I was busy feed-reading when I noticed a brief post from Bob Hyatt which put a very odd notion in my head, right after his post on ecards for Lent. Now I haven’t really selected anything to give up for Lent, so perhaps I should ask Google. It knows all. So I Googled “what should [insert name here] give up for lent” and clicked on the first result. Maybe I should have just clicked “I’m Feeling Lucky.” (Go on, try it — just put your own name in the obvious place.) I came up with an article titled “Global Warming Evangelism: Give Up Carbon For Lent!” which says that several bishops in Britain are suggesting parishioners give up carbon for lent. Oh yes, it’s a Carbon Fast: An act with impact. It’s good that the church is thinking about going green, I figure.
Today is Earth Day, but I hadn’t planned to say anything about it… I had something else in mind for today, figuring that I had said what I wanted already in So Long Ago the Garden for Blog Action Day, and in my post On the Loss of Wonder and its follow-up, two posts that arose out from my reading of Dale Allison Jr.’s book, The Luminous Dusk: Finding God in the Deep, Still Places. That’s not to say I was done thinking about it… I’ve had in my mind an idea which I’ll come to presently. I’ve been reading N.T. Wright’s book Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church, I decided to change the theme of my post this morning when on page 90 I read these words:
I’m not sure quite how I was struck by the thought, but something occurred to me about the way we learned to fly. Early attempts at flight were clearly based on an examination of birds. Contraptions designed to allow a human being to fly would typically employ a device whereby the aviator’s arms and legs would power a “flapping” motion of the wings on the machine. Da Vinci designed such a device, as did many others — some of whom tested them with varying degrees of success. Perhaps “varying degrees of failure” might be a better way to phrase that. It seems that the best case scenario was flight for a limited distance off the edge of a bluff or small cliff and lasting for as long as the aviator could maintain the frantic flapping that would delay or diminish the pain at the end of a potential plummet.
I’ve had an old post based on an older idea brewing for several years, and in honour of Blog Action Day, I’m pressing myself to rework and publish it. Blog Action Day is an experiment in response to the premise, “What would happen if every blog published posts discussing the same issue, on the same day? One issue. One day. Thousands of voices.” The issue? The environment. As I write, there are 11,320 blogs participating… I don’t know what that number will when it’s published.
Today is the feast day of Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, birds, and the environment. I’ve just been writing this week about nature and our connectedness with it, a theme to which I’ll be returning on Blog Action Day later this month, along with more than 6,500 bloggers registered so far.
Dale Allison Jr. speculates in The Luminous Dusk: Finding God in the Deep, Still Places on wonder, and the impact of its loss. He gets there by observing a shift over time in the way people interpret and respond to major events such as natural disasters or even human-inspired catastrophes. Where once people would assume some fault in their relationship with God or the gods, they now assume some fault in God himself, if he exists: “Before 1700, misfortune made people doubt firstly themselves, not God and the Christian faith. Obviously, much depends on our prior inclinations. My question then is, What accounts for prior inclinations? In particular, what accounts for the medieval tendency to believe, or for the modern tendency to disbelieve?” (p.6-7) Just so we don’t get sidetracked, let’s imagine he’s using “modern” in its non-technical form to mean “today” despite the apparent reference to pre-modernity or post-medieval times, and despite the later reference to “us moderns.” I don’t consider myself “a modern” but perhaps the ongoing shift is the appropriate context for these observations… but we’re not getting sidetracked. Allison notes there can be no one answer, and goes on to consider possibilities, beginning with the concept of wonder, which is what I want to major on here.