Tag Archives: redemption

After winter, spring… After despair, hope: An Easter Devotional

Tulip tip in springtime
An early sign of spring.

I’ve just come in from a walk around our office’s neighborhood.  Even though winter is technically over, the landscape is brown and dead.  There are no leaves on the trees.  There are no leaves on the bushes.  Flower beds are empty, some still covered with winter mulch.  If you dropped in from, say, Florida, your reaction might well be, “Why do you guys live in a place like this?  It feels so… dead!”

But it isn’t winter any more.  The air is warm.  Those bare branches are teeming with birds whose songs seem even louder in the stark, brown landscape.  And if you know where to look, you can see buds on trees and bushes getting ready to explode with new green leaves, and pointed green sprouts in otherwise dead flower beds.  It isn’t quite spring, but it isn’t winter any more – and we, having lived through another long, cold Wisconsin winter, breathe deep and rejoice.
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Standing Face to Face with Injustice

CC License, Wikimedia Commons

I moved from a rural farming town to the “big city” to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2008, and I’ve lived in Madison ever since.  I felt that I’ve always fit in here, and I’m proud when I tell people where I live–after all, Madison and her suburbs consistently receive recognition in contests of “Best Place to Live, Raise a Family, #1 City to Live in 2015,” and that’s pretty cool.  According to some sources, we are also the #1 Greenest City in America!  Recently, I became aware of information that pretty much shatters my paradigm that Madison is a near-perfect place.  The 2013 Race to Equity report, undertaken to promote greater public awareness of racial disparity in Dane County Continue reading

Countdown to Cape Town: Redemption and Creation Care

Originally published 9/27/2010, this post is at the heart of our core convictions at Care of Creation.

This is a continuation of a series of articles leading up to the third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization that begins in Cape Town South Africa on October 15.  Today’s post is a continuation of the last as we move from the Fall to Redemption. Find the whole series to date here.


Like many kids, young and old, I used to enjoy playing with dominos.  Not playing the game, you understand, but playing with the tiles.  Setting them up in long chains, and when all was ready, carefully knocking the first one over.  If all went according to plan, each domino would knock the next one in the line, and one by one, all would fall over.  We used that image above to describe the series of relationships shattered by Adam and Eve’s disobedience.  As we think of how they are restored by redemption through Jesus, the same domino imagery is useful again.  As the domino tiles fall, each pushes on the next, and eventually all are lying flat.  But if you want to pick them up, you have to start with the first one that fell over, not with the last one. They have to be set up in the order in which they fell. The same is true as we begin to restore relationships broken by sin. Continue reading

Poinsettias – More Than Just a Pretty Plant?

Poinsettia_thumbnailHave you ever wondered why every year around this time, grocery stores are flooded with poinsettias?  It would be strange to see them any other time of the year, but where do they come from, and why are they associated with Christmas?

As it turns out, the plant we know today as the poinsettia has a very interesting history! Native to an area of Southern Mexico known as Taxco de Alarcón, the Aztecs used it for Continue reading

Creation and Incarnation

Originally posted December 20, 2010.

We who advocate for creation care tend to overlook some important connections between the central beliefs of the Christian faith and our obligation to care for the world God has placed in our hands.  Christmas – when we celebrate the Incarnation, literally the ‘enfleshment’ of God in human form – is one of those overlooked connections.  The following is an excerpt from my book, Our Father’s World, chapter 3:

In middle-school and early high school, one of my children went through a serious “I have a crush” phase.  Her idol was a singer with a popular contemporary Christian music group.  An enormous poster hung over her bed, and every song he released was purchased, listened to, memorized and sung – over and over and over.  One year the group was scheduled to sing in Chicago, just three or four hours from Madison.  And it happened that the concert was close enough to my daughter’s birthday that we could make her birthday party be a trip to see her idol on stage.  So we bought the tickets.  We even paid a bit extra so that she and her friends could stand in line before the concert to meet him in person.  The great day came and everything, for once, went off without a hitch.  We arrived at the concert venue in good time, stood in line, got our autographs, put in the earplugs, and enjoyed the concert.  It was a highlight of her young life.  My ears are still ringing. Continue reading

Looking for Hope on Earth Day #44

“Hope springs eternal,” we say, and Earth Day certainly demonstrates that truth.  Earth Day was founded in hope in 1970; as you will read below, we are still hopeful.  The question is, should we be?  In the face of all of our challenges, where should we look for real hope?  These are my Earth Day #44 thoughts (see some earlier year’s thoughts here and here:

Madison Wisconsin, can arguably claim to be the historical center of the modern US environmental movement.  This small city has direct connections to many of  the movement’s pioneers:  John Muir (Yellowstone National Park), Aldo Leopold (“Sand County Almanac” and many other works), Sigurd Olsen (The US/Canadian Boundary Waters), Gaylord Nelson (founder of the first Earth Day), and Cal DeWitt (Au Sable Institute).  Perhaps because of these historical connections, the current voices of the environmental movement can often be heard in this city, and what these voices are saying – and not saying – is worth noting. Continue reading