Apr 29 2012

“The Good Life”

In a few hours I will begin a journey that will take me out west to the Chihuahuan desert.  This desert region is found mostly in Mexico but does extend into southern New Mexico and Texas.  The only section of this desert that I’ve visited before was at White Sands National Monument.  I am looking forward to getting to explore other portions of it as I photograph Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Big Bend National Park.

While doing some preparatory reading for this adventure I picked up John A. Murray’s book, Cactus Country.  Here I found these words: “Like any desert, the Chihuahuan has much to teach us about nature and life, especially the good life.  It is a place to get outside of time for awhile, to listen to the song of oriole and the breeze in cottonwood leaves, to watch the sun rise and the sun set, to look up at the distant stars in renewed wonder.”

I agree with Murray that the desert, along with other ecosystems, has much to teach us about nature and life, “especially the good life.”  I don’t know for sure what Murray meant by “good life” but for me it is the life God meant for us when He created the world.  I believe that the Creator put the world together in such a way that we can, if we pay attention, learn much about life and how it is meant to be lived.

The past couple of weeks I’ve been reading from the Book of Proverbs before going to bed at night.  Numerous times in this wonderful collection of wisdom the writer discerns lessons from the natural world.  In Proverbs 30 alone the biblical writer makes references to the earth’s winds and waters, its land and fire.  Further references are made in this chapter to ravens and vultures, eagles, snakes, badgers, locusts, lizards, lions, roosters, and goats.  Even the lowly ant is mentioned as an example of something small, but wise, since ants “store up their food in the summer.” (v. 25)

I encourage you to learn about nature and life, especially the good life, from your surroundings.  People have been doing so since the beginning of time.  I know school will soon be getting out for a lot of folks but maybe it’s time for some of us to just begin.  May we all be open to learning what we can about the “good life” through the Scriptures and God’s “other book.”


(I took the two images above at White Sands National Monument in southern New Mexico.)

Jun 16 2010

“Galactic Blast”

Yosemite NP 367“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”  Proverbs 22:6

This week the church I serve is having Vacation Bible School.  Our theme is “Galactic Blast: A Cosmic Adventure Praising God”.  The curriculum, produced by Cokesbury, was chosen by our children’s director, Dee Branham.  I’m glad Dee chose to go this route because each night the children are learning that there is a connection between Christianity and the environment.

On the very first night the kids learned about how God created the earth and were reminded that it belongs to Him.  In the sessions that  have followed, the children have learned spiritual truths from God’s Creation.  Each night they have also been given “green tips.”  They are learning practical things even they can do to be better stewards of the earth. 

I grew up going to multiple Vacation Bible Schools every year.  I don’t remember ever being taught that caring for the earth is a part of our Christian calling.  Thankfully, the children coming to our Vacation Bible School this year are being exposed to this important truth.  They are actually learning how to see God in His Creation too.

I don’t know how many churches are using Galactic Blast this year but I hope there are many.  It is imperative that our children learn how important it is that we practice Creation Care.  They, too, need to be taught to look for God in this beautiful and amazing world He has created. 

I do not happen to be a parent but I know the value of recognizing and taking advantage of “teachable moments” with kids.   I happen to believe that we have all been presented a teachable moment with the Gulf oil spill.  Our children see the news, they know what’s going on.  Now would be a great time to share with them God’s concern for the earth and the responsibility we all have to take care of it.  Now would be the ideal time to “train a child in the way he should go…”


(The image above was taken at Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park.)