While Peggy Deames was preaching, "God knows us," Nina Lanctot and Willard Fenton-Miller were celebrating the unique lives of the children. We each created an original face on our plates made of snack foods. Enjoy!
I am a
gardener. This is a simple statement of fact; not a declaration of a
consciously chosen identity. If you asked me who I am or what I do, I would
probably neglect tomention it. When I
fill out a warranty registration card, under the category of hobbies, I don't
check that box. But for every one of the past 31 years, I have dug up the soil,
planted seeds or seedlings, weeded, watered, harvested, preserved food, and
prepared and eaten meals from the food I have grown. Simply put, gardening has
become an integral part of how I live life; an embedded, active practice; a
discipline and a ritual.
photo by Kathy Fenton-Miller
There is so
much I could say. . .I think I need to begin with some “nots”.Gardening is not efficient, for me anyway,
or profitable. Most everything I grow is available 12 months a year at Meijer
or Walmart, and what I save by growing food myself would barely pay for the
Ibuprophen I take for the headaches I get from working in the hot sun—let alone
amount to a decent hourly wage. I don't do it to save money, and I wouldn't
have to, to survive. Times may change; my commitments could change, but for
now, that's how it is.
do not garden because it's a “natural” activity. Nothing about it is
natural. In fact, everything about it involves pushing back nature, intervening
in the natural processes to favor and protect one plant over another, to shield
a plant from insects or disease, to thwart birds and mammals intent on eating
the food before I do. The plants themselves are not taken from nature and would
never survive without human care—some are, in fact, hybrids which cannot even
reproduce on their own. The very space I garden in, a 35 X 100 ft plot of bare
earth within a two acre clearing, must be constantly reclaimed from nature.
Neglected, it would revert to forest with frightening speed.
At least on
the surface, everything about gardening is artificial. Gardens don't just
happen; they are made—by humans. Gardens are an artifice, that is, a
construction—a created reality. I hope you can hear where the language is going
here: artificial, artifice, art. . .created, creation, creativity. The artifice
and art of my gardening is a creative activity. I think what I most love about
it is the sheer joy of molding and shaping something different. If we take
seriously the idea of humanity bearing the image of God, it makes perfect sense
that we humans share with God the impulse to create—to mold and shape, to craft
and build. We want to echo and participate in the Divine creativity and we are
like that by nature—in our essence. So if you want to know what really makes me
tick as a gardener—at a deep level, I garden because that is one way I have to
become fully human.
Three points added
First, I want
to point out that a major part of the enjoyment of gardening is simply
contemplation. I didn't choose this; it just happened. I find myself going out
almost daily just to look at my garden. I observe and take pleasure in its
appearance, its development and vitality. Its a little like the image of God,
in Genesis, looking at creation and taking pleasure, finding it “very good”; or
setting aside time, Sabbath, to stop labor and enjoy the earth.In Gen. 3 there is the brief image of God,
“walking in the garden, in the cool of the evening” which suggests to me the
same sort of taking pleasure, for its own sake.
me gardening exists within limitations or boundaries. Gardening may be
“tinkering” with and pushing back nature, but I don't see it as my place to
extend my reach as far as I can. I choose not to use anything more toxic or
“industrial” to defeat bugs than rotenone; or to amend the soil,than compost and wood ashes. My interventions
on my two acre lot are balanced by thirty plus acres of wetland and woods that
I leave alone for the most part, unlike previous inhabitants, who drained and
though gardening may be seen as an artificial activity, we who do it operate
within the larger natural world. I find that I value the way it binds me to and
teaches me to heed the cycles and seasons of the natural world, in a way I
would not be if I only went to the supermarket or even a farmers market. In the
spring I must make time to till and plant, or I may have no crop. In the lush
spring growth of May and June, I must weed and mulch, or again, I may have no
crop (or I may have a lot of hard, backbreaking work in the hot July sun). When
there is no rain, I must water. When the strawberries or the sweet corn are ripe,
they must be harvested. If I choose to garden, my life begins to revolve around
these realities and I began to be formed and shaped by that response. I am a
better gardener than I was ten years ago because I am more willing to make the
effort to act when the season is right.
TEN “RE” ACTIONS re RESPONSIBLE USE OF ELECTRONICS by Suzanne Lind
(Suzanne is on the left in this photo with the director of the ECC Sewing Project in Kinshasa, DR Congo.)
