Flourish magazine, Summer 2010
Five Questions For: Tracey Bianchi
Flourish managing editor Kendra Langdon Juskus first met Tracey Bianchi at a suburban diner on a hot summer’s day in 2008. Over mozzarella sticks and milkshakes they shared their enthusiasm for living in walkable neighborhoods, exploring America’s wildernesses with their families, and sharing the glory of God’s creation with God’s church. Since then, Tracey has been regularly spreading that enthusiasm to Flourish readers and others through her website, speaking engagements, and her book, Green Mama: The Busy Mom’s Guide To Helping You and Your Kids Save The Planet (read an excerpt in Flourish magazine!). The proud mama of three kids and a regular speaker and writer for MOPS International, Christianity Today’s Gifted For Leadership blog, FullFill Magazine, and others gave us a peak into what inspires her desire to live graciously and gratefully in God’s earth:
1) What creation care-related scripture is most meaningful to you?
Psalm 24:1 “The Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” I can find no better way to sum up our call to care for the planet than this simple verse. This is God’s place, so we need to do all we can to celebrate and be transformed by this reality. Short. Simple. True.
2) What is your favorite spot in the outdoors?
There is nothing in this world like mid-September in Colorado. I’ll take a crisp morning and a stand of Aspen trees any day. Like salve for the soul. Toss in an early snow-capped peak in the background and forget ever coming down from that mountain.
3) Out of the changes you’ve made in your life to follow God’s call to creation care, what has been the most life-giving or community-enhancing or faith-strengthening?
Jesus’ reminder to love our neighbor as ourselves. When I stop and think about how my actions impact my neighbor (both literally next door and across the world) I cannot help but change my habits and try to move from narcissism to communal action.
4) What is your guilty environmental indulgence?
Ah! Good question, sadly I have more than one to choose from … Honestly, it is driving places that are quite walkable. I confess to hopping in my car like a carbon dioxide addict. Although in my defense, when it is 15 below zero on a February morning in Chicago, can you blame me for driving the kids to school? I love my car too much.
5) What would you recommend as a first step in starting a lifestyle of creation care?
Remember that the big picture is the Kingdom of God: the life-changing, transformational power of God’s people working toward justice here and now. It’s more about hugging people than the trees, and we need both to make life work. Focus on the Kingdom of God, and the rest falls into place.
New Reads and Must Sees
Food Forward TV
A uniquely hopeful food show focused not on the people who complain about how we eat in America, but on the people changing how we eat in America—for the better. If the trailer is any indication, this is a project worth supporting so that it can be broadcast nationally on PBS.
With the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, oceans are getting some much-deserved renewed attention. But this Planet Green television season doesn’t zero in only on pollution. Addressing issues like shark-finning, ocean acidification, and water usage, Blue August (airing this month only!) dives deep.
For the Beauty of the Earth: A Christian Voice for Creation Care (2nd edition)
By Steven Bouma-Prediger
The second edition of this pre-eminent text on what the Christian faith requires in the way of stewardship has been updated with the latest research to solidify its status as a creation care classic.
The CAFO Reader: The tragedy of industrial animal factories
Edited by Daniel Imhoff
Featuring several prominent Christian voices, this thoughtful, comprehensive collection of essays explores the environmental and ethical implications of a food system that, though its dangers are often kept secret, threatens both animals and humans: concentrated animal feeding operations.
A World of Rivers: Environmental change on ten of the world’s great rivers
By Ellen Wohl
The world’s greatest rivers—some of which are in our country’s own backyard—are constantly shaped and re-shaped by natural and synthetic forces. Wohl navigates these changes and points out how rivers shape our own civilizations and landscapes, too.
Start Becoming a Good Samaritan: Tending to God’s Creation
This pdf study guide on Biblical creation care accompanies Zondervan’s larger video-based study on becoming Good Samaritans in our communities far and wide.
China consumed 2.252 billion tons of oil equivalent last year, which catapults the country past the United States and into the role of the world’s largest energy consumer. The number says a lot about China’s staggering growth, but also portends a difficult future for creation’s health, as greater energy consumption means fewer natural resources and more pollution.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
- Flourish contributors Ragan Sutterfield and Fred Bahnson will present at “A Rooted People,” a conference on “the church, place, and agriculture in an urban world” on October 29th and 30th in Indianapolis, Indiana. Sponsored by Englewood Christian Church, the Englewood Review of Books, and Doulos Christou Books, the conference will gather Christians to discuss and own our redemptive calling in such day-to-day areas as food systems and local communities. Martin Price, former director of Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization (ECHO) and Claudio Oliver, a pastor and community developer from Brazil, will also be speaking.
- The Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization (ECHO) will hold its 17th annual Agricultural Conference at its headquarters in Ft. Myers, Florida on December 7-9. An educational and networking forum for agricultural practitioners from around the world, the conference will feature morning talks from experts in agricultural management and hunger reduction, and afternoon workshops—at ECHO’s 50-acre farm—on topics ranging from pest control to disaster response and mitigation.
- Renewal: Students Caring for Creation has the opportunity to convene its 2010-2011 Student Leadership Team together at Goshen College’s Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center to invigorate students’ creation stewardship activities at Christian college campuses around the country. To see how you can help some passion-rich but money-poor college students get to Goshen for this pivotal gathering, visit Renewal’s student leader sponsorship page.
“To destroy the environment is not only an economic problem—it is also a theological problem. More specifically, it sabotages worship, the chief end of man and of creation.”
- From the Christianity Today editorial, “Let the Sea Resound,” published in the magazine’s August 2010 issue.