around covered by forest – forest that has been under siege for many years. The destruction of the forest is suddenly creating a monumental problem for the Bible School, a major mission hospital, a school for missionary children – and Uganda’s only rail link to the port of Mombasa. Read on:
East Africa, suffering from years of drought, suddenly finds itself almost drowning in rain. It has been raining hard for weeks – and the rains, normally a blessing to be prayed for and for which songs of praise are offered, these rains are bringing a new level of challenge all their own. Persistent, ongoing and accelerating deforestation has left the slopes of the escarpment unstable. Landslides over the last few weeks have destroyed one of the waterlines supplying Moffatt Bible College, Kijabe Mission Hospital and Rift Valley Academy. Road access to the hospital is threatened by slides – potentially much more important, a railway line that links the country of Uganda to the port of Mombasa has been blocked several times already. Continue reading