Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Environment - Closing Remarks

I'm about done with this series, and not because there's not sufficient environmental minutiae into which I could delve if I chose. All of creation - earth, sky, air, sea...the complexities of how we deal with nature are numerous. And in reality, how we deal with creation is something we should be thinking about fairly often. Very often our actions have a direct impact on our environment, from what kind of car we drive, to what kinds of pets we have, to what we eat and wear.

God was extremely generous to us, granting us stewardship over all of nature - animals, plants, earth, sea - even the stars and the moon are within our domain of interest, if not direct control.

God cares greatly for His creation, and though we are certainly the most important of His creatures (being the only ones created in His image) we should not neglect the rest of them. We have a divinely-mandated responsibility to care for creation. We are most certainly not to trash it, destroy it or waste it. We are to manage it, humanely and gratefully.

Most of all we should be grateful for this earth. It provides sustenance, air, water and resources that allow us to live - and in this country, to live well. We shouldn't take it for granted, nor should we take advantage of that which isn't really even ours. If we are grateful for what God has provided, we will naturally treat it well.

That being said, we need to remember that only God is to be worshipped, and that we are more important to Him than the rest of the earth. After all, this earth will someday be replaced while we will be merely changed. So take care of the environment, and think responsibly. But do not worship it and do not elevate concern for the earth above our concern for our fellow people. If God cares for the earth, so should we; if God cares even more for people, so should we.

I hope, if nothing else, this series has prompted you to at least consider how you deal with the environment in which you live, and your responsibilities towards it. More, though, I hope that you know that God is revealed in creation, that He is there, and that your being in it is a sign of His great love for you.

Tomorrow I'll close this series with some pictures of His creation. Assuming I can figure out pictures in Blogger.

Until then...

God bless!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Trippin' 'Round the 'Sphere - 6/29 Edition

Unfortunately, daughter #2 has strep now, and thunderstorms are in the area. Before I unplug my computer, some other items of note in my tripping around the blogosphere.

Christian Carnival is up at Christ Web. Much to read, which I'm sure I'll do in the next day or so. Early shouts outs to these entries:

Intellectuelle is up. A new group blog by some talented bloggers who happen to be women. I can't really resist a blog that starts with a sentence mentioning C.S. Lewis.

The Bible Archive takes on the always tricky 'round Christians topic of baptism as espoused by Paul.

Newton at Oh How I Love Jesus posts a story of VBS and the wonderful impact on at least 12 little lives.
...

Adrian Warnock offers a challenge to you Christian bloggers out there. Basically, take a blog post trip through a series of Bible verses to paint the picture therein. You have roughly a week (per his reply to my comment question on the deadline.)
...

For the politically minded among you, Cross Blogging offers this week's symposium on some recent Supreme Court decisions that have the conservative side of the country all atwitter. For something amusing on the Kelo case (re. eminent domain), see this press release - which I find to be one of the funniest things I've ever seen.
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Rebecca talks about my favorite hymn as part of her Sunday's Hymn: Reader's Choice series. Thanks Rebecca! Perhaps someday soon I'll do a series on that hymn...hmmmm....
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Soldado at The Lord my Dad has a recent post about how the Gospel is spreading "lo, even to the ends of the earth." Nothing can stop those who lay ahold of the Kingdom.
...

I'll be finishing up my series on the environment this week. Look for it tomorrow and Friday.

God bless!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Goin' Back to School

Getting back to our series on the environment (yes, I know it's been a few days), there is more the Bible has to say about it than what I've covered to date.

So far, I've covered God's roles, what we should do, and what we shouldn't do in regards to creation. I've also tossed out a few other opinions - of which there are many more. What is left is touch on what we can learn from nature - the classroom, so to speak, of our Creator.

The Psalmist talks about how the heavens declare the glory of God and pass knowledge of Him to those on earth. Through creation, we learn that God exists and is glorious.

Paul talks about how creation itself is also proof of God - anyone seeing creation, or the environment, has seen His handiwork. In this passage we find that creation reveals God's power and divine nature. These qualities are obvious: without power beyond human reckoning, and the divine nature above creation, God could not create such a place as this. The earth shows us, at least a little, of the awesome power of God.

We also learn that God is good as He provides for our needs through watering the fields and providing food. Even though we are under a curse that demands we work for every bit of food, God has mercy on us and provides rain and sun: we learn from His sustaining works in the earth that He is merciful.

