Wednesday, May 30, 2018

March for the Ocean, M4O, June 9

March for the Ocean, M4O, June 9

The Ocean Is Rising and So Are We!
Put the Blue Back in the Red, White and Blue!
It’s Not Too Late to Turn the Tide!

Saturday June 9 is the first ever “March for the Ocean,” in Washington DC, and I will be there.  There are sister events in over 75 cities in the US and worldwide - marches, kayak parades, flotillas, beach cleanups, bay swims and other wonderful wet gatherings.  Find one in your town! 

June 8 is World Ocean Day.  For many years, in early June, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation has organized Capitol Hill Ocean Week (, with speakers, awards and a day of visiting your legislators to lobby for ocean legislation.  For the first time there will be an Ocean March as well. 

I’ll be writing about M4O for the next few weeks each Wednesday (or more often), in anticipation and then in reflection.  Please hold me in your prayers as I travel and gather with other ocean lovers.

I’ll be wearing my new blue “March for the Ocean” t-shirt and my usual Blue Theology stole.  I’ve been in touch with DC churches and will look for fellow faithful lovers of blue.

At the Science March last year I saw a sign that read “Love Your Anemone.”  My dear Blue Theology friends – Help! What should my sign say?  (I’m going to a sign painting party the night before the March.)

Do check out  With the organizers I affirm: “NO to Offshore Drilling, NO to Plastic pollution NO to rising seas and climate disasters and YES to job-generating renewable energy, YES to corporate accountability to reduce waste and YES to living protective shorelines, a healthy ocean and clean water for all!” 

Holy words and commitments.
I write these Blue Theology “Tide-ings” on ocean stewardship and spirituality every Wednesday, here and on Facebook.  Our Pacific Grove, CA church welcomes groups of all ages to learn about how God loves the ocean and wants us to love it a bit better.  We have 7 groups visiting this summer –  We are marching in the (wet) light of God.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Wind, Wind on the Sea

Wind, Wind on the Sea

This is what the day of Pentecost looks like on the Central Coast.  The Holy Spirit is not just windy, but wet.

I’ve always thought of Pentecost as a dry land holiday. The Holy Spirit fills the streets of dusty Jerusalem like a hot sirocco wind, with burning tongues of hot prophecy.

But this past Sunday, when we sang Jim Manley’s fantastic Pentecost hymn “Spirit,” I heard for the first time a Spirit that is wet-blue as well as dry-red.

The moving refrain I’ve sung a million times:
 “Spirit, spirit of gentleness, blow through the wilderness,
Calling and free.
Spirit, spirit of restlessness, stir me from placidness,
Wind, wind on the sea.”

Wind, wind on the sea? 

Of course, those are the Spirit winds of creation.  “You moved on the waters, you called to the deep.” Spirit and water are our very womb.

But for the rest of the song the Spirit blows on dry land: “you swept through the desert…you sang in a stable…down in the city you called once again….”

Until we sang that haunting refrain over and over, “Spirit of restlessness….Wind, wind on the sea.”

It’s really windy on the Central Coast these days, because it’s the annual “upwelling” season.  Each spring the prevailing westerlies shift to the north, and as they push along the coast, they blow the surface water south and away. Deep sea currents, cold and nutrient rich, “wake from their slumber, rise on their wings” (Manley) and bring to the surface a once a year all-you-can-eat-buffet for whales and squid and pelicans and you and me.  The Central Coast is one of only five places in the world, west coasts, where this massive upwelling surges from the deep each spring and summer.  We shiver because the upwelling also brings cold windy fog.  But marine life thrives and rejoices. 

Upwelling is good reminder that when we let our own surface be blown away, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we are always nourished from the deep.  Pentecosts galore – spirit and nourishment for the whole community.

Wind on the sea means food from the deep.  Holy Spirit hovering is the wet force and source of renewed creation.
Manley wrote this hymn while pastor in Hawaii – surely he experienced firsthand the spirit over water; “you blew through your people on rush of the wind”.

Flames (at least on my gas stove) can be blue as well as red.  Happy wet Pentecost.

This “Wet Pentecost” post is from 2016, but it’s wet and windy here again this spring Pentecost, thanks to upwelling, which has also brought from the deep a bay full of food – whales and dolphins galore, and the squid boats shine their lights off shore every night – all you can eat!  Come visit our Blue Theology Mission Station in Pacific Grove for incredible Pentecost whale sightings and other windy wonders.  I post these ocean devotionals every Wednesday here and at Facebook. Another great NOAA photo by Chad King, off Pt. Pinos, Pacific Grove.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Why Sharks Want You to Ride Your Bike

Why Sharks Want You to Ride Your Bike

Check out this new bike rack outside Monterey Bay Aquarium!  It’s a shark where you can park your bike.  It is strong, useful and beautiful.

That’s what my favorite architecture writer, the 1st century Roman Vitruvius, says that every structure should have: strength (firmitas), usefulness (utilitas) and beauty (venustas.)  (Many buildings have 2 out of 3; strength and beauty, but no closets. Or strength and utility, but really ugly.  Or useful and attractive, but they fall down!)

Sharks, also, are strong, useful and beautiful.  Strong? No argument.  Useful? Like all top predators, such as lions, they promote habitat diversity by eating a variety of prey, so that one prey animal doesn’t dominate and overeat other animals or plants. Beautiful?  Look at the graceful lines and sleek profile. 

Sharks really want us to ride our bikes.  Less driving means we put less CO2 in the ocean.  That means a healthy habitat and more food for all ocean critters – less warming and less acidification, which both cut down on what’s available for dinner.  Ride your bike and keep food on the plate for all sea creatures.

Are sharks huge scary eaters?  No!!  Sea otters eat a quarter of their weight every DAY, 15 lbs.  Sharks eat a quarter of their weight every MONTH, even white sharks.

So ride your bike and the otters and sharks and other ocean critters won’t go hungry.  Really.  Recycling is great, reducing plastic essential, but the BEST thing to do for the ocean is drive less and buy local.  

Ride your bike to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and I will get you in free!  That’s not a joke, it’s a promise.
I write these Blue Theology devotionals on ocean stewardship and spirituality every Wednesday here and on Facebook.Come visit our ministry in Pacific Grove and learn why God loves the ocean and wants us to love it, and sharks, a bit better.  And to ride our bikes.