Tag Archives: Environmental Stewardship

Trash, Trash, Load of Trash Floating Away…

I was reading my local newspaper today when I ran across an article about the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a patch of ocean approximately twice the size of Texas filled with trash. Granted most of the trash is little bitty pieces of plastic – so small that it is hard to locate the “Garbage Patch” from the air or to determine its boundaries.

The article I read today was all about these little pieces of plastic. Apparently, some scientists “took hundreds of water samples between the Farallon Islands near San Francisco and the notorious garbage patch 1,000 miles west of California, and every one had tiny bits of plastic floating in it.”[@more@]

This is a problem because tiny jellyfish are eating the “tiny, confettilike pieces of broken plastic.” While this doesn’t sound like a problem, it becomes one when you realize that the jellyfish are eaten by salmon or tune, which in turn are eaten by humans.

Sigh Undecided

It is crazy how much plastic is produced globally…granted, some plastic products have a long life cycle (like picnic tables or computer monitors).

Unfortunately, most of the plastic products we use are designed for one-time use (water bottles, food packaging, etc), and whilst they can be disposed of properly thanks to roll-off dumpster Software and other waste management systems, sometimes this just doesn’t happen.

I don’t know….I don’t have any answers…. I just knows that it is hurts to see our oceans covered in tiny pieces of plastic just because of convenience. Frown

Green Revolution by Ben Lowe

Airports are not fun places to wait. They have hard seats and, depending on the location, very few stores to browse.

Yet, a few years ago a young man named Ben Lowe volunteered to wait in the Boise airport for an additional hour so that he could car pool with another conference attendee. As the “designated taxi service”, this was a HUGE blessing to me as it meant one less trip to and from the airport.

It also meant less fuel used and less carbon exhaust – a big thing concerning Ben was in Boise to attend the 2007 Let’s Tend The Garden environmental stewardship conference.

Such was my introduction to Ben Lowe.

Side note: Writing this introduction makes me think of the last evening of the conference. That night after the conference had ended, Ben, Lyndsay Moseley (Sierra Club), Richard Cizik (VP for Governmental Affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals) and myself went downtown and stayed up late talking about everthing under the sun. Ah – good memorizes. Laughing

Two years later it is my pleasure to review Ben’s first book, Green Revolution: Coming Together to Care for Creation.[@more@]

As you all know, I read a LOT of books: theology books, history books, environment books, and some fiction books. Most of the books I read aren’t very…let’s say…captivating. They are powerful, but not in a senses that they drawn you into the pages and focus your attention.

Green Revolution was different.

It drew you in – not just into the pages, but into a movement that is sweeping the country. No longer was I an individual trying to be a good steward of the God’s wonderful earth. I was a part of something greater then myself.

Unlike some environmental books – Christian or not – Ben does not “preach” at you through the pages. There no lists of shoulds or should nots – nor were there any chapters condemning one group or another. Instead, Ben told the stories of regular people serving God through their personal lives, church, university and/or non-profit organization. These stories were held together by the greater theme of God’s work in the land.

I can’t help but smile as I think about my feelings as I read Green Revolution. Feelings of joy, excitement and happiness at hearing about the hand of God across this nation and world.

Green Revolution isn’t about global warming or any kind of political addenda – it is simply God at work.  

Out of all the Christian environmental stewardship books I have read, this one is at the top of my list. It is well worth the investment.

Good reading.

Ben is currently working as the Co-Coordinator for Renewal, a Christ-centered creation care network that focuses on living in right relationship with God. Check out their webpage here.


Sojourners: The Printed Article

A while back I mentioned that I was interviewed by Sojourners Magazine for an article about young evangelicals and politics. Today I’m proud to bring you the completed article as reported online (the printed magazine won’t be out for another few weeks).

Warning: the article is quite long as it was written for a magazine not a blog… But I’m sure you all will enjoy it. Cool

FYI – you can listen to my interview with Sojourners online here. Note that you have give them your name and email before you can listen to the interview…but it’s there. Undecided

The Meaning of 'Life'

Once thought to be in the pocket of the Religious Right, many American evangelicals today are discovering a deeper understanding of what it means to be pro-life.

by Jim Rice and Jeannie Choi

Joshua Hopping of Sweet, Idaho, helped put George W. Bush in the White House, and four years later helped keep him there. As an evangelical Christian, Hopping was part of the so-called “values voters” bloc that some pundits credit with Bush’s electoral success.[@more@]

But this year, Hopping isn’t a lock to support the Republican ticket. He says he’s open to consider which candidate best embodies his Christian values—and that very openness represents what could be one of the most significant shifts in this election season, because evangelicals, especially those under 30, are no longer a safe bet to vote for the furthest-right option on the ballot.

