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I think all too often Lent gets a bad rap. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a time when many Christians examine their lives, acknowledge where they have fallen short, and take steps to grow spiritually. Unfortunately we often associate it with the need to feel guilty and sad about our shortcomings. Yet, the repentance to which Lent calls us needn’t involve sackcloth and ashes. The rest of creation gives us, I think, direction on how to have a truly fruitful Lent. Continue reading “Spring, the Restart Button, and Lent”
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We sometimes forget that we are creatures that live in the midst of seasons. Many insects, for instance, pass through various stages of life during which they may experience changes from winter to spring, summer to fall. We, too, transition from infancy to adulthood to elder maturity. However, as self-reflective creatures we depend greatly on seasons not only to mark time but also to derive meaning, an enterprise perhaps fairly distinctive of our species.
Why Seasons Matter
Seasons provide a rhythm to life. Continue reading “Nature, Creatureliness, and the Spiritual Significance of Seasons”
Under President Trump our country has changed its public lands policy dramatically, particularly as seen in its decisions on the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monuments and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In all these cases the federal government is rolling back protections in order to open these areas to oil and gas exploitation. Other national monuments are being opened to other forms of resource exploitation. What does this say about who we are as a people, particularly when this is happening at this time of year?
Guiding the Market
Much of the controversy revolves around the proper role of markets and government. Continue reading “What our National Monuments Policy May Say about Us”
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I had volunteered to take a University Outreach trip to the Costa Rican rainforest, one that emphasized the spiritual dimension of service. In preparation I brought the group out to our land for a simple introduction to the contemplation of nature. We had one slight problem – four students from Yonkers were scared stiff in the woods. When I sent them out to contemplate, nervously giggling and holding hands, the best they could do for the hour was to talk with our neighbors’ cows. They were so afraid of the strangeness of the woods (from which you could see our house and the neighbors’ pasture) that they could not experience the riches nature was offering them.
Fear and Survival
Fear, of course, helps us survive by motivating us to avoid danger. Scientists believe that our ancestors, Continue reading “Pros and Cons of Fear: Thoughts on Hospitality, Grizzlies, and the Politics of Them”
The Trump administration recently weakened provisions of the Clean Water Act on the grounds that they place onerous burdens on individuals and business. In February President Trump signed a resolution rescinding the Stream Protection Rule, intended to prevent or minimize impacts to surface water and groundwater from coal mining, a rule that had passed both houses of Congress. How might a religious person, and particularly a Christian, approach this issue?
A Story of a Gift
Imagine for a moment that someone very special to you has given you a small sculpture that they lovingly crafted with all their heart and wanted you to take along with you. Continue reading “Reverence, Life Support, and the Clean Water Act”
Over the years we have lived in our home the trees have grown to the point that we can barely see the sky. Stars have become an occasional treat at our place. A couple nights ago we decided to look just in case we might see the stars, having spent the last several days under an overcast sky. Sure enough after our eyes adjusted we could spy a few bright pinpoints above our pond. Turning around to look behind us …. we saw it.
Below us we noticed a ghostly greenish glow moving slowly through the leaf litter. This was no firefly, but something much longer – perhaps two or three inches in length. Continue reading “Wonder, Children, and Railroad Worms”
Sometimes an incident won’t go away. You keep turning it over and over, revisiting it time and again. For me that’s usually a sign that there’s something there with which I need to deal.
One of these events occurred recently when I encountered a snake sunning a few feet away as I was gazing at the reflections of clouds and trees from a five-foot wide dock on our little pond. Continue reading “Fear in Nature: A Call or a Warning?”