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Showing posts from October, 2009

Bad News, Good News

Earlier this month while attending a conference I had the pleasure of listening to a speech by Doug Tallamy, author and entomologist at the University of Delaware. His talk, about creating a balanced community i.e. between the natural world and the built world of man, started out horribly depressing. In the U.S. we have 62,500 sq. miles of turf grass; one-third of all bird species in the U.S. are in decline or endangered; "Birds lost 50% of their habitat because we're mowing and raking the world," he quipped.
96% of bird species eat insects. We've left only tiny habitats in our suburban landscapes and many of those contain plants that aren't native, hence the insects that birds, amphibians, and mammals would be feeding on, just aren't around. Only tiny populations can exist in tiny habitats, and tiny populations are vulnerable to extirpation and extinction. Our remaining natural areas--in too many places--are not large enough to sustain creatures.

What to …

Err...umm...a proposal?

Some in our society bemoan the low literacy rates--heck, the apparent lower interest in the the enterprise of reading itself. We've got rising obesity and diabetes among the young, along with who knows what other "conditions" psychiatrists and psychologists have yet to "diagnose." Children don't play outside as much (this is a battle in my own house), many appear to be regularly incurious about the world. What to be done? What to be done, frets the English teacher.
Why not, starting with the president all the way down to mayors, tell parents and children not to buy video game systems, hold off for a while on buying that movie or TV show on DVD, let the cable bill lapse for a month or two; don't add another song to the ipod for a month. Instead, buy a new board game, plan several trips to a park, go to the library and borrow some books to read aloud. Notice I did not say that the government should ban video games, DVDs, cable TV and such. That woul…

Wonder and disgust

Why does the sight of the flying V of Canada geese thrill me? The overhead honk and the whistle of flapping mousy brown wings stirs excitement within me.

And yet. . . these same avian wonders nearly always bring out a pantomime routine of mine where I cock a shotgun and fire away at the plump feathered ovals with legs when I see them grazing our (addiction to?) lawns. Perhaps their gift of fertilization causes this reaction? Their oh, so charming hiss when you move too close? I don't know, but it's strange when the same creature brings out two different reactions based on their position on the earth or in the sky.
I guess it's just a puzzle of autumn.

Tradition and Sola Scriptura

We read this statement from a Korean affirmation of faith this past Sunday: "We believe in the Old and New Testaments as the sufficient rule both of faith and of practice." Incredibly, I found myself immediately disagreeing with that. Necessary? Yes. Sufficient? I'm not sure. George Florovsky in "The Function of Tradition in the Ancient Church" writes "Tradition was, in fact, the authentic interpretation of scripture. . . . Tradition was actually scripture rightly understood."
What does that mean? Well, it seems to me, that scripture can't stand on its own as a guide. After all what does Jesus mean when he says "And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes"(Luke 16:9)? I don't know, maybe Robert Tilton can tell us, or your pastor, but better perhaps one of the church fathers. Why trust the accumulation of history, culture, and …