Why the loosening of party attachment? The questions that matter most to Hopping, 28, aren’t as narrowly defined as they used to be. He says he’ll be paying close attention to what the candidates are saying about the issues most important to him, which now include not only abortion and same-sex marriage but also the environment, poverty, and immigration—“and that’s not even counting the war in Iraq, health care, social security, and all those other things that are important,” Hopping told Sojourners. Looking at the records of the two parties on those issues, Hopping says, gave him pause about the unquestioned convictions he held in the past. “I said, ‘wait a minute,’ I want to take another look and see who’s out there, who actually cares about life beyond the womb.” Hopping says this line of thinking feels outside of his conservative comfort zone, but he cannot ignore his new convictions, particularly about the environment.

“Eight years ago, I began working in the environmental field, and it really hit me that God tells us to take care of the environment. The more I read the Bible, I see that the environment affects the poor, the young, and the old—the same people God said to go reach,” he says.

While Hopping may seem like an anomaly, recent reports show that he is not alone. “Since about 2005 we have seen a sharp decline in the number of people calling themselves Republicans,” reported Scott Keeter, director of survey research at the Pew Research Center, based on surveys released in early September. “Evangelical voters have displayed a great deal of dissatisfaction with the current state of things, including the Republican Party,” said John C. Green, senior fellow in religion and American politics at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

And while polls showed a surge of evangelical support for the Republican ticket after the nomination of Sarah Palin, Keeter said that it was unlikely to last: “Some of what we are seeing now may be, if not ephemeral, subject to change with further events in the campaign.”

Since there has not been a correlating increase in young evangelical affiliation with the Democratic Party, some observers feel that the evangelical vote is much less predictable than in years past—and may hinge on the question of whether a narrow concept of what it means to affirm life is enough.

To get a better picture of how evangelical views are changing, Sojourners interviewed 21 people from nine cities—including Seattle; Columbus, Ohio; Boston; Leawood, Kansas; Atlanta; Houston; Pittsburgh, and Boise, Idaho—representing six different ethnicities and ranging from ages 26 to 66. The conversations suggested a significant shift in evangelical viewpoint—a transformation with the potential to shake up not only political assumptions but the very face of evangelicalism in the years to come.

Upholding All Life

For most evangelicals, being “pro-life” continues to be the central factor in their political discernment. That fact has led some political observers to declare that evangelicals will once again support the Republican ticket this fall in overwhelming numbers (in 2004, George Bush won 79 percent of the 26.5 million evangelical votes, according to exit polling).

But this year, many evangelicals, especially among those born since the 1970s, are coming to understand “pro-life” in broader ways, and the impact of that new perspective remains to be seen. As Time Magazine’s Amy Sullivan put it in early September, “While Palin is inspiring rhapsodies from the lions of the Christian right, her appeal to more moderate and younger evangelicals—as well as independent swing voters—may be limited.”

For instance, a self-described anti-abortion evangelical commenting on “Jesus Creed,” a leading blog of the emergent church, wrote that policies that fight poverty, work for health-care justice, and generally improve economic conditions for poor and working-class people will likely result in the number of abortions decreasing much more than under an administration that simply declares itself opposed to Roe vs. Wade—and thus supporting the former initiatives should arguably be considered more “pro-life” than the latter.

Those efforts to address the root factors that have been shown to contribute to increased numbers of abortions—“abortion-reduction” measures—speak to the desire of many evangelicals to move from divisive rhetoric about abortion to actual results. Adam Hamilton, founding pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resur rection outside of Kansas City, Kansas, says a key question is, “‘Are you interested in actually reducing the number of abortions even if you can’t completely sway people to your opinion?’ I think that’s where the abortion debate needs to move.”

The abortion-reduction issue became a focal point at both of the national conventions this summer, with the parties moving in opposite directions. The Democrats, pushed by evangelicals, Catholics, and others, added abortion-reduction language to their platform: “We also recognize that … health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions. The Demo cratic Party also strongly supports a woman’s decision to have a child by ensuring access to and availability of programs for pre- and post-n
atal health care, parenting skills, income support, and caring adoption programs.”

