Yep that’s it folks – elephant poop! I just couldn’t resist letting you know about this one
This is no joke—there’s a new line of eco-paper available, and for once, the term’s not an oxymoron. It’s from the Sri-Lankan based company Mr. Ellie Pooh, and yes, the paper really is made out of elephant poop. Even more amazing than the fact that elephant poop paper exists at all is the reason it was created in the first place. Read more
Like many of you I get inundated with books each month that I should read and review on my blog. I like to make sure that I give them all the attention they deserve. I know as a writer myself that there is nothing worse than feeling people do not appreciate the effort I have put into a book. On the other hand I must confess there are some books I am more drawn to than others. So here is a quick synopsis of books I have received in the last few weeks
All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets and Witnesses for Our Times:, Robert Ellsberg. This is the best book that has come across my desk in the last couple of weeks. It is a wonderful collection of stories from the lives of saints and prophets of all ages and traditions. I am enjoying it with my morning devotions and am both challenged and enriched by the saints I am reading about. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to reconnect to the saints of past ages and strengthen their faith through the witness of those who have gone before.
Parabola: Experiencing Jesus As Reality, Kelly Deppen. I loved the premise of this book that in Christ the realms of heaven and earth collide and the idea that the intended earthly home for followers of Christ is a place where heaven permeates earth. I also enjoyed the way that the author used her scientific knowledge to undergird this understanding – particularly her provocative comments on Einstein who showed the world that things unseen are often more real than what is seen.
“Could it be that the entire universe is made of, organized by and held togther by an unseen thing?… As science moves closer to understanding the nature of reality, it reveals the unseen realm – the real of Spirit. (p69)
As a contemplative I appreciated the contemplative exercises at the end of the early chapters. It was a shame that Deppen did not continue these throughout the book. I also struggled with the very conservative language that she uses for God which seemed inconsistent with the radical thoughts she was expressing. Generally a book worth browsing through for anyone with a scientific mindset.
Eve: A Novel of the First Woman, Elissa Elliot. I should preface my review of this book by saying that I do not generally enjoy Christian novels and so maybe I was a little prejudiced from the start. Even though Elliot has a richly imaginative way of writing I found the the language rather stilted and therefore the story difficult to read and unreal. I think it portrayed well the struggles that arose because of Eve’s eating of the fruit but it seemed to me that too much emphasis was placed on Eve’s responsibility. Adam appears as a rather ineffectual figure while Abel looms larger than life as the one of her children that Eve loved most. While this book will not hold a privileged place on my own bookshelves I think it would be a welcome addition to those who enjoy Christian fiction.
Salvation on the Small Screen? 24 Hours of Christian Television is a beautiful conversational approach to theology, humor, personal reflection and hope, in spite of ludicrous and the broken.
What others are saying about the book:
“Turn off your TV and read this book. It’s enlightening and entertaining and it doesn’t emit any radiation whatsoever.”
–AJ Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically
“For those searching for faith through the fog of Christian folk religion Nadia Bolz-Weber is the ideal guide. Full of wit, sensitivity, and insight, Salvation On The Small Screen is a rare gift for the faith-seeking in the postmodern age. This book will invite, provoke and soothe those seeking to find Christianity in the midst of televised faith.”
-Doug Pagitt, author of A Christianity Worth Believing
From 5am November 2nd to 5 am November 3rd (2007) Nadia Bolz-Weber watched 24 consecutive hours of cable televangelism/prosperity gospel fare on Trinity Broadcasting Network. 28 guests, including Bible Scholars from Iliff School of Theology, a gay Unitarian, her non-religious ex-boyfriend, a couple of Jews, her Evangelical parents, Lutheran pastors and her 9 year old daughter all joined Nadia for an hour each so that the book becomes a conversation between what’s happening on the TV, what’s happening on the sofa, and what’s happing in the writer’s head. The result is a narrative which is frequently hysterical, often insightful and occasionally totally surprising.
Nadia Bolz-Weber is the mission developer at House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado, an “emergent” liturgical community. She holds a BA in Religious Studies from University of Colorado at Boulder and an MDiv from Iliff School of Theology. Nadia lives in Denver with her husband and two children and blogs at www.sarcasticlutheran.com
The stack of books that I am reading is growing – maybe that is because I am beginning to sense spring in the air and the seeds are already sending out shoots or maybe its just because I love to read.
