Passion, compassion — and a holiday legend all the way from Norway. That’s a lot for a 1,400-square-foot home to accommodate, yet that’s exactly what Kim Sturla’s manufactured home embraces. Kim is the executive director of Grass Valley’s popular Animal Place — a haven and lifetime home for approximately 300 rescued farmed animals. “With our assortment of chickens, turkeys, cattle, rabbits, goats, sheep and pigs, you can imagine how much compassion and just plain hard work it takes to care for them properly. For my staff and me, however, it’s our passion every day of the year,” Kim said.
An aspect of parenting that often shocks us is how very much our children teach us; often, our perceived role as shepherd, mentor and guide is turned on its head. A year after Catherine Violet Hubbard’s tragic passing in Newtown, Connecticut, her mother, Jenny Hubbard, continues to learn from Catherine every day, and it’s these lessons that inform Catherine’s legacy. Jenny describes Catherine’s legacy of kindness as a natural passion that began in the backyard and open spaces of their town. Stories of Catherine galloping after butterflies and rescuing earthworms while her mother worked in the garden easily conjure up images of typical 6-year-old girls in the summer, but Catherine’s mother knows her calling and connection to animals was stronger and clearer than the typical. Continue Reading →
Advent looks back to celebrate the coming of the Son of God in human flesh. As Advent lectionary readings show, God comes in many ways, and so Advent also looks ahead to God’s future interventions in history, and especially to his final advent at the last day. Those last-day readings present a consistent picture of final judgment. Jesus doesn’t separate sheep and goats because of what they believe, or because the sheep have received the imputed righteousness of Christ and the goats haven’t, or because sheep are good church-going folks and the goats sleep in on Sunday mornings. The difference lies in the kind of life each has lived. As Paul says, “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). The Bible never says anything else. Continue Reading →
In a statement for the Warsaw Conference on Climate Change in November, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of the Orthodox Church asks, “When will we choose to live more simply?” Anyone advocating asceticism as a healthy Christian response to consumerism and materialism will receive three cheers from me, my Patriarch not least of all. Unfortunately, it appears that Bartholomew has in mind instead a kind of trendy “green” simplicity that is a luxury only the comparatively wealthy can afford…. the simplicity that Bartholomew wants is not just any simplicity; it is a solar-powered simplicity that he proposes as a solution to global climate change. Unfortunately, such simplicity is a luxury that many today simply cannot afford. Continue Reading →