The Republican Party, on the other hand, took a step back from abortion-reduction language. As The Wall Street Journal put it, “For all their pro-life pieties, the Republicans at this year’s convention, while asserting their opposition to Roe, dropped platform language that invited ‘all persons of good will, whether across the political aisle or within our party, to work together to reduce the incidence of abortion.’”

Commenting on the party platforms, Cameron Strang, editor of Relevant Magazine, said that commitments to reduce the number of abortions could appeal to young evangelicals who have a more “holistic” view of the meaning of “pro-life.”

For some evangelicals, even those who consider themselves strongly pro-life, the issue of abortion doesn’t have a lot of influence on how they vote in presidential elections. For example, Bo Lim, a member of Quest Church in Seattle, said that abortion, along with several other moral concerns, “don’t rise to the top of my list of issues in regard to the election because of the limited role the president or our government can do in regard to these issues.”

Evangelicals across the country tell stories of their own transformation from a narrow concern for one or two issues to a broader understanding of the Christian call. Eugene Cho in many ways exemplifies these “new evangelicals.”

When Cho started Seattle’s Quest Church in 2001, he began with a handful of people meeting in his living room. Quest Church has grown to a congregation of more than 500 members, many of them young evangelical Christ ians.

“Personally, I don’t want to be defined by one or two issues,” Cho says. “Obviously two of the bigger issues that are highlighted by certain groups of the Christian segment are gay marriage and abortion. And while I acknowledge that they are important to me, I simply don’t elevate them over other issues. I must juxtapose them with the war in Iraq, local and global poverty, and human rights.”

That opinion is shared by Rich Nathan, pastor of Vineyard Church of Columbus in Columbus, Ohio, and host of last spring’s Justice Revival, co-sponsored by Sojourners. As the pastor of one of the largest churches in the Vineyard movement, with more than 6,500 members, Nathan considers the importance of the sanctity of life and the “least of these” when thinking about the upcoming elections.

“I believe that the measure of a culture is how we treat the weakest person in the culture, the most defenseless,” Nathan says. As a result, a serious abortion-reduction plan remains one of the most important issues for Nathan as he decides whom to vote for in November. But the weakest and most defenseless people in a culture do not only include unborn children, Nathan says.

“God is always on the side of the marginalized, the people who are the weakest and poorest. That includes the unborn and their mothers, but it also includes people who lack health insurance and folks who can’t find jobs in a global economy. It includes children and women who are being trafficked into sex slavery, and it includes the people of Darfur,” Nathan told Sojourners.

This broader perspective has loosened party attachment for many evangelicals. As Marlon Hall, pastor of The Awakenings Movement, a Houston church, put it, “I’m not voting for a candidate or a party; I’m voting for principles.”

Similarly, for Teresa Norman, a member of Cho’s Seattle congregation, being pro-life is more than just a side to take in the abortion debate; rather, it is a consistent ethic with which to consider other issues.

“To be consistently pro-life would mean being pro-everyone’s-life, not just the lives of the unborn and not just those who are demographically, economically, racially, culturally, or religiously similar to us,” she says.

The Impact of the War

Support for the sanctity of life affects the views of many evangelicals on the Iraq war. That’s the case for Sokol Haxhi nasto, a member of Park Street Church, a historic evangelical church in Boston, founded in 1809, where William Lloyd Gar rison delivered his first major public address against slavery. Since 2003, Haxhinasto has been dismayed by America’s presence in Iraq.

“From the Christian point of view, the war does not send a message of loving your enemies,” Haxhinasto, a doctoral student at Harvard Medical School, told Sojourners. “The war is certainly not pro-life, and so I wonder, how can you be pro-life on abortion and then go into a war that isn’t pro-life?”

Pat McWherter, a member of Vineyard Church of Columbus and a retired Vietnam War veteran, agrees. For McWherter, his Christian convictions and his firsthand experience with war are enough for him to believe that the war in Iraq must end.

“We got into the Iraq war, right or wrong, and now we have an obligation to develop and execute a political and military endgame that will ensure that the Iraqi people have a stable and viable government to conduct their country’s affairs and provide for their sovereignty,” McWherter asserts. “Once accomplished, U.S. troops should be compelled to come home.”