There is a limit to what our environment can teach us about God. It certainly reveals His power, His majesty, His sovereignty and His mercy. It cannot, though, teach us about the plan to eternal relationship with Him through His Son. That revelation is from the Bible, summarized well in John 3:16-17. So we do need more than nature to show us how to relate with God. However, nature itself is sufficient to point us to Him, and give us an inkling of who He is. We'll never grasp all of Him with our finite minds, but He's revealed enough of Him to all of us that we'll have no excuse when we stand before Him - our world teaches us that He is, that He is mighty, and that He is worthy of praise.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

This is why you Shouldn't Believe Everything you Read in Blogs

Your IQ Is 130

Your Logical Intelligence is Exceptional
Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius
Your Mathematical Intelligence is Genius
Your General Knowledge is Exceptional

Friday, June 24, 2005

Ah, home again...

I don't travel terribly much. The weekend camping trips are about as exotic as we get since the girls came along (though we're hoping to find our way to L.A. this fall sometime - dates not to be publically announced in case the stray burglar reads this blog.) But one of the blessings of my job is the occassional trip to Denver. I spent much of this past week there, these past two days in possession of a laptop sans working network card. So, I apologize for a dearth of posting since Wednesday. I took some time to snap a photo or two up on Mt. Evans last evening, and hopefully I can post some of them here next week - kinda an ode to this nature stuff we've been chatting 'bout recently.

Speaking of bouts, oldest daughter has a temp and a tempermental tummy tonight. Prayers are appreciated. That's the primary reason this post will be (by my standards) short. Have to make a 7-Up/Saltines run. Downside is this is keeping us from our church group camping trip. Good news is more snuggle time with the girls after some time away.

Before I go, a note:

Christian Carnival is up at In the Spirit of Grace. Due to aforementioned network connectivity issue, I haven't read any yet, so no recommendations other than, well, all of 'em.

God bless!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

A Little Bit o'Variety Opinion

I'm somewhat time constrained, but I do want to keep this environmental series going for at least a few more posts. So, I thought I'd point out a few sites where you can see what others are saying. Some are environmental organizations, others are articles &/or commentary. I will not vouch for everything on every site - but I do think they at least provide fodder for thought. Let me know of other interesting sites (please - no Greenpeace or PETA sites - I'm looking for places not widely known.)

The National Wildlife Federation is one of my wife's favorite organizations. She's working on getting our backyard certified as wildlife-friendly.

Christianity Today has this article that talks about what drives our motivation, as Christians, towards environmental concern. They add a point that I missed Monday - namely, teaching our children to be environmentally responsible. Teaching stewardship and respect for creation is definitely something we're striving to do in our family. Hopefully we are successful.

Blogotional is another blogger who posted on the topic. John doesn't see an upside for Christians on engaging in an Evangelical Environmentalism movement.

This short post at World Magazine Blog has lots of comments. Some good discussion, if a year or so old.

The Evangelical Environmental Network has this declaration on the care of creation.

A Rocha is a Christian conservation organization that works internationally. some, though caution against Christians going so "green" they neglect other concerns of more importance. In all things, balance.

There are more environmental information sites than I could possibly link. Hope these at least give you some interesting info that maybe you haven't considered - even if ultimately you don't buy it.

God bless!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

So Then, What Shouldn't We Do?

Yesterday I started talking about some things we should do as Christians, per the Bible, in regards to the environment. Specifically, I took the ever-so-controversial position that we should treat animals humanely, not over-consumer natural resources, and avoid unecessary destruction of the environment even in such dire circumstances as war. In other words, be informed and think about how our actions impact our environment. Sounds fairly straightforward, though for some it may mean adjusting one's decision making processes to include a new variable. For me it's simple because I have a naturalist wife, heavily into conservation, who smacks me upside the head when I make the rare (ha!) ecological blunder.

It's not easy for those who don't consider the environment, actively, to start thinking proactively about how we impact the earth and atmosphere, and how that in turns impacts our neighbors - who, by the way, we're commanded to love. So we should by all means take their well being into account even insofar as the environment is concerned.

There is a danger, though, in starting down this path. These dangers are carefully laid forth in scripture. The primary danger is elevating our proper stewardship of nature to a worship of nature. This is clearly idolatry, and to be honest, this is what many Evangelicals see in some environmentalist movements. (Not wanting to be associated with some environmentalist groups who do treat nature as a god is the primary reason my wife prefers to be called an ecologist instead of an environmentalist.) Scripture is very clear that we should not worship creation in any form - worship is solely the province of God. The environment cannot be more important than God.

