Category Archives: universe
I could have titled this post “Why Humans Keep on Destroying the Earth,” or “How to Dangerously Inflate a Child’s Ego.” My first grade daughter came home from catechism class a few weeks ago with a freshly done quiz. We always sit down and go through the girls’ worksheets and other hand outs and talk a bit about them–so I know what they’re being taught, and can understand what they are understanding. I often let them know there is more than one way to look at most teachings in the church, and offer more perspective. This time, I cried inside.
If you take a look at Quiz 3 , you’ll see that the lesson must have been all about how much God loves us. This is cool. But when we try to illustrate that point by comparing God’s love between people and the rest of nature, we reinforce a false sense of superiority and separateness. If we are a beautiful part of a whole creation, how can we be sure God loves us more than the flowers or birds or monkeys? After all, we’re the only species needing a savior, right?
What if we weren’t taught from such a young age that we are better, more loved, and more like God, than the rest of creation? How might our view, and our stewardship, of the rest of this Earth be different then? The constant, and I think unfortunate, reminders that we are superior to the rest of it all is a big reason it’s so hard for us to take things like climate change, pollution and destruction of ecosystems seriously. If we are more important, more worthy of God, then why does the rest really matter? If we are here only temporarily, in a wasteland of sin, just preparing to go to some other place when we die, then who cares about this planet?
And so the story goes…
I wonder if this “place” we call heaven isn’t a place at all. Not some location, somewhere else. I wonder if it is a state of being, a paradise of peace and no more wanting, here in this life, and after. And I wonder how differently we might view and understand our interconnectedness with the rest of creation. What if we aren’t more important? What if we can’t love and praise God more than a flower?
A friend just shared this verse with me. It echos my heart, so I share it with you…
This harsh and splendid land
With snow-covered rock mountains, cold-crystal streams,
Deep forests of cypress, juniper and ash
Is as much my body as what you see before you here.
I cannot be separated from this or from you.
Our many hearts have only a single beat.
A friend out there sent a link to this. It’s a fractal zoom on a mandelbrot set, finishing on a dendrite area. I don’t know what that means, but it sure is beautiful. (Thanks Toke.)
It gives me new ideas and understanding of how this network of life might really be organized. Makes me think of the infinite networks and connections that are unfolding always.
You can learn more about the mathematical discovery called the “Mandelbrot Set,” which creates the kind of fractal zoom images shown in the above video, by watching this one below. It is 9 minutes, and only part 1 of 6, so dig in if you’re really interested…
Antarctica is breaking up. We’ve all heard about the polar bears near the North Pole losing the ice they hunt on. God knows what’s going on at Santa’s workshop. Now, on my birthday April 5, a huge piece of the ice shelf on Antarctica shattered into thousands of pieces and began floating, and melting, away.It was called the Wilkins Ice Shelf, and now it’s mostly gone. Forever.
The European Space Agency reports, and shows in pictures, how the over 200-square-mile chunk of ice shattered. Scientists say there is no doubt the break up was caused by climate change (global warming), not the paparazzi photos taken of the Wilkins Ice Shelf on a romantic beach with a stunning young Emporer Penguin just last fall.
Seriously: this is one of eight major ice shelves that are giving way right now near the South Pole. All are being blamed on a steadily warming atmosphere. The weather is changing. Which changes everything. Even if you think humans’ role in creating global warming is hype (yes, all two of you), isn’t it maybe worth it to give some of these things a look? Like most rational people, I believe we’re heating this place with our cars and power plants and ravenous hunger for more and bigger stuff. My fingerprints are all over it too–I’m part of the problem (I drove 30 miles to work today, for example). That’s the thing, no matter how hard environmental groups–and even the President–try, changing the rules will only move the needle a little bit. We have to all get to a point where we recognize our own handprints on all of this. Personal responsibility is the answer. A smart guy I once met said, “If you are not part of the problem, you can never be part of the solution.” (Adam Kahane)
You Get This
Sometimes it’s hard to see those handprints, becuse the problems always seem to first hit somewhere else. Someone else. It’s hard to see how everything–I mean everything–is totally interconnected. But it shouldn’t be. I’d guess that most bartblog readers are at least a bit the spiritual type. Maybe you’re a christian, maybe you’re tuned in to some other form of the great spirit at the center of it all. Either way, it’s not such a leap to think about this whole Earth–all of creation–being hitched together in ways we don’t begin to understand. If you believe, like I do, that it’s all from one Source.
I Dare You
So, here’s my challenge for you. Spend an hour in nature, by yourself, in the next week. No book, no ipod, no texting. Just you and the trees and spring flowers and grass and critters. Just get out there, spend some time in the quiet wild, just contemplating nature. I beleive that’s the doorway to a more clear understanding of this global warming/love the Earth kind of thing. And a whole lot of other things. Please try it. The worst that could happen is you spend an hour in a calm, beautiful place, and you can go back to living and being just the way you did before.
Let us all know how it goes for you…
Peter talks about the 12 steps of making bread, and the many transformations that take place through those steps. From living wheat to a death we call harvest. From ‘dead’ flour and yeast to living, breathing, consuming, growing dough. From living dough into the destructive heat of the oven. From dough to bread. From lifeless (but beautiful and tasty) bread to sustaining food for life. A wonderful circle.
There’s something brewing here. The universe is sending all kinds of bread stories into my life. 🙂 Can’t wait for the next one.
(Speaking of brewing, my brother the home brewer will love the story Peter tells about bread and beer–beer is liquid bread, bread is solid beer.)