Friday, 28 March 2008

Books, BigDogs and Wetlands

This has been a particularly cold Easter in the UK and even down here in Swansea we have had flurries of hail and chill winds. I’ve been busy despite being on holiday, but some sun would have been nice.

Two items of news first. First, Tyndale have kindly let me post the typeset first chapter of the Infinite Day so if you want to read it try this link. Whether it is related or not but the pre-orders for the book are looking quite nice on Amazon. Secondly, I came across some fascinating video of a large mechanical/robotic dog (the BigDog project) on the web this week, an impressive feat of engineering and electronics. It’s some way away from my Krallen but not that far. I note that they are talking about these things carrying ammunition on their backs to the battlefield. That’ll be the first generation; the second generation will use the ammunition; the third won’t need it.

What else is news? Well, we have an joint churches initiative in the UK this year called Hope 08 and I have been getting involved with the environmental project side of this in Swansea. The planning is that on the May Bank holiday we will gather as many volunteers as we can from our churches and go down and try and tidy up a very unloved cycle path and sports ground next to a rather fine wetland. It’s in an area of Swansea that is distinctly post industrial and some of the rubbish/trash is dreadful. I thought this would be cue to put in a couple of photographs; so let’s see whether this works.

I don’t talk as much about the environment on this blog as I ought to as it is something that I am very interested in. There is a new book by the head of A Rocha, Peter Harris, called Kingfisher’s Fire: A Story of Hope for God’s Earth which I intend reading when I get the time. It updates the history of A Rocha and gives a lot of thought to the basic of Christian environmental involvement. It includes a chapter on the Lebanon project that I was involved in starting up. Peter gives a not entirely flattering picture of me but, hey, I guess he has to be honest.

Anyway there is a major role to be had by Evangelicals in environment for all sorts of reasons, some of which I may develop in other blogs. It is often assumed that it's New Agers who dominate the environmental world. Actually, I think that is an utter misrepresentation. In my experience, New Agers love the countryside and nature and have a deep sense of its mystery and beauty but they do not have the doctrine of incarnation or a model of servanthood that Christians have. The problem is that an awful lot of environmental work is actually not very mystical or spiritually uplifting; for example, we are going to be doing a lot of picking up of plastic, scrap metal and worse. Anyway it needs doing and it will be a great witness for the evangelical churches in this town if we can get a couple of hundred people out to help tidy things up. Mind you, a pack of those BigDogs with panniers wouldn’t go amiss.

Every blessing.