The second danger is in equating animals (or other elements of nature) with human beings. People were created in the image of God. He values us more than animals, plants, stones or air. This is NOT to say the rest of creation is unimportant; nay (isn't that a great word?), but verily as we've seen in previous posts God takes all of His creation seriously. However. When a conflict arises between's one's stewardship responsibilities and the well being of our neighbor, the person wins. Now I can't foresee a position where the choice comes down to deforestation of, say, Minnesota and making sure Bob in accounting gets a few nice knick-knacks. But in a situation where it's between a negative impact to the environment or a negative impact to a person (especially spiritually) God's word is clear on the priority.

Of course we should maintain humility before God, and realize that our priority in creation is not a reason to dominate creation to the detriment of our surroundings. But we do have priority in creation. Jesus didn't die for cows, or that forests may thrive: He died for our salvation. Our priorities need to match His. (Again, this is not to say that a secondary priority isn't important too - or that we should use our place to destroy what we are to care for - just that when it comes down to it, mankind is more important than the rest of creation.)

We should care for the environment, sure, but we can't let it get out of hand. The environment is important, but it cannot supercede our command to preach the Gospel, care for the poor and love our neighbors. Nor can we let it take the place of God in our lives. If we keep it in perspective, caring for it appropriately should be a piece of proverbial cake.

Monday, June 20, 2005

So Then, What Should We Do?

Happy Father's Day (belated) to all the Dads out there. It is a high calling indeed, and few titles are as noble as "Daddy."

And now, back to your regularly scheduled series on the environment, already in progress. (For a review of where we've been, see Friday's post.)

So if caring for the environment is something we should do (especially since God cares for it), and since we have been placed as stewards within creation so that we can act on that environmental concern, how do we apply our "Biblical environmentalism" in our daily lives?

Well, first...the Bible doesn't give any "thou shalts" in regard to caring for the environment, so we're going to have to go on principles. The OT does contain some agricultural rules that should serve as a good starting point. God ordained that even the earth should receive a sabbath rest. It seems, then, that part of our stewardship should be to avoid taxing the earth, or overworking it. Likewise, we should take care to avoid destroying anything needlessly. There are times when cutting trees, or harvesting plants is necessary. When it's not, it seems reasonable that we should leave the green (or whatever color the plant happens to be) stuff alone to grow. This goes for any natural resource, too. It's certainly not unreasonable to seek ways to minimize overharvesting of resources by taking advantage of recycling/reuse opportunities, or taking a little extra time to seek out businesses that are resource friendly.

When it comes to animals, God shows even more concern. There are guidelines about not killing an adult animal with its young, or a mother bird with her young. This allows for continuation of the species. Is eating meat a sin? No, of course not (Jesus would not have caught and cooked fish if it were. And a few places in the NT give the okay to eating animals.) However, we should be careful here, too, to avoid over-harvesting animals for meat. Beyond even that, we should certainly be humane in our treatment of animals, keeping them well-fed and sheltered when in our care.

And finally, we should be aware of our choices, and the impacts they have on the environment. When we choose to use chemicals, are we careful to understand the impacts? When we make transportation choices, are we taking into consideration what contribution we'll be making to air quality? When we purchase appliances, do we think about energy use? If we are to love our neighbors we need to take care that our decisions do not treat our neighbors in an unloving way by polluting their space, or creating health hazards to them.

These are fairly straightforward points. I don't think we need to, or are Biblically commanded to, become extremists. And I'm certainly not calling someone who buys an SUV a sinner, or a vegan more righteous than a carnivore. Many of our environment-impacting decisions are situation dependent - some people need the utility of a pickup truck, and I won't judge them for that. However, I do believe it's not too much to ask that we think about the way in which we affect the environment around us. Dismissing our actions is bad stewardship. We need to be informed about best practices in environmental care, and we need to include concern for the earth and atmosphere in our decisions. Treat animals kindly, and be careful when using chemicals. Insofar as it doesn't intrude on other priorities God has set before you, take the time to learn about ways to enjoy nature and how to properly conserve it.