Haxhinasto and McWherter are not lone voices for peace in the evangelical community. For Cho, dissatisfaction with the Iraq war grew over time. “This issue has become increasingly important over the last four years,” Cho says. “I am eager to carefully scrutinize not only the respective candidates’ views on the war, but their overall vision in engaging the larger world—both friend and foe.”

That raises an issue that many evangelicals consider equally important to a timely exit from Iraq: fostering improved relations around the world. For Dan Ra, 26, a member of The Living Room, an emergent community in Atlanta, U.S. foreign policy in recent years has altered his political perspective. “Eight years ago I was a freshman in college, and I didn’t know who to vote for,” Ra says. “Most of my Christian friends were voting for Bush and my non-Christian friends were voting for Gore, and I guessed it would have been appropriate to vote for Bush, since I had aligned with what my Christian friends believed. Since then, though, the more aware I became, the more upset I became.”

Ra says that he’s “tired” of U.S. militarism. “I am tired of an America that plays the bully,” he says. “America needs to re-establish itself as a fair country, and what we’re doing in Iraq and what we’re not doing in Sudan, and what we’re not doing even in our own country by not closing down Guantanamo Bay, is sending a message to the rest of the world that we are a bunch of militaristic cowboys.”

For Nathan, pastor of the Columbus Vineyard church, improved foreign relations is as much a concern for the church as it is a concern for the government, and he says he’s troubled by “surveys that the rest of the world hold America in almost complete disdain. We rank lower than China and Russia across the globe as threats to global peace. As a result, it’s increasingly difficult for American missionaries to gain a hearing in and around the world, particularly in Muslim countries.” Missionaries recently came to Nathan to plead with him to tell American Christians to have a more balanced perspective regarding Middle Eastern policy, and particularly to urge Americans to care about the rights of Palestinians. For too long, Nathan says, U.S. Christians have maintained a narrow view of the world. Today, their ideas of justice and mercy must expan
d beyond this continent, into the furthest reaches of the world.

“I am a citizen of the kingdom and a citizen of the world before I am a citizen of America,” he says. “As a Christian, I can’t think only in terms of narrow American self-interest. I really do need to think about what will promote the kingdom of God and God’s agenda.”

Caring for All Creation

Considering oneself a citizen of the world, as Nathan says, has compelled many evangelicals to also view the environment as an important issue for the upcoming election—an issue that has, until recently, been largely considered a “liberal” cause. For many evangelicals, caring for the creation is inextricably linked to God’s mandate to Adam and Eve in Genesis.

“Creation care has certainly grown to become an issue of greater importance for me, more so than previous elections,” says Jason Chatraw, a member of Vineyard Boise church in Boise, Idaho, “but it has for every candidate in every local, state, and national election—which I believe is a good thing and probably a result of the growing number of evangelicals involved in this movement.”

Hamilton, Church of the Resur rection pastor in Kansas, sees this election as an important opportunity to address issues of waste and consumption in the United States. “People want to think differently about the environment, and it’s a wonderful moment to retrain people’s habits,” Hamilton says.

Tri Robinson, pastor of Vineyard Boise, began to see environmental matters in a new light after an eventful conversation with his two young-adult children. “They came to me and said, as Christians, they had nobody to vote for,” Robinson remembers. “On the one hand, they would have to vote against the sanctity of life, and on the other hand, they would have to vote against caring for the environment.” This conversation launched Robinson into a deep and careful look into the scriptures, where he was surprised to find an overwhelming call from God for creation care. This led to his writing several books about the Christian call to creation care, including Saving God’s Green Earth: Rediscovering the Church’s Responsibility to Environ mental Stewardship.

Several formative trips he took to Burma from 1982 to 1985 also informed Robinson’s understanding that the issue of creation care was linked to problems of poverty and even human sex trafficking in developing nations abroad. “There wasn’t a bird chirping or one moving or living thing in that land,” Robinson says, “and I realized that a bad environment leads to polluted water, which leads to infant mortality, world hunger, illiteracy, and even human trafficking in the face of a dying economy. You can’t deal with isolated issues. All of these problems are related.”

An Interconnected World

Robinson represents many of the new evangelical voters who are coming out of their conservative traditions and challenging themselves to see the world in a different way—as a world where one issue is connected to another through a series of systems. The fragile environment contributes to a broken economic system that creates a society of haves and have-nots. The resulting injustice is what is compelling most, if not all, of these new evangelical voters to look beyond wedge issues to fight for the rights of all people.

