Finis

OK y’all, that’s enough.  341 posts. 

It’s been fun, most of the time.  But I’m shutting it down.

peace. 

Believe in the end,

Love Wins

Jeanne

In one of my lives, I am a lawyer.  In mid-August, not long after we returned from Haiti, I got involved in a new case.  It concerns disputes over insurance coverage from property damage to a bunch of hotels in Daytona Beach, caused by Hurricane Jeanne.

I was sitting in a meeting learning about the case, and it occured to me that I didn’t know much about that storm.  So with my PDA I went to Wikipedia and looked up Hurricane Jeanne.

And I learned that Jeanne was the storm that devastated Gonaives, Haiti, killing thousands of people there.  A full third of the orphans at Danita’s Children were rescued from Gonaives, and lost their families in those floods.

I found it amazing that back in the states, safe and removed from the misery of Haiti, my professional life would be dominated by Hurricane Jeanne.  And as we battle over money that will change hands as a result of that storm, I try to remind myself of those wonderful kids, and the horrible memories and grief that storm must have left them with.

Love Wins

Why Does This Man Hate Commercial Agriculture?

That is the title to a piece in this month’s Progressive Farmer.  The piece is about Michael Pollan.  I’m not kidding.  The headline makes me wonder what they mean by “commercial.”  Evidently, to the Progessive Farmer  folks, “commercial” is a synonym for “industrial.”

PF magazine has been around a long time.  I remember that my Grandpa got it when I was a little boy.  Maybe it once really was “progressive.”  Today it’s filled with ads from chemical companies, and, judging from this article, they must “hate” small farms and farmer’s markets.

Here is a really remarkable sentence from the piece: “Agriculturalists see the growing popularity of Pollan’s views as a manifestation of people moving even farther away from the farm.”

Who are these “agriculturalists”?  Indeed, what the heck is an “agriculturalist” anyway?  I believe farmers endore “Pollan’s views.”  What we need are more farmers and fewer “agriculturalists.”

And the notion that the popularity of “Pollan’s views” manifest “people moving even farther away from the farm” is just weird.  The reality is that thanks in part to Omnivore’s Dilemma, farmer’s markets, and the market for locally produced organic food, is booming, no doubt to the chagrin of “agriculturalists.”  Small farms, which can be as small as a backyard garden, are popping up everywhere.  To anyone paying attention, it is clear that “Pollan’s views” are moving folks closer to farms, even as it drives them farther from the industrial abominations run by “agriculturalists.”

Here is another amazing bit from the article: “(Rick) Tolman (CEO of the National Corn Growers Association) takes umbrage with Pollan’s view that farmers are industrialized.  He explains ‘industrialized agriculture’ translates into companies supplying inputs to farmers and those companies processing food.”

Honestly that’s what it says.  I didn’t make that up.  Mr. Tolman, expressing his “umbrage” at the accusation that industrial farms exist, purports to refute the claim by saying that “companies supplying inputs to farmers and those companies processing food,” is somehow not “industialized” farming. 

Let’s break it down.  “Companies supplying inputs to farmers” means chemical companies selling nitrates and poisons to corporations that own industrial food production facilities (sometimes euphemistically called “farms”).  “Those companies processing food” translates to factories extracting and reconstituting any marketable and marginally digestable byproduct of real food into something they can coat in preservatives, wrap in plastic, put inside colorful boxes, and pass off as “food.”  But that, according to the umbrage-taking Mr. Tolman, is not “industrialized” food. 

I could go on, but y’all got my drift by now.

We at Billsblog give a great big tip ‘o the cap to Michael Pollan and all those who have come to appreciate real food.  May their tribe increase.

Love Wins.

 

Singularity

I read this in my theology class this summer.  My professor Larry Wood wrote it.  It blew my mind.

The belief that time had a beginning was confirmed by two Oxford University mathematicians/physicists, Stephen W. Hawking and Roger Penrose, who demonstrated in 1970 space-time had a beginning with a big bang singularity.  That is, the universe began from a single point (a singularity).  This means our universe had a finite beginning approximately 15 billion years ago when an infinitesimally small, dense soup of energy (a trillionth the size of a proton in the nucleus of an atom) began to expand.  Though this “big bang singularity” was virtually nothing in size, it contained all the matter/energy in the universe as we know it today, including all the plantets, stars, and galaxies.

It should be carefully noted that the universe did not begin to expand into an already existing space.  Rather, the expanding universe was the expansion of space itself.   Into what is space expanding, if not it is not more space?  The answer is–nothingness.  There is nothing “out there” into which space-time is expanding.  This contradicts common sense, but contemporary science tells us this is the way the world really is.

George Smoot (an astrophysicist and researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and member of the Center for Particle Astrophysics and Space Sciences Laboratory) raises this question:  “What was there before time began?”  He replies:  “Facing this, the ultimate question, challenges our faith in the power of science to find explanations of nature. The existence of a singularity–in this case the given, unique state from which the universe emerged–is anathema to science, because it is beyond explanation.”  Richard Gott, a Princeton physicist, put it this way:  “What caused the singularity and what happened before it?  The standard answer for what happened before the big bang singularity is this:  time was created at the singularity…along with space.  Thus, time did not exist before the big bang, and thus nothing happened before it.”

If there was once a big bang singularity, this would need to be explained, but science recognizes that it does not have an explanation to account for “the shock of that instant” of creation of space-time. Christian theology has always maintained the mystery that God created the world out of nothing.  Does this mean that science now recognizes God to be the necessary presupposition for creation?  In his book, God and the Astonomers, Robert Jastrow saw this implication in the big bang singularity as the scientist’s nightmare:  “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream.  He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

Love Wins

Theology of Ecology

I really urge y’all to read this piece by Matt Krick:  http://www.marshill.org/pdf/theologyOfEcology.pdf

Personally I don’t like travelling from one site to another to read something, but I’m too tired and lazy tonight to reformat the piece to make it look right on here.

But this is a really fine summary of the importance of Creation Care.  If you read it, let me know what you think of it.

Love Wins