This doesn't mean we need to take things too far, though, and that's a danger I'll talk about tomorrow (God willing.) Nothing I've mentioned so far is outrageous, or proscriptive. But there are some who desire to go that little bit further than is wise. That's the next topic in the series.

God bless!

Meme-update

Swan took me up on my book tag tag. Check out her response at Joyful Song.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Let's not Trash the Place

So far in this series, I've looked at the idea that God cares about the environment, God's role in creation and the purpose of creation. Today I'd like to start looking at our role in regards to the environment.

Since God cares enough about the environment to sustain it, we should really care too. We should also care because He wants us to. He gave us the earth to manage on His behalf, as stewards.

Some people read the command in Genesis to rule over creation as a mandate to trash the environment. Similarly, some people think that because the a new earth is coming that we don't have to care for the earth now. These folks are in the extreme minority, thankfully. (But you wouldn't know it by some recent articles that completely blow this problem out of proportion. To the few Christians at these extremes, pay attention to your temporal responsibilities as they do have an impact on eternity - and keep reading this series. For those thinking this is a widespread problem in Evangelicalism, it's not.)

Instead, God makes it clear that our dominion over creation is one marked by stewardship and care for all of creation, not oppression of it. Was God going to create the earth, the environment and the animals, say "this is good" and then turn it over to mankind to pillage, pollute and plunder? Hardly. Whatever God gives us, be it food, money, wisdom or the environment, we are to use it wisely. God did not give us His creation, which He owns, to destroy - rather, He gave it to us to care for.

Monday I'd like to get into how we should then apply this to our lives, and start discussing how our care for the environment is balanced against other concerns we have. I have a feeling that could be a bigger area of controversy, as I will undoubtedly put a priority on environmental concern that is too high for some and too low for others. That is fine, and I'm open to correction where I get things wrong. Until then...

God bless!

It's Meme Time!

Having been tagged by Soldado at The LORD My Dad (highly recommended blog - and not just because of the very nice pictures), I thought I'd take a break from the environment series to chat about books.

And the next post in the environment series is about 1/2 finished, so should be out soon for those of you looking for that.

The recent meme craze in the 'sphere seems to have turned just about anything into a Q&A session allowing bloggers to (a) get to know each other, and (b) link to other blogs, thereby (hopefully) introducing bloggers to one another. I've already answered the meme on music and it looks as if the book questions are fairly similar. A caveat: As did Soldado (and others) I will not include the Bible in my answers. The reason is that I find it a book far above all others - plus as anyone who's read this blog lately knows, the value I find in the Bible is already pretty well known: It is the most important and useful book ever written, and has the greatest power to change lives of any written work in history. So, keep in mind that rankings below should be dropped by one place if the Bible is included.

The questions (drumroll please):

Total Number Of Books Owned Ever:

Um, you've got to be kidding me. Easily in the thousands...couldn't even begin to guess. I've culled books pretty much every time we've moved, and still have quite a few at home.

Last Book Bought:

To Kill a Mockingbird.

Last Book I Read:

The Manchurian Candidate. Oh, and for school, Economics: A Contemporary Introduction, 6e. The former is much more entertaining, if a touch morbid, than the latter.

Five Books That Mean A Lot To Me:

  • Mere Christianity. I am a huge C.S. Lewis fan, and while I certainly don't place his writings in the category of scripture, they have been influential and important in refining my philosophy.

  • A Severe Mercy. Powerful story about love, and how the author discovered, through pain and loss, a love even more profound than that he shared with his wife.

  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Oh, and throw The Hobbit in here too. This series of books showed that an author could be a Christian and still write quality fiction instead of tripe. (Lewis did this too, with the Narnia and Perelandra books, but I already used him in this list...)

  • The Cross and the Switchblade. Goes to show how God can use the willing here in America - missionaries don't have to go overseas...

  • Bruchko. ...but of course, if called overseas...reading this book humbles me like few others.


Tag someone else?

The usual suspects have all been tagged, recently, so this is an open "tag" to anyone who wants to answer these questions. Let me know via email/comment and I'll add a link to your response.

God bless!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Environmental Purpose

In this series on a Biblical view of the environment, I've pointed out a couple of things. First, that God cares about creation ergo we should too. Second, that God has (at least) four roles in regards to creation: sovereign creator, sustainer, redeemer and owner.

Today I'd like to address the purpose of creation, specifically, our environment. In some respects, this goes to the question of "why are we here?" as the answer to that question is similar to one of the answers I'll provide regarding the environment. So it's not really a small question.

