Inside Flourish

November 1, 2010


From Kendra Langdon Juskus, Managing Editor

Flourish magazine, Fall 2010

We chose Flourish as the name for this organization and this publication because the word implies a full-orbed thriving of things in every direction; all things glorying and growing to their full, life-glutted potential within the boundary lines God has marked out for them. (Proverbs 8:27-29 is just one biblical example of this idea.)

That’s why every issue of Flourish magazine, which is now starting its second year of publication, addresses the topic of creation care (which often gets whittled down to all things “green” and a few simple lifestyle guidelines) from so many different angles.

For instance, in this issue noted Christian ethicist David Gushee argues that tending and keeping creation is fundamental to the sanctity-of-human-life ethic that shapes much of our thinking about life and death. Meanwhile, Matthew Dickerson brings a literary perspective to bear on the increasingly fraught subject of how Christians should engage technology—that ubiquitous behemoth that creates incredible opportunities but also threatens the very humanness that Christ dignified in the incarnation. You might be surprised by what Dickerson finds in the works of well-loved authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.

Unfortunately, in this fallen world we must also point out where flourishing fails to happen. The oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and the continuing crumbling of Haiti’s ecological and societal health provide examples of abundance cut short. Both issues are treated here, but not without an eye toward hope.

And where does that hope come from? Steven Bouma-Prediger, in a selection from the second edition of his book, For the Beauty of the Earth, which bolstered the creation care movement at its original publication in 2001, reminds us that “our Redeemer is our Creator,” whose love causes creation to thrive. As Bouma-Prediger writes earlier in his book, “The health of all earth-dwellers is at stake if we humans don’t properly understand our place and calling in God’s scheme of things. This leads to one more thing that is at stake: how we comprehend who we are and what we are supposed to do. Our own individual and collective self-understanding is at stake—in summary, how we understand God, the world, ourselves.” That understanding leads to flourishing.

So earth-care is approached in this—and every—issue of Flourish from the myriad angles of existence that it is inextricably connected to: the health of bodies, spirits, and economies around the world; Scripture; neighborhoods, families, and churches; ecology and biology, but also philosophy and theology; laptops and smart phones; dinner tables and light bulbs; novels and poetry.

In fact, it is acclaimed poet Robert Siegel’s poem here, “Rinsed with Gold, Endless, Walking the Fields,” that perhaps provides the best image of this full-throated flourishing and our most appropriate response: “Let your lungs unfold like a field of roses / …And each breath rise sinuous with praise.”

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