Evangelical group teaches farming, provides hospitality to refugees, and watches local salmon

Children learning to care for the environment through A Rocha Canada. Photo by Brooke Mcallister.

A Rocha Canada is a Christian community based on a farm in Surrey, British Columbia, that teaches people about the environmental, protects the local watershed, and tries to live in harmony with each other and the land.

By Jason Byassee

The roots of A Rocha lie in the evangelical Christian world. The Kostamos studied at evangelical Regent College in Vancouver. Markku is a child of Finnish missionaries to Nepal; Leah worked for Campus Crusade for Christ in Washington and Idaho. While church groups have been mostly open to A Rocha’s message of creation care, there have been some that have been wary. Leah tells of a summer family camp that invited her to speak and then received emails of concern from people who said they were interested in learning about Jesus, not about the environment. Nevertheless, some evangelical zeal seems necessary in the face of ecocatastrophe. As Atwood comments, “You cannot save what you don’t love.”
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When I visited the farm, Leah explained to me the way salmon spawn: The male lies on his side and digs a hole. The female lays eggs in the hole, and the male fertilizes them. Then both of them die. It’s not a very efficient way to reproduce, but as Harris says in Under the Bright Wings, birdwatching is not very efficient either. And neither is the God who saves humans by taking flesh among an oppressed people in an obscure part of the world. There may be more efficient ways of doing conservation than through a Christian community. But A Rocha seeks to match its work to the patient ways of a God who counts the sparrows and hairs on people’s heads.
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The genius of A Rocha is that it’s a conservation organization built on Christian hope. Strident warnings about the looming ecocatastrophe are often tinged with doom. People feel outgunned by corporations and unheeded by governments. It seems the end is coming whatever we do. In contrast, the work of A Rocha is marked by joy. Its members go about their work of studying species, reporting results, guarding the watershed, and selling shares in community-supported agriculture. Whether others join them or ignore them, these Christians are happy in their own skin. They are “convinced that matter matters to God, who created the stuff and even became the stuff and calls us to steward the stuff on his behalf,” Leah writes.

To read Jason Byassee’s entire Christian Century article, click HERE.

To find out more about A Roche, click HERE.

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Wayfinding Home: Circumnavigating the globe without a compass

By Steve Beard

For three years, they were ultimately voyaging back home. Along the way, they circumnavigated the globe – without so much as a compass. The crew of the Hokule’a, a 62-foot-long Polynesian sailing canoe, traversed more than 40,000 nautical miles in its epic journey with no engine or modern navigational instruments. Having set sail in 2014, the crew returned to Hawaii in July 2017. Guided only by their assessment of the sun, moon, stars, wind, swells, and sea life patterns, the Polynesian Voyaging Society accomplished a global trek that most people thought was impossible.

In an era enamored by technological pinnacles, chalk this extraordinary triumph up to the ancient South Pacific ways.

In order to grab hold of the wow-factor behind this feat, forget about touristy ocean cruising. On the Hokule’a (ho-koo-lay-ah, “Star of Gladness” in Hawaiian), there was no midnight buffet, ice sculptures, or cocktails on the lido deck. There was no refrigeration, restroom stalls, or internet café on the catamaran-style vessel. The showers were buckets of seawater and the canvas-covered sleeping quarters were 6 foot segments marked out in the hulls where the 12-member crew slept head-to-foot. Spartan conditions. Spectacular adventure.  Continue reading

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In Hawaii, being nice is the law

‘Aloha’ is a legal concept that grew out of the necessity for Hawaiians to live in peace and work together, in harmony with the land and their spiritual beliefs.

By Brenna Kerr

Hawaii now hosts almost nine million visitors a year, and ‘Aloha’ is a word that most of those tourists will hear during their time on the islands. The word is used in place of hello and goodbye, but it means much more than that. It’s also a shorthand for the spirit of the islands – the people and the land – and what makes this place so unique.

Alo means ‘face to face’ and Ha means ‘breath of life’,” according to Davianna Pōmaikaʻi McGregor, a Hawaii historian and founding member of the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. But McGregor also noted that there are several less literal, but equally valid, interpretations of the word.
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It makes sense. Hawaii is the most isolated population centre in the world: the California coast is around 2,400 miles away; Japan is more than 4,000 miles. The islands are small – most (like Maui, where I live) can be driven around in a single day. Then, as now, there are no bridges connecting the islands, and even inter-island travel is a challenge. With nowhere to go, the only option, it would seem, is to get along.

“Being isolated, historically, our ancestors needed to treat each other and the land, which has limited resources, with respect,” McGregor said. “For Hawaiians, the main source of labour was human. So there was a need for collective work among extended families and a high value placed on having loving and respectful relationships.”
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“Visitors to Hawaii often talk about how Hawaii is a beautiful place, but the most special part of their experience has been the people, and how nice people are,” said Hawaii State Representative Tulsi Gabbard. “People across the United States and around the world ultimately want peace… By truly living Aloha – having respect and love for others – we can be empowered to overcome those differences and find solutions that best serve the wellbeing of people and our planet.”