But I think the answers are fairly clear, and not terribly complex to grasp. First, the environment is obviously here to provide the resources necessary for us to live. Since God has found a reason to create us (the "why are we here?" question), we need a place to live. We also need resources to sustain our lives, and a physical context in which to carry out our lives. The earth and environment are here to support us, physically.

Second, and oddly enough more importantly, the environment is here for God's glory. I say "oddly enough" because it seems somewhat odd that our survival is secondary - but in some respects it is. We are here for God's glory too, not our own, and while our lives are very important to Him, He is above us in all things. God's glory is in all of the earth, and all we do is to glorify Him.

Finally (for the purposes of this post - I'm sure there are other purposes we could discover for the environment), the environment is here to teach us about God. God is revealed by His creation, including our environment. His care for us is evident by the way He cares for plants and animals, for instance. He even used an (allegedly stubborn) animal to instruct a stubborn prophet.

God has a purpose in everything He does. Creating a world and atmosphere to sustain our lives is no exception - He knew what He was doing, and He did it for a reason. Ultimately, our world is here for His glory. That fact should drive our response, and responsibility to the planet we share.

God bless!

Trippin' 'Round the 'Sphere - 6/16 Edition

Christian Carnival is up at Daddypundit. Early favorites from this week are:

  • Team Hammer Musing’s look at the necessity of Biblical inerrancy for the professing Christian.

  • Notes from the front lines’real-life example that demonstrates that God never gives up on us. Thank God!

  • Hammah Im’s look at the Good Samaritan parable through modern eyes.

  • Hornswoggled’s alert that another “Jesus Seminar” is in the works. Let’s keep an eye out, shall we (and yes, it’s a humor item – at least I hope so!)



Soldado at The Lord My Dad lays out the need for, and method to obtain, salvation quite well. I like the structure – comment, then lots of scripture at each point in the progression.

Cross Blogging has a new symposium topic up: Parental Rights. Entry info in the post.

Adrian Warnock is doing big things with The Blogdom of God (Bog). The suspense is building…make sure if you know of any blogs out there written by Christians to let Adrian know, per the guidance in his post.

Adrian also is hosting a “contest” of sorts in conjunction with the editors of the ESV wherein three lucky (er, blessed) persons can receive a free ESV Bible. While I appreciate and use multiple different versions and translations, I do like and recommend the ESV as one of the better ones available. Even better, the discussion around this on Adrian’s blog should provide great insight into the ESV and Bible translation. Like from this post.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Even the rich own nothing

Yesterday I started talking about the environment. My main point then was that we should care about it because God cares about it. That should be sufficient reason, so while I recognize people have other motivations behind their concern for the earth, to me the driving force is God's concern. What matters to Him should matter to me.

Knowing that God cares about the environment, though, leaves several questions unanswered. Today I'd like to address one of the next logical question: Given that God cares, what's His role? To this question, I think the Bible again provides important answers.

A good summary of God's role is that He is sovereign creator, sustainer, redeemer and owner of all creation, including our earth and the environment in which we live.

God is sovereign creator. It was for and by Him that everything was made. The Psalmist describes, poetically, how God's greatness is demonstrated through His creative power. He is in control of creation. Above that, He is sovereign over creation. This sovereignty means we can't stop God's will (says the good Calvinist in me.) He has control over all of His creation - nothing escapes this control.

God also sustains what He has created. He holds all things together and sustains all things with His word. Without this sustaining by God creation would cease to exist.

Creation also needs to be redeemed, and God is the Redeemer. It is not just mankind that reaps the wages of sin. The earth is under a curse because of our sin. Besides working His will to redeem people, He is working towards the day when creation itself will be redeemed.

Finally, because He created it, He owns it. Everything He has given us to use can be taken away according to His will. All of creation, including the environment, is His. If everything is His, then really we own nothing. As Job found out, his wealth was out of his control. He really, when it came down to it, owned nothing. In human terms, it makes sense to speak of human ownership, but in reality - God owns it all.

God is creator, sustainer, redeemer and owner, sovereign over all of creation. And He cares about the earth. But what does that mean for us? Stay tuned. More questions coming up in the series.

God bless!

Trippin' 'Round the 'Sphere - 6/14 Edition

Guess what? I took another quiz, and apparently I have similarities to, well, this guy:
You scored as John Calvin. Much of what is now called Calvinism had more to do with his followers than Calvin himself, and so you may or may not be committed to TULIP, though God's sovereignty is all important.

