Archives for category: stewardship

I discovered the work of Plant With Purpose (formerly known as Floresta) through The Ecclesia Collective here in San Diego. I was hooked by the question on the flier advertising a seminar they were leading: What is the connection between deforestation and poverty? For me, the question went a step further: What does any of this have to do with loving & serving people, and participating in the mission of God in the world?

Tending to Eden: Environmental Stewardship for God’s People by Scott Sabin, executive director of Plant With Purpose, addresses these questions in a way environmental-laypeople like myself can understand and relate to.  Eden is filled with engaging stories from Plant With Purpose’s work around the world, and from Scott’s own experience. I was happy to receive a review copy of Eden as part of the Plant With Purpose blog tour, which includes many thoughtful perspectives from across the blogosphere.

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I love the idea of going green.

I believe that followers of Jesus are called to be good stewards of this world that God loves so much.  While to some people asking the question, What would Jesus drive? might sound a little goofy, I think questions like this are well worth considering.  Our everyday decisions have consequences.  To paraphrase an idea from the Bible, if our actions have the net effect of hurting those around us, can we really say we love God?

However, connecting ideals to the actual living of life is always the tough part, right?  That’s why I appreciate ideas like this portable solar panel tree. From Gizmodo:

The Solar Tree was invented by Gurdeep Sandhu, and avoids the complicated process of having to install the a solar power system on your roof. You can move it too, so if you change house, you can take it with you. It doesn’t entirely solve the aesthetic problem of having such a thingamajig on your garden, but at least is better than having a roof full of panels and it can be folded at night

At least one commenter noted that, given its portability, security might be an issue (although I’m pretty sure you’d hear the semi-trailer rolling up to your house that would-be criminals would need to haul off your solar tree).

For most of us, installing solar panels at home would probably be too expensive, even with state rebates.  While I’m guessing this portable solar tree is still out of reach for most of us (I couldn’t seem to find any pricing information), I appreciate the fact that it is a step in the right direction.   It would be great to have massive change all at once in important areas of our lives, but the fact is, we often need to take incremental steps that point us in the right direction.

A little while back down here in San Diego I met Jason Coker, who started an organization called Twoshirts.  In their words:

Twoshirts is a community of gift-giving where people freely give and receive all kinds of different things in our items listings, from appliances, to clothing, to help and services.

Twoshirts members have given away over 1000 items to each other since we started in January, 2008. We simply think generosity is a better way to live.

In fact, our vision is to connect the world in relationships of generosity.

There’s hardly a better way to become a generous person than to begin practicing generosity.

Also, if you’d like a quick music fix, you can find free tracks from Rooftop Vigilantes and Handome Furs over at Stereogum.   Insound has a couple of free MP3s as well, including the irrepressibly bouncy Los Campesinos!

If you’re feeling kinda dancy, but not particularly bouncy, you can listen to the new The Whitest Boy Alive track at their MySpace.  Can’t wait for the new Kings of Convenience album!!

The other day, we took one of our cars in for repairs in the morning (an aside: upsell drives me nuts. Seriously, just fix my brakes. Don’t try to sell me the overhaulin’ twin-cam dual overhead shift on the fly transmission flushing filter replacement “manager’s special.”) and when we returned to pick it up that same afternoon the price at the local gas station had gone up over five cents a gallon.

Ugh.

So, given skyrocketing fuel prices (and our sadly static income), I decided to follow DJ Chuang’s advice and drive slower in order to conserve gas. People here in SD drive fast. From my experience, most drivers on the freeways are driving between 70 and 80 mph. Given my chronic tardiness, and my bionic lead foot, I tended to be towards the higher end of that spectrum.

For the last week I have been driving about 65 mph and, wonder of wonders, it really does conserve gas. If being tailgated even though I’m driving in the far right lane doesn’t kill me first, I think we could stand to save over $400 a year at this rate. Crazy, just crazy. Plus, beating up on my car a little less should make it less angry with me.

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Can someone tell me why the gas mileage on the 1984 Honda Civic (51 mpg city/67 mpg highway) utterly crushes the 2008 Toyota Prius (48/45)? How does that make any sense at all? It’s hard not to believe there’s some sort of conspiracy afoot when dealing with those kinds of numbers.

Is there some correlation between the amazing gas mileage of the ’84 Civic to the magical year of the Tigers’ last World Series victory?

For adventure seekers who are not afraid of being decapitated by their own recreational device, the good people of Tecnologia Aeroespacial Mexicana have just the product for you — your very own personal rocket-powered helicopter backpack! [h/t: Engadget] Perhaps this helicopter backpack will revolutionize personal transportation the way the Segway was supposed to (never get stuck in rush hour again! almost lose your noggin every time!) — although it might be harder to customize your copter-pack, like this Segway with spinners.

And, if you ever have the cash to show Bill Gates who’s boss, then you might consider purchasing this $2 billion home [h/t: Gizmodo]. Does a person really need a 22-story home with 400,000 square feet of interior space? I guess there’s a certain madness that sets in when a person’s net worth hits ten or eleven digits. But, if each floor of this home were equally divided in worth, then just giving up one floor would be the equivalent of sponsoring almost 3 million World Vision kids for a year.

Ever since the drought in Georgia and the wildfires here in San Diego last October, our almost-five year old daughter has been very conscious about conserving water. In fact, since then our family has taken steps such as keeping a bucket in the shower, turning off the water while shampooing and generally taking shorter showers. We want to teach and model stewardship to our daughter, so that she will see that following Jesus is something we do with our whole lives.

Our daughter’s favorite water conservation technique is to collect water from the main tub faucet after switching off the shower head. She always makes sure to tell me, “It’s for the plants.”

Today, after her shower, I asked her why we should try to save water. She looked at me with a huge smile and said, “Because I want to take care of God’s Kingdom, Daddy!”

That’s my girl :)

…One is to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less. — GK Chesterton

Samuel Kwon has written a great post, Poverty & Greed, about how we might, as the church, direct our anti-poverty movements. These are much needed words:

I wish the Christian movements would, in addition to calling us to fight poverty, call us to fight greed fearlessly, the love of money that tries to buy comfort in the form of nicer cars, bigger houses, newer kitchens, and (allegedly) better lives.

Of course, this is treading into dangerous territory — the realm of personal finances has become somewhat akin to the holy of holies into which others may only dare enter at great risk of bodily harm.

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