Good Soil

“Don’t scoff at the idea of a pastor who is also a farmer writing about Jesus’ parable of the sower. Robinson is the real deal–a farmer who lived off the land for two decades, raising children with his wife and without electricity. . . . The book resonates with the injunction to live simply so others can simply live and has a profound simplicity of message and tone. . . . In a gently admonitory tone the author offers a radical call to all believers to join in the harvest of a healthy crop of followers in the fields of the Lord.”–Publishers Weekly

Crown Financial Freedom Seminar

Like most of you, Jill and I have experienced financial peaks and valleys. The peaks are not just windfalls of money. The peaks can be the blessing, hard-work and grace of God to pay off debts and be financially free to give away more. The valleys can be the reality of debts that can pile up when life hits you from different directions.

An illness or surgery, braces or serious dental work, college, an accident–so many ways we can get financially derailed. You’ve experienced these things yourself! That’s why I’m very excited about the Crown Financial Freedom Seminar Garnett is hosting January 19, 2008.

We’ve invited the community, put an ad in Community Spirit Magazine, promoted this widely in the community, and everyone is invited–both those struggling and those who are on solid footing but want to continue so and help others.

Walk up registrations are welcome. Just show up Saturday at 8:15 am and register. Seminar starts at 8:45 and goes through 4 pm. Cost is only $25 each. Breakfast and lunch will be served for donations only.

Crying Indian and Recycling

Do you remember this commercial? If you grew up in the 70s and watched TV, it’s part of your consciousness. But have you really done anything about it either personally or on a large scale? I think our society has done a lot, but we’re also still lagging both on personal and national scales.

I know it’s weird to say this, but recycling and composting is a spiritual discipline for our family. That will make sense to some. For others that are squinting their eyes and cocking their heads, consider this: spiritual disciplines don’t all happen on your rear with a book laid across your lap. In fact, most don’t.

Brother Lawrence found spiritual meaning in the mundane and normal of life. Recycling and composting both helps us reflect on our consumption and also do our part to help tend God’s creation.

Recycling is a hassle that we don’t do for ourselves. We don’t make any money from it. It’s a chore that we all pitch in to do, and we do it for the sake of God’s creation that we are called to tend and restore, not constantly consume.

We have a friend in Nashville who works for a school and encourages recycling by having a company keep bins at the schools and giving part of the profits to the school. She manages the children in the lunchroom to divide all the garbage into categories and gets children and parents to help work Saturdays when the community comes up to recycle.

It was this friend who converted our family to recycling. After composting kitchen scraps and recycling, we typically have two bags of regular trash a week for a family of five and the rest goes into recycling.

Today’s recycling from approximately one month of collecting:

45 pounds of newspaper, magazines

6 pounds of glass (mostly spaghetti/pizza sauce, one jar of Durango, Colorado honey)

5 pounds of plastic (milk jugs, soda, etc.)

15 pounds of cardboard

2 pounds of tin cans

3 pounds of aluminum cans

The bulk of this fills up our van with seats down, about a dozen bags that garbage collectors don’t have to fool with, that stays out of landfills, and that recycle into products and save using new resources.

Are you constantly consuming and throwing away without a care? I used to but will no longer.

Moral problem

A 2004 survey said one-third of Americans agree this moral issue is our biggest problem . . . Is it homosexuality and gay marriage? Gluttony? Teen sex before marriage?

What was the moral problem one-third of Americans thought is the biggest right now?

Greed and materialism.

Here’s what John Perry and a group of friends are doing about it: they created a Compact. The Compact is for one year . . . not to buy anything new. They are trying to take a stand “against rampant consumption and waste.” News spread and thousands are participating worldwide. Some have angrily critiqued the idea. Says John Perry, 42, of San Francisco, “We’ve been told shopping is patriotic. Part of the promise of success in America is that you can buy lots of stuff.”

Read about exceptions to the compact, such as food at groups.yahoo.com/group/thecompact

Source: Sierra Magazine (Sep/Oct 06)