Anselm

67%

John Calvin

67%

Martin Luther

53%

Friedrich Schleiermacher

53%

Charles Finney

53%

Karl Barth

53%

Jonathan Edwards

47%

Paul Tillich

33%

Augustine

33%

J├╝rgen Moltmann

20%

Which theologian are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

Knock me over w/the proverbial feather...
...

Then I took another quiz, and found out that John Calvin, I mean, I am also this guy:
You scored as Chewbacca.

Chewbacca

67%

Clone Trooper

56%

Anakin Skywalker

56%

Yoda

56%

Obi Wan Kenobi

53%

R2-D2

50%

Mace Windu

44%

General Grievous

42%

C-3PO

36%

Darth Vader

36%

Padme Amidala

25%

Emperor Palpatine

22%

Which Revenge of the Sith Character are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

Now that surprised me. I was kinda hoping for Mace Windu. The purple lightsaber was the best thing about this most recent trilogy.
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The battle continues. Voting for least objectionable, I mean, best (Minnesota) state quarter (Minnesota) is at Radioblogger.

(Minnesota. I don't care if you like the Colorado one better. Vote Minnesota. This isn't a democracy - it's my blog, and I'm saying vote Minnesota!)
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Rev-ed - aka chain breaker - answered my music challenge. Nice taste!
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Now I need to find a different airline for my next trip. Oceanic Air has suspended operations. Too bad: I was looking forward to getting "lost" on a tropical island for a while.
...

Vox Apologia is listing this as the topic next week: "Theology: Why Calvinism?" With my quiz results above, I'm curious about this too.
...

Enter Challies latest drawing
here. Looks like more good stuff, possibly yours for the low, low price of free.
...

God bless!

Monday, June 13, 2005

A Green Bible - For Real

As I mentioned Friday, I am going to start a new series on Biblical view of the environment. With this sad news I think I'll dedicate the series to my favorite environmentalist left, Alice - aka Not Crunchy. And no, it's not just because she gave me an award for open-mindedness, which I take as a compliment - especially when given by someone with whom I don't always agree.

No, I have a soft spot for the environment and the earth for two reasons. First, of course, I live in it. What happens in the natural world affects me. Second, my wife is a naturalist and biology educator, and I learned much during those times in college where I helped her memorize the latin names of fish during her icthyology course. I need to put that to use somewhere (no latin - don't worry.)

But why, aside from purely self-serving or preferential reasons should we care about the earth? Yes, we should care about the natural world because we live in it and shouldn't desire to destroy our habitat. And there's nothing wrong with prefering, say, forests to cities, or mountains and seas to trains and boats.

The primary Biblical reason to care about the earth is that God Himself does. He cared enough about it to carefully measure it out during creation. God cares enough to continue to manage it and to care for animals. God made the earth, and cares for it. That should be reason enough for us to do the same.

I think this is a good starting point, and so far I'm probably in safe territory. I think most people believe we should care about the earth, even those who don't cotton to the notion of God. But there's more. What is our role in regards to creation, and what is God's? If we should care about the environment, how should we apply that to our lives? Where does our concern for the environment manifest itself in our priorities and lives? What can we learn from nature? It is to these questions that I'll be turning as I move through this series.
...

As always, I'm glad to hear your thoughts - especially from my fellow believers who may think I'm (a) missing something that should be included, or (b) getting something wrong.

God bless!

Friday, June 10, 2005

News'n'Notes

Under the category of "especially intriguing blog entries":

Rev-ed's commentary on materialism. I think I'll print this one off to read at least weekly...I need it. Easy trap into which we fall in this culture.

I'm fond of my governor, and not just because he attends a church in my father's denomination. Governor Pawlenty's sense of humor was on fine display on Hugh Hewitt's show yesterday. This "state wars" between Minnesota and (my 2nd favorite state) Colorado - vis a vis the state quarters - is entertaining. It's even triggered some back and forth between some blogs in each state. (Full disclosure: As a member of the MOB, I will have to loyally side with the Fraters gents in the battle.) Make sure, though, that you go and vote at Radioblogger for which state quarter (hint: Minnesota's) is better looking.

Under the category of "upcoming events":

I have two series in the works. The first, which I'll start Monday, is about a Biblical view of the environment. The second is about something else...(trying to remember)...oh yes, marriage. You've been warned.

