I do not follow everything the Bible says. That would be an impossible task.
Besides, why would I follow everything that the Bible says when in fact, it contradicts itself. How can I follow the teaching in chapter 22 of Deuteronomy where it says that women who commit adultery are to be stoned to death and simultaneously follow Jesus' teaching in John chapter 8 where Jesus forgives a woman who committed adultery and called upon those who were present not to condemn her either?
It's true; I do not follow everything the Bible says; nor do I want to.
I follow Jesus Christ. By the unmerited loving-kindness (grace) of God I will live in a way that is faithful to the Good News of the Kingdom of God.
This is the Good News of the Kingdom of God; "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. God has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. God has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord's favor has come." (Luke 4:18-19)
My desire to live into community with all that has life in Jesus' name is inspired by the Spirit of God and informed by this Good News of the Kingdom of God that Jesus read about, taught about, and lived out himself.
To live into community with all that has life in Jesus' name requires that special focus be given to people and creatures who are impoverished, held captive, and oppressed.
Then there's that line in there that says, "the blind will see."
As the Spirit of God works in the world, God gives spiritual sight to different people to see where God's work needs to be done and invites people like you and me to partner with God and each other to make it happen.
The Spirit of God has given me special love for wildlife and wild spaces and eyes to see the oppression that plagues many ecosystems in Pennsylvania and around the world. There is a line from Aldo Leopold's book A Sand County Almanac that resonates with me. I know I've shared it on this blog some time ago but it merits being shared again, so, here it is:
"One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise." (A Sand County Almanac. Aldo Leopold. Oxford university Press, 1966. pg 197)
I just knew that when I felt that love for wildlife and wild spaces grow in my heart, and when I was given that spiritual sight to see the poverty, captivity, and oppression of wildlife and wild spaces it was a call that I desired to respond to with all that I am; and I do, to the best of my ability.
I attempt to give a voice of advocacy to wildlife and wild spaces and to inspire others to care through my words, my actions, and my guided experiences in the outdoors. All of this is a response to the love which God has placed within me and the poverty, captivity, and oppression of wildlife and wild spaces that God has opened my eyes to over the years.
Who has God given you special love for? What poverty, captivity, or oppression has the Spirit of God opened your eyes to see?
Let us take the love that God has placed within our hearts and let it motivate and empower us to live as expressions of the Good News of the Kingdom of God together.
Living into community with all that has life in Jesus' name is the most challenging of tasks, but there is no greater purpose than to invest our lives in sharing the Good News of the Kingdom of God.
Who has God given you special love for? What poverty, captivity, and oppression has God opened your eyes to see? How will you partner with God and others to answer the call?
Finding God, self, and community in wild spaces. The better we know our wild neighbors the more we'll discover ourselves.
A vision informed by Henry David Thoreau’s interpretation of sauntering, Jesus’ understanding of neighbor, Aldo Leopold’s concept of thinking like a mountain, Rachel Carson’s prophetic voice and John Muir’s way of capturing the beauty and uniqueness of wild neighbors with words.