Social justice, then, remains at the heart of the new evangelical voters’ focus in this election year, as demonstrated by Irene Yoon, a member of Quest Church in Seattle and a fervent advocate of efforts to help African peacekeepers in Darfur and to aid people in North Korea, China, sub-Saharan Africa, and elsewhere.

“We must pursue justice to the best of our ability in our day-to-day lives. As we must love our neighbors, to me, that means taking care of each other,” Yoon says. Caring for our local and global neighbors is a more vital role for government to play than policing the issues of gay marriage and abortion, she says, which are personal issues between individuals and God. “God decides in the end who is righteous and who is not.”

For Emily Brixius, a church mate of Yoon’s at Quest Church, one of the key ways to care for our neighbors is adequate health care for all. “I really view health care as a moral issue,” says Brixius, 27. “If a country is going to uphold an ethic of life, then health care has to be a part of that.” Christian Chin, another member of Quest Church, agrees that access to health care is a central moral issue for Christians. “It’s a disgrace that nearly 50 million people do not have any coverage in a nation as wealthy as ours,” Chin says. “We need universal health care now.”

Nimma Bhusri, a member of The Vineyard Church of Ohio, thinks that issues such as the global AIDS crisis, genocide in Darfur, and particularly child prostitution and human trafficking are important to consider in the upcoming elections, a realization she has come to in her own devotional life and in her career as a fashion designer.

“Living in central Ohio can become a bubble, but Darfur has been a huge issue that has been on the radar. I’ve been much more exposed to the cause, and also to the cause of human trafficking,” Bhusri says. “Therefore, I understand that even though I am a fashion designer in Ohio, I am responsible for AIDS in Africa and for caring for the global poor.”

“Social injustice is near to the heart of God,” explains Chatraw of Vineyard Boise. “It’s when as a Christian that I feed the poor, tend to the sick, and care for the orphans and widows that I fully embody the love of Christ.”

It is precisely this inclusive thinking that exemplifies the remarkable transformation that has come over a demographic whose votes in previous elections were predictably based upon two wedge issues. Many evangelicals today are no longer comfortable voting on a narrow understanding of what constitutes a “pro-life” stance.

“God is always on the side of life,” Rich Nathan insists. “Jesus said, ‘I am not only the truth, but I am the life.’ And so we always press for the preservation of life. We always press toward the inclusion of our neighbors.”

Jim Rice is editor and Jeannie Choi assistant editor of Sojourners.

Thanks for the Help & I didn't get into trouble

What a headline! Tongue out

First things first – that you all for your help with an anniversary ideas.  There was a TON of great suggestions… however, I’m going to go with:

Giving her an electrical toothbrush

What do you think? Embarassed

I spent a lot of time and effort thinking this one through – and I’m sure it’s a winner!!!

Yeah – I’ll let you know how it works….. (if I’m still breathing and able to typeUndecided[@more@]

The second item to be handled is the interview with the Sojourners Magazine:

It went very well – the lady asked me what political issues concerned me the most, and then she let me talk for 20 minutes. Yelp – she didn’t even interpret once! Which, honestly, was quite disturbing:

  • Did she fall a sleep?
  • Did she have a heart attack? I was really wishing I had undergone CPR training from Coast2Coast in Richmond Hill at this point.
  • Was she faking a heart attack?
  • Maybe while she was faking a heart attack, she had a real heart attack…
  • Was the phone even on?
  • Can you hear me now?

As wild as all this is, do you know what the most disturbing / scary part of the whole interview was?  I stopped talking after 20 minutes!!!!

Horrors of horrors!!! I must be getting old!!! I can no longer talk for more the 20 minutes with out pausing for a breath of air (granted it was a yellow air quality day…) or a drink of water!  Grrrrrrrrrrrr   My life is no longer valid. I must take matters into my own hands – this MUST be corrected!

Right after I give Em her electrical toothbrush.

I’m Being Interviewed by Sojourners Magazine!

