Monday, February 28, 2011

Genesis 11:1-9

Genesis 11:1-9- The Tower of Babel

This is one of those bible stories that I remember reading as a child but haven't really looked at since.  It definitely seems like one that I will have to take a closer look at and really study it but for now here are some quick thoughts from an environmental/ conservation/ urbanization view point.
In this story the people try to build a city with a tall, tall tower so they can 'make a name for themselves'.  They are not building the city or the tower for any reason other then self honor and gain.  Is this the case today when we build cities and skyscrapers.  Are we just leaving our mark on the earth so we can prove that we can.  Just at God did not view the Tower of Babel as harmless our cities and towers of today are not harmless either.  While cities and skyscrapers can and do have many practical uses and advantages they do not come without their harm to the environment, the land, plants, wildlife, native people and a way of life that is lost in urban areas.  This is something that we must remember as we continue to create.  Just as God taught the people at the Tower of Babel we must remember that it is not right for us to simply do what we want without regard for the rest of God's creation.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Genesis 6:8

Genesis 6:8
But Noah found favor with the Lord.

We have all heard the story of Noah's Ark since we were little but reading in now I see it in a different light.  We had messed up and God was so angry and frustrated with us that he was willing to wipe us off the earth.  But... Noah found favor with the Lord.  Noah was one that had something besides evil in his heart so the Lord warned him of the flood and instructed him to build the ark.  Because of Noah God was willing to give us a second chance.  

Something to think about: What would the rest of the story be like if Noah didn't find favor with the Lord?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Genesis 5

Genesis 5

This chapter maps out the family tree between Adam and Noah.  These parts of the bible both confuse and interest me.  They confuse me because I don't understand them.  I don't know about the people and I don't know the meanings behind them or why they are included.  This is something that I would like to study and learn more about.
They also interest me because I like to see how people are related and to draw out family trees.  So as of now, until I study it more, I will just enjoy drawing out the family tree. 

Dear Lord, Guide me as I study the bible so that I might grow closer to you through what I learn.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Genesis 3

Genesis 3
When reading this chapter I can't help but think how similar these events are to much of the lies and deception that we see today.  We know what is right and true just like Eve did, but then we are presented with a statement.  The serpent asked Eve "Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?"  Eve knows this isn't true so she replies by correcting the serpent but now the serpent has started her doubting what she has been told and she soon falls to temptation.  Once she tastes the fruit she offers some to Adam.  Soon the realize what they did and try to hide but are not able to hide from the Lord.  When the Lord asks why they ate the fruit Eve tries to pass the blame off to the serpent.
How familiar does this sound?  We hear lies and distortions of the truth in the media everyday.  We know they are not true and wrong but even so they tempt us.  We start to think that maybe they have some truth to them.  We try to hide our sins and our temptations and if all else fails blame someone else.  "It wasn't my fault, it was theirs.  They lied to me."

Something to think about:
How would our world  be different it Adam and Eve had not eaten the fruit? 

Dear Lord, Help us to stand strong against temptations that we come across in our lives.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Conserve, love, understand, be taught

"In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught."

This was said by Baba Dioum about environmental conservation issues. 

This is one of my favorite quotes for environmental education and conservation but I also see it as true in other parts of my life as well.  I have been reading about the American Catholic identity and the decrease in mass attendance of Catholics on Fr. John Zuhlsdorf's blog and Fr. Longenecker's blog.  There is a huge amount of Catholics who do not attend mass each Sunday.  What should be done about this?  I do my best to attend mass each Sunday and try to attend daily mass when I can but sometimes I feel like I am just sitting in the pew, following along with the actions and just waiting for mass to be over.  I am physically at mass but my mind is somewhere else.  
Why do I do this?  Because I don't understand the mass.  How can we expect people to take time out of their busy lives to go to the church and sit in the pew every Sunday morning when they don't really understand what is going on around them or why they need to be there?  In order to increase mass attendance and more importantly mass participation we need to teach people about the mass.  

"In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught."

We can not conserve and increase participation in the mass until we love the mass.  Mass should not be something that you have to do because you are Catholic but something that you love because of what it is.  In order to love the mass we need to understand what is happening at the mass, both the big event and small prayers and actions of the priest and the congregation.  But we can not understand the mass until someone teaches us about the mass.  This is where we need to start.  
Today in mass I tried to really focus on every thing that the priest said and not let my mind wonder.  I realized how much I don't know and understand about the mass.  The more I know and understand about the mass the more I can love it and be an active participant in Sunday and daily mass.  So now it is my goal over the next few weeks to take a closer look at the mass, really learn what is going on and share that information here and with others.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Psalm 1:1

Psalm 1:1
Happy those who do not follow
 the counsel of the wicked,
Nor go the way of sinners,
nor sit in company with scoffers.

How often I find myself trying to remain positive and avoid sin while I am surrounded by negative people who are not striving to follow in the path of God.  These people are not leading me to be a better person but I try to believe that they are not leading me into sin either.  While it might be true that most of the time they don’t lead me directly into sin (although I’ll admit sometimes they do) I do have to acknowledge that they are not making it easy on me and are not truly making me happy.  Being around these people is a constant struggle to avoid sin.  This psalm tells us that if we do not spend all are time with people who tease others, and follow in the path of sinners and ask the advice of the wicked then we can be happy.  We need to surround ourselves with people who help us be better people rather then those who lead us into sin.

Dear Lord, Help me to avoid people who lead me into sin in my daily life.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Genesis 1:31

Genesis 1:31
God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed- the sixth day.

God finished his wonderful creation, he stood back and looked at it and decided that it was good. This reminds me of an artist finishing a painting and finally taking it all in and realizing how pleased they are with what they created. What God created really was good. The Earth was good, the plants were good, the animals were good and we (the humans) were good. And still are good. Sometimes it is easy to look around and forget that. We can see all of the hate, destruction and suffering that surrounds us and forget how beautiful God's creation really is. Although Earth is not heaven, it is still created by God and is still filled with His beauty. If is our job to recognize this beauty and preserve it for others.

Dear Lord, help to to see the beauty in the world around me and in the people that I meet and help me to create beauty for others to see.