Monday
Dec242012

talking to animals on Christmas Eve

It's becoming a bit of a Christmas Eve tradition to share this reflection from Nancy Janisch of Conversation in Faith, a heartfelt and hopeful complement for 'the night before' ...

When you were young, did anyone ever tell you that animals can talk at midnight on Christmas?  I don’t remember who told me, but I do remember looking expectantly at our family Dachshund for several years on Christmas Eve.  For the record, he never said anything.  At least not in a human language.

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Wednesday
Nov212012

my life as a turkey

As this is a week in which the turkey features prominently in our culture, I thought I'd pass along one of the most fascinating and downright winsome specials I've seen, on these birds which we take for granted but know so little about, especially their wild cousins.  Perhaps you heard of the PBS Nature episode which aired this week, "My Life as a Turkey."  Just about every response I've seen has been glowing, and I couldn't agree more.

"My Life as a Turkey" tells the story by way of reenactment of wildlife artist and naturalist Joe Hutto who found a bowl of wild turkey eggs on his doorstep in the Florida Flatlands in 1991.  Hutto went on to incubate, hatch and be a constant surrogate parent to the 16 chicks for over a year, and came to understand and communicate, even bond, with them in remarkable and often moving ways.  The full episode is available to watch online, and you catch a touching preview in the following clip: 

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Monday
Sep242012

reconciling all things to Himself

courtesy Lauren Merritt of The Christian and Creation ...

In the evenings you can usually find me buried deep in a theology book.  Legos, dinosaurs, and 200 matchbox cars put away, after the kids’ bedtime, it’s my time to work toward my master’s degree in theology.  Every once in a while one of my text books has something especially lucid to say about the created order and our responsibilities and response toward it as God’s stewards.  I came across such a passage the other night, and though we’ll come to Colossians later in our current series, I wanted to share it now as well:

Those who have been reconciled to God become proclaimers of reconciliation, calling others to the reconciling love of Christ.  Finally, as Paul indicated in Colossians 1:20, the scope of reconciliation is cosmic.  God wills nothing short of the reconciliation and unification of all the created order.  This is not a far-fetched hyperbolic statement.  It has strong implications for ecology.  God desires nothing less than a completely harmonious and unified world as he created it to be.  Those of us who have been reconciled to God in Christ should seek to be ministers of reconciliation on every level – among our fellow human beings and toward the natural order as well. (John B. Polhill, Paul and His Letters)

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Tuesday
Sep112012

even the limpets cry out

Thank you beyond words to everyone who responded to my last post with such encouragement and support.  You really have really been the community of Christ to me in the last week, and I am very grateful for your friendship and prayer.  As alluded to in that post, I've wanted to pass along some animal-related stories which have touched me over the Summer, sometimes even speaking to the tensions and longing I was experiencing personally.  Following is one from renowned 19th century preacher Charles H. Spurgeon.

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Tuesday
Sep042012

summer of silence

I (Ben) owe anyone connected to not one sparrow and our blog an apology for the long silence these past four months.  I've had a chance to fill some of you in a bit more on what's been going on, and am grateful for the patience and understanding you've shown.  But I know some more public explanation is overdue. 

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Monday
Apr302012

overdue thanks

Some long overdue thanks are owed to the following friends and readers for generously featuring or linking to not one sparrow on their blog or website in recent months.  Thank you sincerely for doing so, and please forgive my tardiness in acknowledging your kindness ...

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Sunday
Apr222012

another green step

To celebrate Earth Day, I thought I'd share this very practical and encouraging post from Tracey Bianchi, a Christian creation care enthusiast and author of Green Mama, on cutting back a bit on meat for a number of very good reasons ...

I had a phase in college when I thought that perhaps I would become a vegetarian.  I had no real reason for doing so other than acting sort of hippie-ish seemed like an identity that I wanted to try on for a while.  That and a good friend at the time was a vegetarian.  Vegan was a little to extreme for my little experiment so I decided dairy would be okay, yogurt and ice-cream were close companions and I dared not part from them.

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Monday
Apr162012

tending sheep as David did

part two of a reflection on W. Phillip Keller's A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 ...

We looked at the juxtaposition of Keller's compassionate and biblical animal husbandry to modern industrial animal farming in the last post.  This time, I'd like to point to another contrast Keller raises between his own model of tending sheep and other far more careless methods he came in contact with personally. 

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Tuesday
Apr102012

a shepherd looks at Psalm 23

When I was about 13 and with my parents on the mission field in Holland, a youth-led service was organized for the American Air Force chapel service we attended Sunday evenings, which my father assisted and later chaplained.  I volunteered to give the 'sermon,' which though it was from the heart, essentially ended up being a book review of W. Philip Keller's A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 (Zondervan, org. published in '70). 

But I could hardly have picked a better book to sermonize from, and was reminded of this fact when I read through the book again in recent months.  Not only is the book based on one of the most meaningful and beloved passages in Scripture, but Keller's insight into the unique and nuanced dynamics of tending sheep as a longtime shepherd himself, unfamiliar to most of us today but certainly not lost on  David, is unfathomably deep.  I can't emphasize enough how much more meaning the psalm takes on through reading it alongside Keller's personal experience and faithful commentary.

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Tuesday
Apr032012

celebrating the resurrection of Christ with a season of suffering

Many thanks to Lauren Merritt of The Christian and Creation ~ Glorifying the Creator for shining a light on the unintended consequences many of our common Easter pets experience:

The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. (Psalm 145:9, NIV, emphasis added)

The meaning of Easter has been mostly lost in our culture, dissolved into a flurry of fluffy yellow candy, hunts for plastic eggs and the ever famous four-legged, long-eared emblem of the season.

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