Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving Parade

Thanksgiving Day Parade

This is where I’ll watch the parade on Thanksgiving Day.   Not the Macy’s Parade in NYC, but along my main street – Highway One in Big Sur.  

I’ll stand on these cliffs near my home and see (or imagine) a magnificent parade of marine plants and animals.

H – Holdfast, Hydromedusa
A – Anemone, Avocet
P – Plover, Pisaster
P – Puffin, Pelican, Phytoplankton
Y – Yarrow, Yellowtail, Yellowlegs (Greater and Lesser)

T – Tern, Turbot, Tuna
H – Halibut, Hydrocoral
A – Anchovy, Abyss, Algae
N – Nudibranch, Notochords, Nematocysts
K – Kelp, Kildeer, Krill
S – Salmon, Sunfish, Sea Star, Sculpin, Senorita, Shrimp, Salp
G – Great White Shark, Gastropod
I – Invertebrates, Isopod
V – Vertebrates, Velella Velella, Vulture
I – Ichthyologist, Intertidal
N – Naturalist, Neurotoxins
G – Garibaldi, Gull, Gill

We here at the Blue Theology Mission Station join with our pelagic cousins to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

So much to be thankful for.  (Check out <>)
_________  Come visit us in Pacific Grove, on your own or in a group, to join in watching the parade!   I post these Wednesday ocean devotionals here and at  Thanks Steve Lonhardt from <> for the great photo.  An amazing free library of ocean photos, thanks to NOAA.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Ocean Advocacy

Ocean Advocacy

I’m up early for Day Two of an intense “Ocean and Coastal Advocacy Training,” offered by the impressive Healthy Oceans Coalition.  I was invited along with 20 other ocean advocates and we are meeting at Seascape in Aptos – classy – thanks Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Yesterday we did a “deep dive” into three issues: “West Coast and the Proposed Offshore Oil and Gas Five-Year Plan,” “National Marine Sanctuaries,” and “Federal Fisheries and Conservation Management,”  all in the context of our current administration.  Then we were trained by a communications/change guy on how to meet with a policy maker and make your “ask” in 3 minutes.

I am making some new cool friends representing diff orgs and issues – plastics, cruise ships, desalination, marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries, climate change, etc.  Save Our Shores, Heal the Bay, Plastic Pollution Coalition, Surfrider, Ocean Conservancy, etc.

Nice surprise – a Mennonite pastor/scientist from Southern Cal working on plastic pollution.  New colleague.

Sweet youth from “Heirs To Our Ocean” (H2O) whom I also met last year in DC at the Ocean March.

New hashtags: #ThirtyByThirty – protect and set aside 30% of ocean (and land) by 2030 – UN goal.  And #KeepOceanFishy – work for sustainable fisheries.

More reports to come, great info for Blue Theology work.  Today we will work on writing press releases and using social media for advocacy. 

Now to watch some impeachment hearings before we gather…..
______________________ for info on our youth service trips and adult pilgrimages along Monterey Bay.  You will learn more about these issues and have blessed retreat by the sea.  I post these ocean devotionals every Wednesday here and on Facebook.Come and Sea!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Charismatic Animals

Charismatic Animals

Do you have an animal you love more than all others, your so-called “charismatic animal?”  When you see them you smile, you laugh, you love?

Panda, otter, penguin, albatross, white shark?  Aquariums and zoos know that charismatic animals get folks in the door.  Not just that they are cute, although that helps.  Charismatic animals inspire a heart connection, caring and fascination, even devotion.  If we want to inspire care for all of creation, it is the charismatic ones who open doors and hearts.   Come for the otter, stay for the worms and lumpsucker fish.  Creation needs them all. 

When I was a kid, penguins were “my” animal.  I adored them, still do.  My shelves still hold my extensive library of penguin books.  Over the years folks have given me penguin coffee cups and stuffed animals and salt and pepper shakers and sweatshirts. My lifelong penguin flock includes this fab life-sized FAO Schwarz King Penguin, Arthur.  My beloved mother made me penguin skirts and Halloween costumes, took me to the Bronx Zoo, bought me Arthur.   When the Monterey Aquarium opened a penguin exhibit I volunteered for an extra two hour shift every Monday morning, arriving before opening hours, in rubber waders, to scrub penguin poop off the rocks with various brushes – my reward was at 10:30 I could help feed these dear charismatic ones.

“Charismatic” comes from “charism,” meaning “gifted.”  Everyone has gifts - we are all gifted, says the Apostle Paul.  “Many gifts, one spirit.”  IE these charismatic animals are no better than the worms or lumpsuckers, every animal has gifts. What the charismatic ones do is pull our heart strings.  God and I so love the penguins that I will give my beloved Monday morning and scrape their poop off the rocks, that all might know and believe that God wants health and life for all creation. (John 3:16)

Paul says our gifts are not precious personal possessions, but are given by God to benefit and bless the whole community.  Otters bless their whole kelp forest habitat – without otters, no kelp forest – they eat the abalone and urchins that would devour the forest. It’s called being a keystone species.   Sharks, like wolves, are top predators – without them there would be too many sick and weak animals and an unhealthy ocean.  They are not just cute, they are life preservers, keystones, flagships.  What are the keystones, flagships in your life?

The Aquarium’s sweet albatross, named Makana, blesses and baptizes us every day simply with her presence.  But she also teaches us about the problem of plastics and challenges of being an ocean bird.  Her name Makana literally means “gift,” “charism.”

What is your gift, your charism?  How does it build up the community, the body of Christ?    How can you support and empower the gifts of all creatures, charismatic and not so much? 

Our Blue Theology service trips and pilgrimages include personal visits with charismatic animals  like Makana, the penguins and otters and of course us, the charismatic members of the Christian Church of Pacific Grove.  Be in touch –  I post these Wednesday ocean devotions here and on Facebook.