Tag Archives: missions

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

New Literature that’s worth reading: Tending to Eden by Scott Sabin

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

Missionaries Changed the World Once – Can they do it again?

This is article is a repost from InterVarsity’s Emerging Scholar’s Blog.  Thanks to Tom Grosh for permission to cross-post.

The topic of a recent cover story in Christianity Today is shaking up not only the world of missions, but also academia. The World the Missionaries Made is a report on the work of Robert Woodberry, a sociologist currently researching at the Political Science Department of the National University of Singapore. CT’s Executive Editor Andy Crouch calls it the CT cover story of which he is most proud. Its thesis and Woodberry’s work support a remarkable conclusion – that a generation of “conversionary protestant missionaries” (see note) laid a foundation for democracy around the world. Continue reading

Climate Change and Creation Care as seen from the Congo

Spring 2013 class

At Care of Creation we were recently contacted by a Christian University in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  A group of students there was looking to publish a jointly-written report on environment and climate change as they experience it.   The following article, written by students from Université Chrétienne Bilingue du Congo/Christian Bilingual University of Congo (UCBC), highlights some recent creation care activities in the surrounding communities.  DRC is a nation wearied by war, severe poverty, governmental ineptitude, and endemic corruption.  It is in this context that the activities described in the report reveal something of the character of UCBC–an institution whose vision is to “raise up indigenous, Christian leaders to transform their communities and the nation of DRC.”  Read, ponder – and pray.  And let us know if you would like to help in some way.  (This article is cross-posted on the main Care of Creation website. The authors are Adeito Masika Tahirana, Annie Mboligihe, Baraka Kambale Alex, Nadine Kavira Vitya, and Patrick Masomeko Mikajo.)

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the majority of the population is rural and lives dependent on the forest and subsistence farming. DRC’s Congo Basin rainforest is sometimes referred to as the  “second lung of the earth” because of its size, second only to the Amazon basin. However, through the growing lumber industry, people who live in this vast rainforest area often seek to supplement their livelihood by clearing forest trees to sell timber and produce charcoal for cooking. As the population grows rapidly, this activity has direct impacts on climate and the health of the land as the rainforest shrinks to make way for farmland and the lumber industry.

Continue reading

A Tale of Two Cities

I flew into Dubai early yesterday morning from a two week stint in Kenya and Tanzania.  Coming from one of the least developed areas of the world – I spent a week without electricity and running water – into one of the most developed cities on earth and home to the world’s tallest building, I was reminded of this article which I wrote for The Other Journal three years ago after a similar trip.  Enjoy…

There are few air hops that will give you a greater contrast than the four-hour trip from Nairobi to Dubai.

Nairobi is the capital of one of the poorer nations in the world, the home of the infamous Kibera slum, and a textbook case of how population growth, rapid unplanned development, and massive environmental degradation result in poverty and human suffering. Flying out of Nairobi, you can see signs of distress in every direction just by looking out of the plane window.

Dubai is one of the wealthiest cities on earth. Flying into Dubai, evidence of prosperity is as obvious as the poverty of Nairobi. High-rise buildings grow out of desert sands, massive highways clog with traffic. The terminal itself is more of a shopping mall with jetways than an airport: a temple to consumerism. Every imaginable gadget, garment, and trinket is on offer at prices that may be as low as anywhere else in the world.

But there’s another way to look at these cities. Let’s rewind and put on a different set of glasses:

Read the rest of the article here.

If the theme interests you, pick up a copy of my latest book, When Heaven and Nature Sing at careofcreation.net or on Amazon.

How abusing God’s creation makes natural events unnatural

DSCN6254This 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