Friday, July 29, 2016

Summer is for Savoring

Soaking up summer's wet wild.
Wallowa Lake
Missed them like crazy, but camped and created.
Wow, how did we get here? 
Cherished. Loved. Beautiful. Beloved.
She is this to us. 
She is this to many.
So grateful.
A quick jaunt to Spokane for work.
It was hot, hot, hot!
 Trash Goat
Yes, he eats trash, and yes, their park is incredibly clean!
 Radio Flyer Slide
Having fun.
 Giving fun.
They will last forever. 
They are indestructible smiles.
They were hand carried in country by a United Methodist team.
Futbols, Kenya, and Land Rovers = fabulous.
Let our lives bring joy with every rising sun.
Work. Play. Give.
 Get up and do it again.

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Hour of Land by Terry Tempest Williams

 Awe is the moment when ego surrenders to wonder.

The Hour of Land enchants, provokes, and calls forth a response. Now is time for the land, or we may no longer have a home to inhabit.

   Poetic crossings are visionary passages.

   Our climate is changing. We are choking on our sin. We must protect and preserve the land. Now.

   Collaboration is the only way forward.

   As a Christ follower, I believe God. Yes, literally and figuratively. I take His words and seek to live with His abiding Spirit.

   I have been invited to wrestle with God, all of Him and His creation, like Jacob in the desert, and I would rather walk with a limp than wrestle with a God of my own making, which would be no god at all.

  Like Jacob, God's Word is the hard rock under my head, but so too,  His Word is my pillow. I have no other Rock upon which to rest my future, and in this, I cannot fashion His words to fit me. God knows I try, but His words are not one size fits all. 

 They are His, the words.  

 I either inhabit them or ignore them. Today, I believe. God, help my belief! And so today, I believe He is making a home where we will one day dwell, and I believe He will dwell among men once more. Why do I believe this?

   Jesus said we are His disciples, and we are to follow His actions and example. Jesus said He was going to prepare a place for us and He would return. If I'm following His actions and example, I ought to be preparing a place for Him.

   Like Jesus, am I willing to set to this work, tread the desert, and to dwell in prayer and action with desert dwellers in order to bring about a restored Earth, a restored Eden?

    Wilderness saves us, speaks to us, and in it we can once more hear our heartbeat - we remember we have been gifted a heart and soul - not just a heart.  

    When did God's charge to stewardship become a control narrative of domination? 

    Can we change our narrative from independence to interdependence?

   We have failed, in our thirst for more, to be content with less. 

   National Parks are circles of reference and reverence in a cynical time. Where our own cleverness is god. 

   How we act towards our air and water will tell us what kind of people we are. 
   ~ Roosevelt

   What do the lies and leniency regarding the lead in Flint's drinking water tell us?

    Who decides where a vista ends and an oil field begins?

   What do the chemicals in Portland's air say about what we hold dear?

    Water wars will make oil wars obsolete.

   When did we get comfortable with all the chemicals and think we could co-exist?

   Consumption is a progressive disease.

   Consumption is our progressive disease.

   The distant self becomes the detached self who no longer believes in anything. Cynicism flourishes in air-conditioned rooms.

   Our chemicals are doing to us what we are doing to our lands.

   Reflection leads to restoration. We recognize the soul of the land as our own.

    It is time to make a home, and be a home.

   Humility is born in wildness.  

   It is time to act. It is time to protect wild places, not just protect what I love, know, and tread upon. There is a going beyond that is required.

   To honor wild land and wild lives, that we may never see, much less understand, is to acknowledge the world does not revolve around us. 

    There are Clive Bundys and then there are Terry Tempest Williams. They are related. Aren't we all?

    In our species, there is no reason and so we go mad. 

   We have choices to make.

    The Wilderness Act is an act of respect that protects the land and ourselves from all our own annihilation. 

   We can stake our claim upon lands and abuse them, lands which do not belong to us, nor will they ever belong to us, or, we can protect these lands. We can shelter the wild and preserve ourselves.

   The call of the wild is not what you hear, but what you follow. 

   Wherever wild daisies bloom, or rivers run dry or rage, wild lands were given to us, and are still given to us, to steward, for a time, and only a time. Let us leave them pristine for the one that follows.

   What am I leaving? Because I'm leaving, and you are too.

   Leaving a blessing upon a land, a place, or a time, is always an action, as is leaving a curse. We will have to account for what we leave behind in our wake.

   Prayers have to be walked, not just talked. 
   ~ Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk 

   What if our prayers for poverty stricken preschoolers, who we hope will see and walk our national parks one day, includes walking alongside them to school, and paying for their preschool too? Head Start cannot meet the vast wild needs of right now. Let us leave these children a legacy of reading along the wayside, that they too may read the signs of their times and act.

   If we are to understand compassion for the other, we must cultivate the emotions of discomfort and disturbance. 

   Picking fruit, I listen. It strikes me: white people talk in orchards about achieving opportunities. Where is the black woman? She is not in this Willamette Valley orchard with her children having conversations about which opportunities to take and which to forgo. I passed her.

   She stood outside the local motel in her rumpled end-of-day uniform. She waited for her ride, while the smell of ripe fruit rose about me.

   We must face and then change that MANY black people do not have the luxury of opportunity conversations in green fields; they are consumed with overcoming one obstacle after another, while I consume the fruit of the land.

   When we try and pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe. ~ John Muir

   Let us accept that we are hitched, one to another. Let us heal our brokenness and broken land together. Through Grace alone, we can begin.

   The health of the land is the health of the people. The natural world does not discriminate. We must unite or perish. ..We lose by remaining ignorant and uneducated, by choosing to be insular and small.

  We defend our right to kill and maim with weapons, abuse and use our bodies and another's body, and snort what we wish. God, we are pigs, not people.  

   We follow the creed of survival of the fittest, most independent and fierce. We are no longer the fittest, but we are the fiercely independent.

   We are no longer fiercely fair, if we ever were. We are no longer faith filled, at least not in North America. We are self-help filled. We are self-fulfilled. Which is a lie. Are you self-fulfilled? Cause I'm not. We are, God help us, intellectual. 

   We talk and talk and talk about the problems and violence. The radio and news drones on and on, while we do nothing about what is happening all around us. We have cut our own umbilical cord, and we don't even know it. We are gasping for breath, and we fail to realize we are running out of oxygen. The hot flaming wind of our breath is being extinguished by our deep thoughts and shallow actions.

   In our desperation to perceive valor and courage that may not be present in our own lives, we glorify a terrible slaughter of men and boys. The myth that war propagates and that our national memory perpetuates is that all soldiers are valiant and brave, and that American history is a history victorious instead of shadowed and scarred. 

   Where will our votes take us this fall?  Over the abysmal cliff? Where will we send our sons and daughters in the future, and to fight for whom and what?

   Many speak into the daily violent headlines that love will conquer hate. It will. When you and me bring the peaceable kingdom of God to earth, here and now. When we recognize that love is an action, and that love is not blind, and that love does difficulty and love does difficult conversations. That love shows up, and love costs each of us something, but love is all we have, and Love is all we need. Love can sustain us and a planet. If only we will love and know Love. If only we will live in love and live inhabited by Love. Love is an action.

   Love is a Person, go out and live His words and His actions. Disturb something if you must, but do something for someone with Love, and at the end of each day, put your head upon His Rock. Wrestle with that Rock. Then get up and go love again in every sunrise you are gifted.

   We lose nothing by loving. 
   ~ Doug Peacock 

* All green text is taken from The Hour of Land written by Terry Tempest Williams. Read it.