It’s a miracle!! Someone ACTUALLY wants to hear my views!!!  I mean, come on, lets be real – most of you all read this blog out of guilt placed upon you by the editor (which is not me..really….I’m being serious here…the editor is a non-partisan, non-bias individual who’s main job is to get people to read this blog. Nothing more – well, except to apologize to those people the writer offends time to time…wait…I’m the writer and I’m offended!Surprised

Hmm – back to the main story folks…

Sojourners Magazine contact me for an interview – granted they tried to reach my pastor first…BUT he DID recommend me for the interview!! (which makes me wonder if he really knows me?)  NOdelete that remark.  Ok – truth be told, I’m in a really nutty mood and my fingers keep taking control of the keyboard. Undecided

If you are like me, the first thing you must be thinking is who in the world is “Sojourners Magazine”? and what kind of material do they publish? Well, according to my recently research, Sojourners Magazine is “a progressive Christian commentary on faith, politics and culture.”[@more@]
The magazine started in 1971 from a Christian commune under the name “The Post-American”. A few years later, both the magazine and commune changed it’s name to “Sojourners” as a connection back to the biblical metaphor identifying “God’s people as pilgrims-fully present in the world but committed to a different order-and reflects their broadening vision.” Anyone can get a magazine printed by using a company like Printivity. But for it to be successful for over 35 years, it’s got to be a very, very good one. Evidently this is the case with Sojourners Magazine.

As for my connection (notice that my mind has regained control?) to the magazine, they are looking to interview people with a passion for or involved with different types of social issues – and who are willing to talk about them. Maybe my pastor knew me too well after all?

In case you’re wondering, here are the interview questions I will answering this afternoon via phone:  

In the recent past, some evangelical Christians have focused primarily on two issues as singularly important in deciding how to vote in presidential elections: abortion and marriage. Recent polls indicate that many evangelicals are also concerned – and deeply involved – in other issues, including care for God’s creation, Darfur, the movement against human trafficking, poverty, and others.
What are the most important issues for you in the upcoming election? Are these different than the issues you might have named four or eight years ago? Why, as a Christian, do you consider each of these issues important?

Can you say: “How much trouble can Ardell get into?”  Tongue out

Boise Vineyard Highlighted on the 700 Club

A few weeks ago the 700 Club came to Boise and interviewed some of the folks at our church about our community garden, the Garden o' Feedin'. I would enbed the video, but for some reason I can’t get that part to wok.. sigh…  so you will have to follow this link to watch the clip.  Laughing

Mean while – here’s some written info on what the Garden o' Feedin' is about:

The Garden – O – Feed'in is Part of the Vineyard Boise’s benevolence ministry and is located on the north east corner of the 22 acre campus. The Garden-O-Feed'in began as the vision of Rick and Diane Roberson in 1998 with just six raised beds. Due to their hard work and the perseverance of many volunteers we are presently farming one third of an acre and this fall developed another one third acre for farming in the spring. [@more@]

The vision of the garden is to supplement, with healthy organically grown vegetables, the pantries of those in need. Two benevolent farmers markets are held each week, Wednesdays and Saturdays under the garden arbor.

In 2007 the garden produced and gave away over 20,000 lbs. of produce, feeding approximately 1281 families, representing around 4108 individuals.

Not only does the garden feed those in need, this year we've started holding classes to educate it's volunteers and the community about gardening’s value to the environment and the many different ways to enjoy meals with garden produce. Wise water usage, organic methods of soil and crop development, pest control, composting and the benefits of mulching are some of the classes planned for next season.

It took 3782 volunteer hours and 115 volunteers to make it all happen this year. But there are still plenty of opportunities available to help out and to learn and grow. For more information about the Vineyard Boise Benevolence Ministries can be found here.

Disclaimer: the above pic is not from Idaho..it's actually from Paraguay..but it seem to fit so well… Undecided

Review: Idaho Green Expo

Downtown Boise was a mess this weekend!!  Not only was the Idaho Green Expo going on, but next door (literally) Beth Moore was hosting an event.  Not to be left out, the area between the two events was hosting it's own function – ie. a farmers market.

This led to a shortage of parking spaces, tons of exhaust flumes and a multitude of people. The later was welcome while the former items were despised…

Overall, this was the BEST conference or expo we've ever attended! News reports have stated that over 15,000 people went through the Expo – many of whom we got to talk too.  In fact, I believe we talked to more people and sold more items then ever before!  Shoot, we had to print more Re:From brochures Sunday morning as we ran out!

Here are few stories from the Expo:[@more@]

1) The Love Justice & LTTG combo worked great! I talked to one presenter who kinda understood the environment side of our ministry, but could understand how the human injustice part fit in. This opened the door for me to share the heart of God. It was a God moment!

