Oct 31 2022

What Frightens Me This Halloween

It’s Halloween.  Are you afraid?  I am.  It’s not the ghosts and goblins that may appear at my front door tonight that I’m afraid of.  No, it’s something much more sinister.  It is the lack of concern for the environment I see in so many people, especially political leaders.  A number of recent studies indicate that our planet is in big trouble.  On a weekly basis we see reports on television of growing wildfires, severe drought, extreme storms, and devastating floods.  We now know that no one on earth is safe from the harmful effects of pollution.  Climate change and pollution are taking a heavy toll on plants and animals everywhere.  They’re taking a toll on all of us.  But who cares?  O, I know many people do but not nearly enough.  I’ve seen several polls listing the primary concern of voters for the midterm elections.  In most of them environmental issues do not even make the list.  The lack of concern for our planet right now truly does frighten me!

The damage we are doing to the earth literally affects everyone.  It affects our physical health.  It affects our economy.  It affects the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe.  It affects our general well-being.  It affects the places we choose to live and love to visit.  It affects the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees.  It affects our children and pets.  It affects our future.  How can something that affects all of us so much be of such little concern in today’s society?  This frightens me!

It also scares me that environmental issues have polarized our political leaders.  If there should be unity on any issue it should be the health and welfare of our planet and its inhabitants.  But that is not the case, is it?  Every day I pray that our leaders will learn to put aside their political differences and do what is right, what is best, for our country and the rest of the world.  Far too much is at stake for them not to!  We can do better than this.  It frightens me that we’re not.

Finally, it frightens me that so many who claim to believe in God and the Bible ignore the biblical mandate to be good stewards of Creation.  Too many forget that “the earth is the Lord’s” (Psalm 24:1) and that it does not belong to us to do with as we please.  One of God’s first commands was that we tend the Garden and be good caretakers.  God gave us “dominion” so that this wonderful planet can be preserved and maintained for the good of all–not to abuse for selfish gain.  I happen to be a Christian minister who believes that caring for the environment is a vital part of our spiritual journey.  It frightens me that so many other believers do not.

Yes, on this Halloween I am finding many things that frighten me.  I hope they frighten you too.


Oct 31 2012

Creepy or God’s Work?

Spiders are a common part of the fall scene. This is one reason they have been associated with Halloween, plus they always seem a little creepy to most of us. Many spiders breed in the fall which is one reason why they are more commonly seen. Our inclination is to judge them as somehow bad and only worth a stomp of the foot or a spray of some pesticide. Spiders are just pests … or are they?

Chuck has often referred to the two books of God, the Bible and Creation. This is not a new concept and has long been part of the tradition of Christianity, likely beginning with Christian scientists between 1600-1800. The Bible itself has something to say about this, such as Psalm 19: 1-4, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out to the ends of the world.”  Paul also wrote in Romans 1:20, “Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

So back to spiders (and we could include a whole lot of other critters we don’t understand). We tend to see them with man-centered eyes, rather than seeing the glory of God as written in the book of nature. Look closely at spiders and one has to be amazed. These are the most important predators on earth – both in sheer numbers and diversity of species, spiders outdo any other predator. Would God have formed a world with spiders being so important if they truly were not special in His eyes? These little creatures could not be better adapted to a life connected very closely with every part of our world. Most create webs to capture prey, other small creatures. These webs are engineering marvels with supporting structures stronger than steel – yes, spider silk is stronger than steel if you compare pieces of each at the same size. If we believe that Creation declares the glory of God, then such amazing feats of design and engineering makes perfect sense. Of course spiders are this “smart” – God made them as important links in a nature filled with complex webs of life. God did not make them for us but for a world that is so much more than simply people.

I seem to have a cautious love for spiders. I find them fascinating, but I still find them a bit creepy. I think the big orbweaver webs are stunning, but if I run into one, I panic and act like a man possessed. Even though very few spiders are capable of biting a person, I cannot react calmly to one crawling across my skin.

But I can and do photograph them. There is something remarkable about watching a spider build a web, finding sheet webs decorating your yard’s plants or discovering a spider that has hunted down its prey as surely as a lion hunts its prey. Everything about a spider is adapted to make it perfect for its unique place in the world, from its eight legs to its silk glands (spiders can make seven different types of silk), and these adaptions “display knowledge” of God’s amazing Creation.

— Rob