Read her entire BBC article HERE

 

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Barbara Bush’s Subversive Secret to Happiness

Former First Lady Barbara Bush photographed on August 23, 2001 in Houston, TX. (Photo by Pam Francis/Getty Images)

“Whatever the era, whatever the times, one thing will never change: Fathers and mothers, if you have children—they must come first.” Barbara Bush, Wellesley College, 1990

Andrew Ferguson, The Weekly Standard: “These seemingly anodyne, Hallmark-y words, when taken seriously, are the most subversive words that could be uttered, then or now, on a college campus—a place where subversive words are supposed to be prized and protected but often aren’t. Mrs. Bush’s subversion wasn’t a matter of left or right, or even of feminism or traditionalism. She cut much deeper, into an American faith that transcends political categories.

“This is the faith of careerism. For generations, career had been the guiding light of the bourgeois American male. Work came before family, even if work was done in service of family, as many men told themselves it was. The result was that fathers and mothers of the broad middle class lived separate lives: men at work, women at home to attend to

domestic matters, kids above all.

“Mrs. Bush understood that this division of labor, enforced through countless social customs and economic arrangements, was manifestly unfair to women who wanted something different, and no decent person could object to dismantling the barriers that stood in the way of their ambitions. But in this otherwise admirable goal, Mrs. Bush suggested, the advocates of women’s equality overshot. They went beyond making materialism an option to making it an expectation, perhaps even mandatory. They fell for the great lie at the heart of American business and professional life as men had lived it: that a single-minded pursuit of professional success was the surest source of personal fulfillment.”

Read his complete column HERE.

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Bono Awarded George W. Bush Medal for Distinguished Leadership for AIDS Work

Rolling Stone

Bono was awarded the inaugural George W. Bush Medal for Distinguished Leadership Thursday, with the former president honoring the U2 singer for his work in combatting the HIV/AIDS crisis and poverty in Africa.

In 2002, during a visit to the White House, Bono lobbied the president to lend financial support to a series to humanitarian organizations that would provide financial assistance and help stem the AIDS crisis in poor countries.

“That’s what I’m not sure people understand,” Bono told Bush Thursday in a conversation that was live-streamed from the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, “13 million from PEPFAR [President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief], and if you add the Global Relief Fund, it’s probably been 21 million lives have been saved by this work that you began and led and I’m here to honor that.”

To read entire article, click HERE

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Congratulations Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Photo by Theo Wargo (Cleveland.com). Musicians Brittany Howard, Questlove and Felicia Collins pay tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

In a world filled with travesties, let-downs, and injustice, it is nice to see an occasional gamma ray of hope emerge. Finally, after years of narcissistic rock industry navel-gazing, Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1915-1973) was rightfully inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tonight. Ignored and neglected for decades, Sister Rosetta was a finger-picking, gospel-rocking madhatter on the electric guitar long before there was a Jimi Hendrix or Chuck Berry or Eric Clapton on the scene – all fans, along with Elvis and Johnny Cash. She recorded music that “Billboard” dubbed “rock-and-roll spiritual singing” clear back in 1942. My rockabilly buddies turned me on to her righteous tunes back in the 1980s. Stoked for Sister! In the old days, we used to say that somebody was “big time” and it meant something special. Well, Sister Rosetta was always “big time.” Tonight, however, the Hall of Fame made that distinction official. 

Brittany Howard inducted Sister Rosetta into the Hall. “It is a huge honor to induct Sister Rosetta Tharpe to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” she told Rolling Stone prior to the event. “She has been such an inspiration. I hope this spotlight helps people discover what so many of us already know. She is one of the greatest artists of all time.”

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Happy Birthday Brian Setzer

BAND LOGO: Stray Cats singer / guitarist Brian Setzer sings at Pacific Amphitheater, Tuesday Night.///
////ADDITIONAL INFO//// 02_straycats.0723.ks – shot 07/22/08 – Ken Steinhardt The Orange County Register.

Happy Birthday Brian Setzer! In the early 1980s, the Stray Cats front man stood up in the moshpit of the punk rock/new wave revolution and daringly waved a big, greasy flag for rockabilly. Back when I was a teenage punk rocker, this guy opened up the world of rockabilly and roots music and spurred my desire to play in a band. Setzer captured the imagination of the freshman class of the emerging MTV generation with his peroxide pompadour, pleated baggies, patent leather Creepers, and his 1959 Gretsch guitar strapped over his leather clad shoulder. He’s never been content to play niche music — always turning to innovation. So grateful for what Stray Cats music meant to me and my friends. All the best.

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Happy Birthday, Carl Perkins

Happy birthday wishes to the late, great Carl Perkins, writer of classic rockabilly hits: “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Gone, Gone, Gone,” and “Honey, Don’t.” Killer lyrics: “You can burn my house / Steal my car / Drink my liquor from an old fruit jar / Well do anything that you want to do / But uh-uh, honey lay off of my blue suede shoes.” Nothing more needs to be said to state his place in rock ‘n’ roll history than Paul McCartney’s remark that “if there were no Carl Perkins, there would be no Beatles.” Happy Birthday, Carl.

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Jesus Christ Superstar. Wow, just Wow!

For the rock n rollers, skeptics, searchers, saints and sinners, NBC nailed the greatest story ever told. He is risen! What a spectacle. Thank you John Legend, Brandon V. Dixon, Alice Cooper, Sara Bareilles, and the rest of the mohawked and tattooed cast.  

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It’s always been about Him. Happy Easter!

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