Thursday, March 29, 2018

Some happy things :-)

Flowers from my friend Bridget who visited yesterday (I know her from high school) - also an Easter card and a just-because card from our neighbour Kathy.  Also, the purplish 'everlastings' to the left are from a bouquet Bridget gave me what must be at least a year ago!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Fairly traded Easter eggs

Did you know that most Easter eggs on sale in New Zealand this Easter are made with cocoa that could well have been grown by slaves?  Who would want to support that?

Below are some ways you can get your Easter treats whilst helping your neighbours to flourish, instead of supporting those who enslave them!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

What can we do about microplastic in the ocean?

You have probably heard about the problem of microplastic in the ocean: tiny pieces of plastic, too small to see, that sea creatures mistake for plankton.  They eat it, filling their stomachs with inert bulk, starve and die.  There is little evidence that this microplastic concentrates up the food chain (and the only time you're likely to personally eat it is whilst eating shellfish), but killing off a swathe of the bottom of the food chain still is surely unhealthy for the ecosystem as a whole.  It is also pretty disrespectful to the God who made the oceans.

What can we do about this?

Later I give my reasons in some detail, but, in brief, I have come to think that the most effective things we in the West can do are:
  1. Drive less and always drive with well-inflated tyres and well-balanced wheels;
  2. Avoid wearing petroleum-based synthetic textiles such as polyester and poly cotton blends (and wash those we do wear less often).
We can also work towards change in areas we don't affect directly:
  1. Support charities that improve rubbish collection in the majority world and lobby aid donors such as NZAID to do the same;
  2. Lobby councils and the Ministry of Transport to install road surfaces that are less eroding of tyres;
  3. Lobby local councils to collect storm water and remove as much of the microplastic found there as possible.
Any one of these would have far more impact than bans on plastic microbeads, which are a negligible source of microplastics.

On the other, supporting bans on plastic bags may well be useful: I suspect that such light, easily-blown-away plastic items are likely to make up a significant part of the plastic not landfilled or recycled in NZ.  Participating in beach cleanups will also help prevent some of the items that didn't make it to a bin from entering the ocean.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Lectio divina

In January, I read a blog post by Lynne Baab on Lectio divina, an ancient practise of listening to God through reading scripture.  It was part of a series on listening to God in prayer (you can see the whole series at the end of this blog post).

At the time, I was aware that life had been more complicated than usual for a wee while.  I'd realised that, in response, I'd been praying and asking God for help quite a lot, but I'd been neglecting listening to God and seeking God simply for the sake of knowing him.  So this blog post came at an opportune time for me :-)

As Lynne describes it, lectio divina is a four-step meditation that can be used on any Bible passage.  Firstly you read it through slowly, looking for a word or phrase that stands out or 'shimmers'.  Then you re-read it, thinking about what the meaning of the whole passage is in the light of that word or phrase.  Thirdly you respond to God in regards to what you have seen, and lastly you wait quietly for anything he may have to say to you.