Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Story from the Grist

Grist, which is one of my favorite website published a story this week that originally appeared on the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors website. It discusses issues on the Gulf Coast two years after Katrina, long forgotten by the media. Take a look.

Stories from the Forgotten Coast
With the Katrina-anniversary media gone, the hard work continues

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Prayer of Bishop Romero

The following is a prayer that is contributed to Archbishop Oscar Romero who was assassinated during a mass in San Salvador in 1980. While, in fact these words were written by someone else, and never spoken by Romero, they are said to encompass his spirit. They certainly have been helpful to me over the last few months and I wanted to share them here. I hope you enjoy.

It helps, now and then, to step back
and take the long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of
the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete,
which is another way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about:
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything
and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for God’s grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders,
ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own. Amen.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Below is my contribution to Blog Action Day which is taking place today.

There are close to 20,000 blogs participating today and you can check them out here. This includes people like me, but also big names like Google.

Environmentalism as an act of Prayer

I think it would be helpful for us as Christians in the 21st century to take advice from our first and second century Desert Mothers and Fathers when they said to "pray always." The mothers and fathers weren't encouraging each other to sit in silence and stillness and pray all day, although they did do this on occasion. What they were encouraging was the act of prayer to intersect with their daily lives. Most Mothers and Fathers did tasks throughout the day that helped them live, weaving was one of these tasks. And as they weaved they would pray, as they ate they would pray, and as they would participate in the taking care of those in need, they would pray.

How would this life of prayer fit into your daily routine? Do you posses the discipline it takes to "pray always?" It sounds daunting, if not terrifying, however some daily tasks are not far off from acts of prayer.

This is where the environment comes in. Have you ever thought about environmentalism as an act of prayer? Let's think about a few aspects of a daily life, that as people who care about the environment might take part in.
  • The first thing that comes to mind is gardening. Tilling the earth, planting a seed, and then tending a garden. The earliest monastics did it and some still do today. This garden provides for those who are tending it as well as perhaps those that are not able to plant their own garden. How can this not be an act of prayer? If you have spent much time in a garden, you know the connection that one develops with the earth, the earth that God created for us. So in the garden, pray a prayer of thankfulness for the ability to provide for ourselves and for others, as well as the enjoyment of just being among God's creation in the Garden.
  • What about planting a tree? This is close to tending a garden but slightly different. Planting a tree is more of a long term commitment. You are saying to God that you love the creation God has given us and are will to participate in the upkeep of creation for the long hall.
  • One that you probably haven't given much thought to is the act of recycling. Much like the repetitive task that the early Mothers and Fathers had in weaving, we find ourselves constantly sorting, bagging, and moving recyclables. What do you think about when you are participating in the act of recycling? Most likely you are going over daily plans in your head, or thinking how dirty of a job it can be sometimes. What if instead you prayed? You prayed to God and told God that you are not going to let Creation go to waste, that you are going to do what you can, where you can, to preserve this great gift.
  • On of the biggest and most effective ways we can turn our environmentalism into an act of prayer is by simplifying our life. When we own and use only what we need, share with others in our community, cut down on our meetings, appointment, and shopping sprees, we have that much more time to pray. Again I'm not talking about sitting still and in silence prayer, I'm talking about the daily act of prayer, meeting God where we are. It is hard to meet God when the cellphone is attached to our head, and the television is blaring in the next room. By cutting down on what we consume we are also opening up opportunities to meet God.
These are obviously only few suggestions, I know there has to be many more out there. But think about them, reflect about them, and pray about them. Your relationship with God and the earth can change if you use environmentalism an act of prayer.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

100th Post, A little about myself

In preparation for Blog Action Day tomorrow, I've been going over in my head what to write. I want it to be important and thought provoking. However, what is important to me might not be important to the next person, so I decided to write a little bit about myself so you, the reader, can decide if your morals, values, and priorities are anything similar to mine.

First and foremost I'm a Christian. I grew up a Christian, I have no spectacular conversion story or stories about hardships in my life before I came to the church. It's the way I was raised. I can't offer any insightful images of being raised this way, all I can say is that I was loved, made to feel special, and taught how to live a Christ-like life. This is what I strive for, to live in the way Jesus exemplified in his life.

Which brings me to another important aspect of my character which does not stand apart from my identity as a Christian. I am an environmentlist! (yes I said it..) Many Christians cringe at this word... Some even feel that environmentalism is anti-Christian. But let me point out, that the fact that I am an environmentlist shows that I value God's gift of Creation.

Many people are not sure how to handle my environmental tendencies. I can remember at 11 being called Crunchy for the first time. I had no idea what that meant, but as I grew up I found out. Some call my weird, some call me a hippie, some call me crazy, most commonly I'm called a treehugger, but most recently I've been called an earth muffin. These names don't hurt my feelings so if you are going to use them don't be upset when I'm not offended.

I've worked a very long time to model both Christ and Environmentalism in my life. It's who I am, and by being who I am, I hope that I can open up a dialogue between those Christians who don't believe in Environmentalism and those Environmentalists who don't know what to do about all those Christians.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Hey Friends, I haven't been so good at this. Mostly because I've been extremely busy with school, work, and field ed. My next post is going to be the 100th, so I promise for something good. Hope all is well with everyone. Peace.