Tag Archives: Lowell Bliss

Plain Speech from the Heart(ache)land

The John Brown Mural hangs in the Kansas Statehouse.
The John Brown Mural hangs in the Kansas Capitol Building. That is a Bible that the crazed abolitionist is holding in his hand.

by guest writer, Lowell Bliss

The next time you hope for some plain-speaking legislation to come out of your state legislature, you may want to take a moment and be careful what you wish for.   This is the story of three environmental bills recently introduced in the Kansas statehouse. I live in Kansas.  We’re generally known for being plain-spoken.

Our governor Sam Brownback says he has an “All of the Above” energy policy.  I do not consider that plain-speaking any more than when President Obama uses the same phrase.  “All of the above” means that an executive can throw a sop to renewable energies without threatening the continued exploitation of fossil fuels. And thus we have our first bill, House Bill 2241, which wants to give our state utility companies a break on the Renewable Portfolio Standard.  They will no longer have to get a certain percentage of their energy requirements from renewables by the original deadlines – 10% by 2010, 15% by 2016 and 20% by 2020.  Surely these deadlines aren’t onerous for America’s second windiest state.  Even our name is a Native American term for “People of the South Wind.”  The bill also grants vague exemptions for “firm transmission” (i.e. standards don’t go in effect if there aren’t transmission lines available) and “excessive costs.”  There were a couple of occasions last summer when the nation of Germany reached the 50% mark in obtaining its electricity from renewables. Germans are the largest ethnicity designation of Kansas citizens.  Perhaps we could take some inspiration from the Old Country. Continue reading

Launching the Agabus Project Podcast

by Lowell Bliss, guest contributor

Eden Vigil is very pleased to announce the launch of the Agabus Project podcast.  In our pilot episode, we interview A Rocha founder Peter Harris about the creation care legacy of his dear friend, John Stott.   John Stott, who passed away this past summer, was a charter board member of A Rocha and accompanied Peter on many birdwatching expeditions.  His commitment to creation care, as an indispensable component of discipleship, was unequivocal.

You can find the Agabus Project on iTunes and also here:

“Peter Harris on the Creation Care Legacy of John Stott”

Since I’m posting this at Our Father’s World, may I break professionalism and say, “I’m having a blast!”  I love the excuse to chat on the phone with those who feel so passionately about creation care, and who think so biblically about it.  For example, our second episode this month features Joel Salatin, farmer at Polyface Farms and author of a new book Folks, This Ain’t Normal!  Many people are familiar with Joel Salatin, but did you know he is an evangelical believer?

Link to the website: www.agabusproject.org

The Creation Care Movement is Alive and Well!

Photo courtesy Flickr CC License

The evangelical creation care movement, though almost invisible to many, has been around for quite a few years.  One of its most visible historical markers is probably the founding of Au Sable Institute in 1979, thirty-three years ago now – but well before that date there were many individuals and a few small organizations seeking to promote what was then called ‘Christian environmental stewardship.’  There are many more of us now, and there is a lot of good work going on, but we still fly below the radar in most cases.

So it was enlightening and important that many of the current key players in this movement were on the phone together last week to share what we’re all doing, and perhaps more to the point, what God is doing to continue to foster and strengthen this movement.

Here’s a brief summary with bullet points of the highlights.  [If you’d like to hear a recording of the phone call yourself, just call  (507) 726-4220 and choose to listen to recording #1.]  Continue reading

People (and people groups) live somewhere

Subtitle: The Mission Field as field. . . and forest and river and mountain and topsoil

by Lowell Bliss, guest contributor

Ed has asked me to re-post this article from a recent issue of our Environmental Missions Prayer Digest, in particular as a means to discuss one way in which

Pray to Jesus for Tiger Protection: The people of the Sunderbans Mangroves (#139), from the Environmental Missions Prayer Digest

creation care can affect how the Church goes about doing missions: evangelism, discipleship, and church-planting.  “Go and make disciples of ta ethne, all nations,” the Great Commission says.   Even the Greek renderings of the words indicate that making disciples occurs among ethnic groups, or people groups.  Political nations may grant missionaries their passports and entry visas, but ministry occurs among smaller cultural and linguistic communities.  But what about ministry in something we would define as ecoregions?  To what extent should the local biosphere inform how we preach the Gospel to a particular people group?

A 1982 Lausanne Committee meeting in Chicago offered the following definition of a people group:  “A significantly large ethnic or sociological grouping of individuals who perceive themselves to have a common affinity for one another. For evangelistic purposes, it is the largest group within which the Gospel can spread as a church planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance.”  A creation care perspective looks at this definition from a number of assumptions.  One is that these “individuals” are homo sapiens, and thus not disembodied souls floating in a simple construct of culture and language.  People live, and they live somewhere.  That physical “somewhere” means something; it creates a valid “common affinity for one another.”  It also greatly affects how one hears and interacts with the Gospel.

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What Goes Up, Must Come Down: new CO2 report

by Lowell Bliss, guest contributor

Dancing at a Pakistani wedding is a safer celebration than gunfire. It's an analogy we can stand to learn in God's "what goes up, must come down" creation.

“What goes up, must come down,” is one of those multi-purpose aphorisms, functional on the natural level as well as the moral.   A physicist might use it to describe the Law of Gravity.  A preacher might recite it in a sermon on Galatians 6:7: “for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

Last week, the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Lab reported that global carbon-dioxide emissions saw their biggest one-year rise, a 6 percent jump in 2010.  (The report is linked here.)  Tom Boden, director of the lab, calls it a “big jump.”  His colleague, Gregg Marland, a professor of geology at Appalachian State University, was a bit more descriptive: it’s a “monster” increase, Marland said.  Part of the monstrosity no doubt is how the study indicates that emissions are now growing faster than what the IPCC projected as a worst-case scenario in its 2007 report.  A worsened pace of carbon emissions will result in higher projected temperature averages (up now to 5.2° C by 2100, according to MIT models.)

What goes up—including CO2 molecules—must come down, but in the case of carbon dioxide, it may take 100 years or so.  It is true that our planet’s oceans and vegetation act as carbon sinks, that is, they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, albeit at a rate slower than what industrial society and natural processes are emitting it.   A single molecule of CO2 will float unmolested in the atmosphere for one hundred years.  Continue reading

Wangari Maathai proposes an Easter Monday celebration

Guest post: Lowell Bliss of Eden Vigil

“Wangari Maathai–Nobel laureate, founder of the Green Belt Movement, and sister-in-Christ Jesus–passed away on Sunday, Sept. 25, at the age of 71.  We at Eden Vigil wish her the joy of her resurrection.”

Ed has asked that I post this latest issue of the Environmental Missions Prayer Digest, something I’m happy to do.  But first let me forward a story from Ed himself.  On Sept. 28, Ed wrote:

Wangari was a good friend of Care of Creation Kenya. . . . She did attend a 2006 God and Creation conference – funny story there:  She had been invited and finally showed up on the last day of the conference.  They had to give her platform time which turned out to be right before my presentation, which was to be the closing talk of the conference.  Well, she took the entire slot (45 minutes) which meant that by the time I got up to talk, it was already past lunchtime…  wouldn’t have worked in the US, but these were Africans – so I just pretended there was no clock in the room and took my entire time as well (and then some, as I recall!).  I had the honor of a future-Nobelist telling me after that she ‘enjoyed my talk very much.’ Of course, at that time we had no idea that she would be winning the Nobel.

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