From Kendra Langdon Juskus, Managing Editor
Flourish magazine, Summer 2010
Where does one draw the line between daily, domestic life and the global dimensions of history and humanity? Is there even a line to be drawn?
These questions are staring us in the face right now. With disaster still billowing out of a rupture in the earth’s crust beneath the Gulf of Mexico, we have asked and been asked again and again: What is our responsibility? We cannot ignore that driving to sports practice and school and church and the grocery store—the domesticities of daily life—has played a part in this epic tragedy. We’ve witnessed the virtual shrinking of the earth through the capacity of information technology to bring us news and relationships from around the world, but perhaps we’ve been a little slow to realize that our lives away from the Internet also exert, from their small spheres, worldwide influence.
Many of the articles in this issue of Flourish magazine address this fact. Tim Schubert’s article on the interrelatedness of local and global trends in agriculture and food production, for example, explains the ins and outs of how our view of food systems has become so myopic, and how some of the solutions to global food problems can be found right on our kitchen tables.
The best part about understanding how our lifestyles have negatively impacted others is knowing that they can also have positive impacts. This hope is what Drew Ward explores in his article on the re-imagining of our built landscapes through the movement of New Urbanism. According to Ward, fostering richer community, healthier lifestyles, and responsible environmental caretaking everywhere can find its locus in the American suburb. Lisa McMinn and her daughter Megan Anna Neff, in their new book reviewed here, sound a similar clarion call: that part of loving the poor, feeding the hungry, and stewarding the earth takes place in our living rooms and on our shopping trips.
There are a few extraordinary treats in this issue, too. Among them: We debut our first visual art piece with the work of Jennifer Haas, and give you the rare opportunity of learning, through her insightful commentary, a bit about the thought and work processes that undergird her beautiful artistry. Christiana Peterson walks you through one of the most practical and rewarding activities of creation care in the summer, and essayist Tom Montgomery-Fate offers, at a discounted price, his beautiful book Steady and Trembling: Art, Faith, and Family in an Uncertain World, from which this issue’s Last Page feature comes.
In the midst of both epic disasters and individual sufferings, it is important to ask questions about our personal responsibility because God has given us agency over his creation: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15). But it is also important to remember this: “ ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!’” (Revelation 1:17b-18a). That’s a sacred tension that we trust you’ll find thoughtfully explored in this issue of Flourish.