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”
Photo credit: Pixabay
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?”
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”
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”