Archive for April, 2007

Faith in the Workplace

Here are some articles on Faith in the Workplace that I want to keep & refer back to.

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CEOs Blogging

Here’s a wild idea to consider: CEOs blogging the secrets, failures, and ideas of their company. Wired Magazine’s April issue features articles on just that! Read it for yourself!

So when is this appropriate? When isn’t it? How does it apply to your leadership? to mine? I’m still cogitating on this one. Feel free to leave a comment on what YOU think!

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The Comforting Whirlwind Action Items

It’s hard for me to read a book without changing behavior based on what I learned. As a practical person, I ask myself, What should I do differently because of what I learned? What are my own action items now that my understanding has expanded by reading The Comforting Whirlwind by Bill McKibben?

Witnessing the Glory Around Us

What part should we play? … Luckily, of course, there are whole huge categories of activity for which reason is utterly suited and which do not also spell destruction for the rest of the ecosystem. Witnessing the glory around us — that is a role no other creature can play (McKibben 67).

One action item is to make time to regularly spend time in nature.

  • Weekly, I can keep my commitment to spend Sabbath afternoons at Fernwood Botanical Garden, watching the new flowers grow, being silent in the spring sunshine, listening to the rustling of the leaves and the chirping of the birds.
  • Annually, we can plan our vacation trips to include a healthy dose of the outdoor wildness. To feel the wonder of creation and our smallness.

12.jpgWhen I was a student missionary on Arno in the Marshall Islands, I loved to walk down the beach past the village. (See picture.) Sitting on the beach for my morning worship, the silence was immense. The ocean stretching infinitely past the horizon. Pondering nature puts all our problems into perspective. The scene calls us to humility and joy (McKibben 47).

Caring for the Environment
We already do several things to help the environment: recycling, growing some of my own food, eating vegetarian, eating as natural as possible with as little packaging as possible, buying locally grown fresh farm veggies in the summer, driving a hybrid car, purchasing environment friendly hand soap and shampoo to name a few.

But of course there is much more we could do. This list of 50 Ways to Save the Environment is a list to grow by. I could improve in the yard and office areas.

Conscious Self Restraint

The secret weapon of environmental change and of social justice must be this — living with simple elegance is more pleasurable than living caught in the middle of our consumer culture (McKibben, 68).

Of these gifts [joy, home, service, etc], the most unique and the most paradoxical is the ability to restrain ourselves. Conscious self-restraint belongs to no other creature, and for us it is the hardest of all tasks, both as individuals and as societies (McKibben, 69).

I choose restraint. I choose to be content with what I have. I choose to give to others. I choose to resist and reject commercialism as often as possible. Instead, I will walk in the sunshine, the glory of God revealed in the world, and focus on His greatness and love always.

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The Comforting Whirlwind Paradox

So I’ve been reading and re-reading Bill McKibben’s book, The Comforting Whirlwind: God, Job, and the Scale of Creation. It’s one of the assigned readings for the AU Leadership Roundtable this summer.

McKibben thoughtfully uses lessons from the book of Job to explain our responsibility to take care of the environment. The book is an easy read, but will challenge your thinking and behavior.

It started my thinking about a Christian paradox. We know that the earth will be destroyed (2 Peter 3:10); yet God created the earth and commanded us to care for it (Genesis 1:28). Some Christians think that since the earth is going to be destroyed, it doesn’t matter what we do to it now. We have more important things to do; no time to think about the environment.

Yet if we destroy the earth, or even greatly reduce our contact with nature, we are destroying one foundation of our faith. “The images of God’s power that help us locate ourselves on an axis with the divine come largely from nature. It is no accident that many of the best-loved hymns of our faith draw on this emotional power” (McKibben 62); hymns such as How Great Thou Art.

When God spoke to Job he did not reveal Himself; He revealed His works. … Event the most committed doubter can often e shaken by the transcendent pleasure of sitting in a field of native flowers or standing on a wild beach. The sense of rightness, the intuition that the experience is more than the sum of its parts, is both profound and common. When such experiences begin to vanish (as the wildflowers grow less wild, and the beaches reflect our carbon emissions) their religious meaning will fade as well (McKibben 64) .

Thinking that we don’t need to care for the earth because it’s going to be destroyed anyway is like not washing the dishes because they are going to get dirty again. It doesn’t matter if as one person we can’t change the course of a materialistic society. We can and should do our part. It doesn’t matter what we know about prophecy, about the end of time. It isn’t futile to care for the earth now because it will be destroyed later. We should obey God and take care of His creation because He commanded us to. Just like we obey the 10 Commandments because He said to; we should care for His creation too. Not just care for it; but take time to immerse ourselves in the natural grandeur that reminds us of our smallness and God’s greatness.

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