You have all heard me talk about my concern for the
suffering caused by “blood minerals” in eastern Congo--particularly those needed for the production of electronic equipment
likecellphones, computers, games.The fact that the supply of those minerals
is limited has become general knowledge much more quickly than our realization
that fossil fuels and water are also in increasingly short supply.
The current series we are delving into in church is
helping all of us to see the broader and deeper picture that all our
environmental, political and social campaigns are part of--and
to be more and more aware of the complexity of these developments/crises, and
of the seeming impossibility of doing anything about it.We’re learning to put some theological
muscle into our search for why and how to respond.We’ve known for many years that we have to
choose our issues carefully in order to stay sane and live as responsible
people in the lives we’re part of.Most
of us try to respond to opportunities to care for creation and participate
actively in the return-reuse-recycle systems and habits that have developed in
the past couple decades.
What we are hearing in the past few weeks here in church
is that we may need to dig a bit deeper into our attitudes and behaviors.The Transition movement is challenging us,
perhaps, to make bigger changes in our lifestyles than we really want to, for
the broader good of humanity.We are recognizing
that ”the development of human greed [is] based on an increasingly entrenched
idea that consumption is the only way to happiness and success, and should not
berestricted in any way--if
one can afford it--“Capitalism has run rampant and it is causing
too much damage.How can we curb this
I am thinking now about the used or outdated equipment in
our house which we or our children have stacked on shelves.We got it, I guess, because something better
came along, or else it wasn’t designed to last a long time.But it is not biodegradable and it is full of
those precious minerals which greedy people buy without concern for how it was
mined and for the poor people who suffer in the process; minerals which will
eventually run out, creating more conflict and violent greediness in a world in
which almost everyone in the “developed world” is addicted to more and better
In order not to go mad, I list for myself the “what can I
·REDUCE -- use
·REUSE -- use
·RECYCLE --lots of opportunities in our communities (more notes below)
one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 US homes in a year.
every million cell phones we recycle, 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33
pounds of palladium can be recovered.
·REFUSE--just say no.Decide deliberately
that neither you nor your children really “need” the next version of every
device you own.
what kind of a life do I really want?How can I, in some small, consistent way, protect our world from death
and myself from being a greedy, self-centered consumer?How can I model this for my children and
grandchildren, friends and neighbors, without alienating everyone so much that
they can’t learn from the example?
·REFLECT AND RECOGNIZE--We have inherited tendencies from a long line
of inquisitive, invasive, ingenious, insensitive people.We are part of a self-centered culture, even
though we are very nice people.We do
not deserve any more of the earth’s blessings than anyone else, no matter how
hard we have worked, and we are using more than our share.
·REPENT -- AND REJOICE in supportive friendships, let the Spirit RE-IGNITE your enthusiasm and determination!
MORE RESOURCES RE ELECTRONICS AND RECYCLING
Online Cellphone Recycling
Phones 4 Freedom - Donate your cellphone to help fight
against human trafficking. Phones 4 Freedom refurbishes and recycles
phones to help anti-trafficking organizations around the world. Free
developing world, a lack of regular channels to information and resources
prevents city-based anti-trafficking advocates from providing adequate
resources to rural and at-risk communities. As advocates travel from cities to
do outreach education to isolated/vulnerable regions, they are often remain
disconnected from those who are in critical need of regular communication. The
mission of Freedom Connect’s Freedom SMS Project is to advance anti-trafficking networks in
underserved communities using innovative mobile technology. Helpline SMS
Networks consist of: NGOs, legal advocates, social service providers, law
enforcement, and other key stake holders who act as first responders in a
trafficking case. The Helpline SMS Network is able to use this mobile network
to regularly stay in touch with rural communities vulnerable to human
trafficking, provide regular updates and information at a low cost, and respond
to emergencies and prevent trafficking. We’re using Frontline SMS, a free
open-source platform that enables large-scale, two-way text messaging using
only a laptop, GSM modem and inexpensive cell phones. By using this technique,
we are preventing slavery and human trafficking one text at a time!
·By Donating to
Phones4Freedom, Freedom Connect will earn “points” or “credits” to purchase the
appropriate mobile equipment for Freedom SMS anti-trafficking networks. The
average donated phone in the US will allow us to purchase 2-3 phones. You can
also donate old digital cameras and mp3 players. No chargers or plugs required.