Yesterday I read through Max Lucado’s little book For These Tough Times. Of course it was written before the economic crisis loomed but it has some very good thoughts that can be both comforting and reassuring during this season. It is reassuring to know that God has not lost control and that God does not stop loving us because tragedy strikes and the world becomes a scary and uncertain place. I love the thought
Nature is God’s workshop. The sky is his resume. The universe his calling card.
Part of our problem in times of tragedy is that we limit God and often don’t pray or respond with God in mind. Lucado reminds of the importance of girding the world with prayer in times of tragedy and brings us back to the Biblical stories of struggle that show God is still at work . It is easy for us in the midst of our lack of understanding to forget to turn to God. This little book is a great reminder that God is still in control.
Come to our second “The Revolution Starts at Home” event, Justice at the Table! with Ricci Kilmer. We will explore together the intricate connections between our faith and the food we eat. We will challenge ourselves and each other to bring our eating and buying practices more in line with our beliefs and draft a “Justice at the Table Plan” to help us implement the changes we hope to make.
Registration is required. Register online.
* Date – February 7th, 2009
* Where – Mustard Seed House, 510 NE 81st Street Seattle, WA 98115 (upper floor, back entrance)
* Time – 9am – 3pm
* Food – Coffee, Tea, and a vegetarian lunch is included. Please bring any snack with you that you wish to share.
* Children – Due to our limited space and small staff, we are unable to offer childcare at this event. You are welcome however to bring children 2 and under with you if you feel they’d do well in a room of chatting adults.
* Cost – $40 individual/$35 groups of 2 or more (if cost is prohibitive please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for scholarship information)
Someone commented yesterday on how many of my reflections revolve around the garden and I have been thinking about why this is so ever since. I did not grow up as a garden lover – in fact my mother is constantly amazed at how keen I have become on gardening. I think that it was really only when I moved to Seattle that I started to become fascinated with the view outside and it is only in the last few years that this has become one of my driving passions. So how did this happen?
When Tom and I were married he had a few tomato plants growing in the side garden and a few scraggly plants in the front. For the first couple of years I was constantly frustrated because I really wanted to replicate the garden I would have grown in Sydney Australia and of course the bouganvillia, hibiscus and other tropical plants I tried just did not survive. So I started reading seed catalogues and that was my undoing. the exotic photos of flowers and vegetables where a temptation I could not ignore. And as the plants started to grow I discovered that eating fresh picked tomatoes is a truly spiritual experience.
Genesis tells us that God walked in the Garden of Eden and I always feel that God still walks in the garden with me today. No don’t worry that I am about to become an animist, it is just that most of the best spiritual lessons I learn these days come from the garden rather than from books – and from someone that loves reading as much as I do that is quite a confession.
The Celts believed that nature was translucent and that the glory of God shone through. The ancient monks believed that in creating gardens they were recreating something of the garden of Eden. In here book Looking For God, Nancy Ortberg says nature holds more beauty than our eyes can bear which beautifully sums up why I have developed such a love affair with the garden. We can try to recreate an experience of heaven in our churches with bells and smells and rich ornamentation, but that doesn’t come close to the wonder of God experienced in the fragrance of flowers, the melody of birdsong and the beauty of plants and animals.
I think that one of the reasons people are moving away from Christianity at time warp speed is because we have so divorced our faith from the natural world. We confine our worship to a little stuffy church building and restrict our devotion to reading words about God without connecting to the glory of God all around us. I read about the death and resurrection of Christ in the Bible, but I experience it every time I plant a seed and watch it burst into life. I read about the faithfulness of God to Israel but I experience it every time I watch the rain fall and nourish the seeds I have planted. I read about the miracle of the fish and the loaves but I experience a miracle every time I am overwhelmed by the generosity of God’s harvest.
I am planning to run a workshop this spring on the spirituality of gardening which has me thinking more than ever about the lessons to be learned. What do you think? How does your experience of nature connect you more deeply to God?