Under the category of "recent events":

The daughters are with their grandparents for the weekend. I'm hoping this means I can finally go to a movie (haven't been to a theater since the original release of "The Passion of the Christ".) Probable viewing would be Star Wars, so I can completely close that chapter of my geekography.

At least until the DVD comes out.

Under the category of "sports":

My softball team is now ranked #6 in the state for our classification, at least according to one publication. And, my wife went 4-6 with a bunch of rbi/3 runs scored in the most dominating women's league performance I've seen in a looooong time. Her team just kept hitting, and hitting, and hitting...three of my wife's at-bats were in the 2nd inning alone, and the thrashing was so thorough they only played four innings before the mercy rule was implemented. Now I know where my daughter's sweet t-ball swing comes from! And yes, I'll take every opportunity I can to brag on my wife. Brilliant, caring, beautiful, athletic and wise...and oh, so much more. (And that's on her bad days.)

Under the category of "enough about my life, how about something others might find interesting?":

The Great American Think-off is ready for the final debates. This year's topic was 'Competition or Cooperation: Which benefits society more?' My vote is highly nuanced as it depends on the specific circumstances. I don't want to see two football teams cooperate in the scoring of a touchdown ('tho the Vikings did that too often with opposing teams last year.) On the other hand, I'd like to see churches cooperate in preaching truth and helping those in need. For info on the contest, or the debates check out the link above. And bookmark it for next year's contest (questions announced around New Year's Day.)

Have a good weekend, and God bless!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Christian Carnival is up!

The Christian Carnival is up at Reformed Politics. Some early highlights:

Rev-ed has a story of Dizzy Gillespie - one of the best trumpet players in history. Right up there with my wife! Interesting approach of tying together the Dizzy-as-genre-creator/Dizzy-as-guest-soloist to the God-in-parts/God-as-whole question.

Bonnie at Off the Top posts this post on C.S. Lewis and contraception. Plays well in this conversation at Evangelical Update. (And not just because it talks heavily about Lewis who we seem to cite every other comment over at EU.)

Speaking of Lewis, this post at incarnatus est talks about the beauty of God's creation, and not making it ugly by making things what they aren't designed to be. Provocative food for thought.

And I'm a softie (geek, born in 1970 - you can figure out why) for anything Star Wars related, like this post from Beneath the Dirty Hood. The integration of Bible verses into this short tale is clever and a fun (quick) read.

I've been music tagged!

Alice has tagged me. Since I do love music, I thought I'd go ahead and respond to the questions. Plus...honestly, I'm having a dry spell in the blog-topic-inspiration area of late.

(And no, you don't have to point out that's been the obvious case since I started this experiment.)

Total volume of music files on my computer:

I have 663.8MB of music files in my iTunes at the moment, though will be adding more over time. That 663MB does include a couple of Monty Python and Bill Cosby sketches, though, so I guess the volume of music files is lower. (Pet Shop, by Monty Python, does lose quite a bit without the visual - but it's hilarious even in just the audio.)

The Last CD I bought was...

Almost There by Mercy Me.

Song Playing Right Now

Days of Elijah, by Robin Mark. With my iTunes shuffle, I'm sure the next song will be the theme from The Mummy. Eclectic, thy name is my musical tastes.

Five songs that move me

The original question was "Five songs I listen to a lot or that mean a lot to me (in no particular order)" but Alice modified it. I like her version better, so that's the one I'm going with.


  • Amazing Grace. Amazing hymn. Heard it played as a bass solo at a Yes concert years ago, and it gave me chills. The bagpipes version played often at funerals is powerful too, but that could just be the Scot/Irish in me.

  • Thief, by Third Day. And no, this isn't just because I have Third Day guitarist Mark Lee on my blogroll. It's just a wonderful song of the perspective of the thief crucified next to Christ.

  • It's Your Love, by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. Yeah, I like country too. Sue me. This song is "our song" for my wife and I.

  • I Could Have Done More from Schindler's List, as played by The 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic. This was (IMO) the best soundtrack written by John Williams, and is a very stirring piece of music. Itzhak Perlman played the solo on the soundtrack, and his interpretation of the piece is brilliant.

  • A Violent Grace by Michael Card. Michael Card is one of a rare breed: an artist who strives for excellence and preaches its value. He is truly a poet musician. This song takes a slightly different - and absolutely theologically correct - view of grace.