Send in your phone today!
Here’s how you can donate:
Print out a Shipping Label (btw postage is on us!) Print out
labels for multiple packages. If you’re donating from Canada,
please send your donation with Fedex (Account #183021400 to:
CloverWireless, 794 Industrial Court, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302, Attn:
Phones4Freedom Enterprise Program code: SCONNECT
Deactivate your phone and leave the
batteries in. Also, clear your personal data. To learn more visit this
site. Include the charger if you have it, but it’s not necessary!
Put the phones in a padded envelope or
box (and wrap securely), paste the prepaid shipping label and drop it off
at any US Post Office Box.
And there you have it! You can get
further involved with Phones4Freedom by telling your friends, family,
colleagues and classmates. Print out Flyer and shipping labels for them, and pass
on our information.
Are you a Group/Business/School/Place
of Worship interested in starting a Phones4Freedom Drive? Read our SMS Freedom Fundraising Kit, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact
us here for more information.
RBRC "Call2Recycle" - Free rechargeable battery and cell
phone collection program in North America.
Depot, Three Rivers.--Nottawa Lumber Do it Best, Sturgis--Best Buy, Westnedge, Portage
View a list of AT&T Store
locations to find
your nearest cell phone donation drop-off spot. Or mail in your used phone
with free shipping from anywhere in the U.S. To download a postage-paid
shipping label, click here.
Cellphones for Soldiers uses funds from recycled cell phones to
buy prepaid phone cards for active duty military members – to help connect
them with their families.
Sprint provides two
cell phone recycling programs for consumers:
The Sprint Buyback program offers Sprint customers an account
credit for returning eligible Sprint and Nextel models.
If it is not eligible for credit, you
may recycle your phone, batteries, accessories and data card through the Sprint Project
Connect program. All
makes and models are accepted, regardless of carrier or condition.
Use the store locator to find a participating store near you.
It accepts wireless phones, batteries, accessories and connection cards
for recycling — regardless of make, model, condition, or service provider
free of charge.
T-Mobile: Consumers can drop off
cellphones at any T-Mobile retail store or mail in any mobile devise
and accessories by boxing them up and printing off the pre-paid mailing label. Postage paid recycling bags
are included with all purchases. Customers can also pick up a recycling envelope
at any T-Mobile store.
collects no-longer used wireless phones, batteries and accessories from any
wireless service provider at Verizon Wireless Retail Stores nationwide. The phones get
reburbished or recycled. With the funds raised from the sale of the refurbished
phones, Verizon Wireless donates wireless phones and airtime to victims, and
provides funding and other contributions to non-profit domestic violence
shelters and prevention programs across the country. You can also donate
wireless phones and equipment by mail using the pre-paid mailing label.
For more than a century, the Democratic Republic of the Congo
has been plagued by regional conflict and a deadly scramble for its vast
natural resources. In fact, greed for Congo’s natural resources has been a
principal driver of atrocities and conflict throughout Congo’s tortured
history. In eastern Congo today, these mineral resources are financing multiple
armed groups, many of whom use mass rape as a deliberate strategy to intimidate
and control local populations, thereby securing control of mines, trading
routes, and other strategic areas.
Conflict Minerals in Your Electronics
Profit from the mineral trade is one of the main motives
for armed groups on all sides of the conflict in eastern Congo - the deadliest
since World War II. Armed groups earn hundreds of millions of dollars per year
by trading four main minerals: the ores that produce tin, tantalum, tungsten,
and gold. This money enables the militias to purchase large numbers of weapons
and continue their campaign of brutal violence against civilians, with some of
the worst abuses occurring in mining areas. The majority of these minerals
eventually wind up in electronic devices such as cell phones, portable music
players, and computers. Given the lack of a transparent minerals supply chain,
American consumers have no way to ensure that their purchases are not financing
armed groups that regularly commit atrocities, including mass rape.
You Can Help End the War
The conflict minerals problem is complicated, and the
suffering in Congo is immense. But there is good news: because we as
electronics consumers are tied so directly to the problem, we can actually play
a role in ending the violence.
We must raise our collective voice as consumers and
demand conflict-free electronics. By pressuring electronics companies to remove
conflict minerals from their supply chains, we can help remove fuel from the
fire in Congo.
Help end war in Congo. Visit the TAKE ACTION CONGO
website to add your voice to the