Brown - When heaven and nature Sing

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Edward R. Brown - When heaven and nature Sing. Exploring God’s Goals for His People and His World
My youngest daughter would like to run the world. It started when, as a student at the University of Minnesota, she spent a summer working at the Minnesota Zoo. She recorded the experience on her first blog with a title that played on one of her favorite Dr. Seuss books: “If Amy Ran The Zoo.”
 
A few months later she went on a semester abroad, and the blog became “If Amy Ran Senegal.” Returning from that experience, with graduation coming and the whole world in front of her, the blog morphed into the present “If Amy Ran the World…”
Amy is not alone. Whether it’s the company where we work, the community we live in, or national politics, we all have times when we want to say, “Who’s running this place, anyway? If only I were in charge…”
So who is running the world?
 

Edward R. Brown - When heaven and nature Sing. Exploring God’s Goals for His People and His World

Doorlight Publications, South Hadley, Massachusetts 2012 - 133
ISBN 0-9838653-1-0
ISBN13 978-0-9838653-1-5
 

Edward R. Brown - When heaven and nature Sing. Exploring God’s Goals for His People and His World - Contents

Foreword by Howard Snyder
Introduction

Part I: Who is Running this Place?

1 Who’s Running this Place, Anyway?
2 Doing Things God’s Way
3 What Does God Want?
4 Dominion and Sovereignty
5 God’s Goals

Part II: God’s World, God’s Goals

6 A Name is More than Just a Name
7 Proclaiming His Name through Witness and Worship
8 Proclaiming His Name through a Flourishing Creation
9 God Cares about His Kingdom
10 The Greatest Movement in History
11 God Cares About Us!
12 A Unique Position
13 A Special Status
14 An Awesome Responsibility

Part III: Getting There from Here

15 A Place to Begin
16 Preparing for a New World
 
Reference List and Resources For Further Study
The Six Principles
 

Edward R. Brown - When heaven and nature Sing. Exploring God’s Goals for His People and His World – Introduction

 
Five years ago I discovered E. O. Wilson’s little book, The Creation , in a local bookstore. Wilson, Harvard Biologist and a prominent leader of the modern environmental movement, addressed a plea to a hypothetical pastor: “Dear Pastor, we scientists need your help.” Wilson was right. The world desperately needs the church to join in a response to the environmental crisis. That was the nudge that I needed to begin writing Our Father’s World: Mobilizing the Church to Care for Creation. And, as I showed in that book, the church is not only needed, she is uniquely suited to lead that response.
 
Five years later, where are we?
 
The environmental crisis continues unabated. In spite of occasional breakthroughs here and there the general trend is an acceleration of degradation. Our ecological house is falling apart. There is no need to elaborate. Pick up any newspaper or scan the environment section of any major news website and you will read the same story. Or talk to someone from Kenya or the Philippines or Haiti. In these and any number of other countries human suffering and environmental degradation are increasingly linked.
 
I began Our Father’s World with a description of the scene outside my dining room window, where an apparently pristine restored prairie conceals an old city landfill. I suggested that this was a metaphor for the environmental crisis today: covered up, often invisible but still dangerous. If we were to update that analogy now, I would say that a third of the prairie has been peeled back. The foul garbage beneath is breaking through in many places. The environmental crisis today is a lot more obvious than it was just five years ago.
 
Have we made any progress in figuring out what to do about it?
 
Responses are fragmented. A difficult political climate combined with a severe economic recession has pushed environmental concerns to the back burner both for the general public and within the church. When you don’t have a job, or when you are looking at the loss of your home, it’s hard to get excited about recycling or using alternative energy. This is understandable. But it can have tragic results. Like a parent forced to neglect her children’s health by skimping on milk and vaccinations to pay the rent, it might seem unavoidable – no, it might be unavoidable – but there is a heavy price to pay. As with children’s teeth damaged by poor nutrition, environmental consequences won’t wait while we put the economy back together. Those of us tempted to cheer for jobs over environmental action should be aware of the long-term effects of this kind of strategy.
 
Environmentalists are discouraged. Environmental and economic trends are accelerating, driven by an inexorable increase in the number of human beings on the planet. Prominent writers and thinkers are starting to look beyond the present crisis toward what they see as an inevitable crash and are asking how people and communities can survive what appears to be inevitable. This sounds like the stuff of doomsday websites and people who study ancient South American calendars, but these individuals are smart and well respected. Folks like Bill McKibben, who is convinced that our planet has already been so changed that it needs a new name: He calls it Planet Eaarth and his book by that name is worth your time. James “Gus” Speth, who has spent much of his career in the White House, argues that our entire market capitalist system is doomed and needs to be replaced. The standard watchword of the environmental movement, ‘sustainability’, is being pushed aside by a new word, ‘resilience’. It is too late to talk of sustaining our present course of action. Instead we need to build a society that is resilient – capable of withstanding the inevitable challenges caused by centuries of environmental abuse.
 
Reading these authors, I feel like a passenger in a damaged airplane at the moment when the pilots finally conclude that a crash landing is inevitable. Focus suddenly shifts from keeping the plane in the air to preparing for impact. That’s the position McKibben, Speth and many others think we are in right now.
 

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