Huffington Post Blog Entries

Reverence, Life Support, and the Clean Water Act

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”

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Wonder, Children, and Railroad Worms

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”

Fear in Nature: A Call or a Warning?

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?”

Nature as our Spiritual Mentor

Christian monastic tradition stresses the importance of what it calls “natural contemplation,” or what other traditions might call nature meditation. This Christian tradition claims that one needs to learn to encounter God in all of creation, living or otherwise, if one truly is to grow spiritually.

For those of us living in today’s society outside of monastery walls why might natural contemplation prove crucial to growing spiritually? For one thing I believe that creation itself serves as our monastery. Continue reading “Nature as our Spiritual Mentor”

Play, a Crucial (and Oft Forgotten) Spiritual Practice

 

Photo credit: Pixabay

Just as nature repeats itself, revisiting what it did a year before, so we often need to relearn things we thought we once knew. When we do this we often gain a slightly different perspective or find an insight roots itself a bit more deeply in our lives. That’s happened to me recently with the subject of play, which I’d like to revisit here. How does play affect us and why does it matter?

What Is Play Anyway?

Scientists of various stripes tell us that when children, whether human or nonhuman, play they are practicing roles they see adults “playing.” Continue reading “Play, a Crucial (and Oft Forgotten) Spiritual Practice”

Chaos, Dominion, Nature…and King Kong

A great ape teeters atop the tallest building in the world, raging against the world of humans. When the latter finally overcome him, they once again prove that they rule over brutish, out-of-control nature, and that King Kong isn’t really king after all.

That’s the old version. There’s a new Kong in town, and he offers us an alternative view of nature and dominion.

The King Kongs

In my view the old and newest versions of the story deal with alternative visions of nature, chaos and control. Continue reading “Chaos, Dominion, Nature…and King Kong”

Ruminations on Bear Corn and Creeks

At the Center for Religion and Environment’s first retreat for the creative arts we spent time contemplating nature for inspiration. After a couple encounters with a plant and a stream I decided to stretch a bit and tried my hand at some blank verse. Here is the result, with a bit of explanation preceding each poem.

Bear Corn

Bear corn is a non-photosynthesizing parasitic plant (see the above photo) that draws its nutrients from the roots of oak trees. Continue reading “Ruminations on Bear Corn and Creeks”