(NOTE: Actually, the next song after Days of Elijah was a soundtrack piece: It is Done from The Passion of the Christ soundtrack - haunting stuff.)

Who are you Passing this on to?

Oh, I dunno...let's say Rev-ed and Kristen. The original question hinted at passing this to 5 people, but I'm going to minimize the risk that I discover how few readers I really have. (The irony here is that I generally deplore chain mail and never forward it on.)

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I'm (not) the King of the World!

Lennie's symposium this (last?) week poses a very fascinating question: What would you do if you owned the world?

The question isn't fascinating because it's something that could actually happen - no, only God owns the world, and only He ever will. Nor is it fascinating because it poses an interesting intellectual exercise over which one could run the ol' neurons. Even contemplating the answer puts the thinker in the place of God, which is dangerous indeed. It would be akin to asking what would you do if you created a universe ex nihilo. To presume to know what you would do were you God is to presume far too much.

What makes the question fascinating are the implied questions underneath this one. What would you do with unlimited resources? What would you do if you could make the rules? What would you do if you were not bound by any earthly authority?

These questions can be explored without assuming the role of God. People in history have had nearly unlimited resources at their disposal, at least to the extent that there is no practical limit on what they could do. Men and women have had large spheres of influence and authority in which they answered to nobody else on earth. In short, God has provided, in certain situations, circumstances where people could act as if they had unlimited resources and authority in an earthly sense.

Were I to have seemingly unlimited resources and authority, I can't really say what I would do. (Hmmm...I take all this time setting up the questions to answer, only to say I can't answer them...interesting.) However - I can say I would hope that I would do nothing less than what I should be doing now. I should seek to use those "unlimited" resources to do what God would command. I should use my authority wisely, seeking guidance from God and managing my stewardship (remember - God owns it all) according to His will.

In other words, given stewardship of all wealth, authority and resources, I should act faithfully for the work of my master. Given extreme wealth and authority, or given exteme poverty and slavery, I should do all for God's glory. I should seek to tell the Good News, to help the needy, and care for His creation. We are called to many things, and were God to call me to a position of nearly infinite wealth and authority (from an earthly perspective) I would sincerely hope and pray that I would use those for His glory, seeking His will.

I'm glad, though, that this is a hypothetical. Solomon had these things, power and wealth, sufficient to remove most human constraints from his actions over just a small portion of the earth. He failed. If the wisest man who ever lived saved Christ himself couldn't escape the problems of wealth and power in such a small place, how could I avoid them having the entire earth's resources behind me?

Seeing as God's been gracious to me by blessing me with stewardship and authority over (quite a bit) less than the entire planet, I can only think about these questions hypothetically. But I can use the answers to point to how I should live today, having much less than the weakest king. Whether rich or poor, ruler or slave, I should do all for Him who saved me from my own sinful choices. No matter the extent to which I am blessed in riches or authority, I am merely a steward of what He has created. Thanks and glory to Him who really owns the world.

Update - I have a brain!

As promised yesterday I took the tests and have discovered I do have a brain. Per the quizzes here I have a Systemizing quotient of 44, and an Empathizing quotient of 36. Which means I have a seriously "male" brain.

My wife would say "duh." I'm not sure if that's good or bad:)

Monday, June 06, 2005

Trippin' 'Round the 'Sphere - 6/6 Edition

Gee...guy takes a couple of days worth of business trip to Denver, and his blog ends up not updating itself. Huh. Whodathunkit?

No, I haven't been posting as frequently as I once was. Yes, I plan to pick up the pace again. For now, though, highlights of my day in the 'sphere.
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From the author of The Bleat comes Screedblog! From the pen, er, Mac of one of America's premier writers, a new blog. Lileks screeds with the best of 'em...
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The Vox Apologia topic for the week should appeal to the Calvinists in our midst (and lo, they are aplenty): "Theology: Why Calvinism?" Think, write, submit, enjoy.
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Christian Carnival is at Reformed Politics this week. Entry deadline is tomorrow, midnight. Entry criteria and instructions are here.
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Rebecca points us to some fun tests here. Tune in tomorrow to see what kind of brain yours truly has, assuming the test reveals he has one at all.
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Alas, if only my church was this cool. Rev Ed points out the pitfalls of trying to be cool as a church. Very nice read.