2) The t-shirts were a great conversation starter – one guy even chased down M and asked him where he got the shirt. That led into a wonderful opportunity for M to share a bit about about God and what the church is doing.

3) We had a lot of people come up to the booth who had heard of the Vineyard, but didn't know anything about it. As such, we were able to answer their questions about the church and put them at ease about visiting. Lord knows how many coffee cards we gave out!!! Laughing

Coffee cards = small brochures about the Vineyard Boise with a free espresso coupon. Yeah – we have an espresso bar in the church. It is the Northwest after all! Laughing

The Kingdom of Heaven was advanced this weekend! 

Thanks for all your prayers!!!

Idaho Green Expo

If you read this and have time, please drop some prayers upwards with me and the LTTG/Love Justice team as we share our heart with folks at the Idaho Green Expo. While we will be advertizing the Vineyard Boise's 2008 Re:Form Conference, I'm praying for some God encoutners. Let His Kingdom Come!! =D

Oh – Please be praying for the ladies as they attend the Beth Moore conference this weekend. 

God bless

A test of eight green bathroom-cleaning products

Let’s face it; bathrooms can be the most tricky and most dirty room to clean, but they don’t have to be with the right products. For example, there are several tried and tested cleaning products that are loved by commercial cleaning companies all over the world. In case you were not already aware phs Direct are the UK leader of commercial cleaning supplies and you can find plenty of commercial-grade cleaning products by taking a look at some of the resources on their website.

Ultimately, there is no denying that the cleaning products and tools you use can make a huge difference. For instance, floors are easily cleaned with a steam cleaner for tile floors and bleach is loved for the bathroom. However, the real question is… Pure Baking Soda? Bon Ami Polishing Cleanser? 20 Mule Team Borax? Or some other green cleaning product? Which products are best?

Sarah van Schagen of Grist.org decided to help us out and put eight green bathroom-cleaning products to the test. I picked a random three to share. Check out the full article to see all eight.

Pure Baking Soda

16 oz. powder, $1.15
Eco-claims: Safe, effective cleaning and deodorizing
Ingredients: Sodium bicarbonate (an antacid)
Cleaning instructions: Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge or cloth for cleaning of all countertops, appliances, metal cabinets, and tile.
Smell: No scent. At all.
Elbow grease required: elbow injury imminent
Resulting sparkle: a glint

Buy one little box of this stuff and you’re set for litterbox odor control, tooth whitening, laundry, household cleaning, minor skin irritations, fridge freshening, and upset stomachs — not to mention baking, of course! It was a little messy sprinkling the powder onto the damp sponge, and I had to reapply it a number of times, but the baking soda’s grit did get some of the grime out. This one required a lot of elbow grease though — for not as much return as some of the other products.

[@more@]Bon Ami Polishing Cleanser

14 oz. powder, $1.29
Eco-claims: No chlorine, perfume, or dye; contains no phosphorus; biodegradable
Ingredients: Calcium carbonate
Cleaning instructions: Wet surface. Sprinkle on Bon Ami. Rub with wet sponge or cloth.
Smell: Slight flour-y scent, though hardly noticeable
Elbow grease required: scrub-a-dub and then some
Resulting sparkle: ooh! shiny

The holes at the top of this cylindrical container are grouped in the center, which made for messy pouring onto the sponge — meaning I had to clean twice (once on the tile, and once on the floor where I spilled). The upside, though, is that this stuff has barely a scent and barely an ingredient — so by default, there’s no ooky stuff inside. It required some elbow grease, but did a pretty good job cleaning off the muck.

20 Mule Team Borax

4 lbs. 12 oz. powder, $4.49
Eco-claims: Does not contain phosphates or chlorine; safe for septic tanks
Ingredients: sodium tetraborate decahydrate (a chemical compound and mineral)
Cleaning instructions: Sprinkle on damp sponge or cloth and wipe.
Smell: Almost none — a very slight soapy scent
Elbow grease required: a little scrub’ll do ya
Resulting sparkle: blinding bling

Sign me up to be on Team Borax … aside from the messiness of it being a powder and the big, heavy box, this product was amazing! I tested it because you readers recommended it, and I have to say — y’all know what you’re talking about. Using Borax, I was able to get the shower twice as clean in half the time — almost no effort for a sparkling clean. I’m a convert! Next up: washing those soiled t-shirts in this stuff.