Review: Years of Living Dangerously

years-of-living-dangerouslyyears-of-living-dangerouslyEarlier this week, our Transition Longmeadow group plus some other First Church members watched the first episode of Showtime’s “Years of Living Dangerously” in the Buxton Room.  It is well done, powerful, and instructive. I especially liked the section addressing how  scientists might be able to talk with the more evangelical churches.  The other three messages of the series are, as distilled by Environmental Defense Fund membership director Sam Perry:


  • There isn’t a corner on the globe not already impacted by climate change. The first episode takes viewers from the Texas Panhandle to the Indonesian rainforests to the deadly conflict in Syria. The devastating climate crisis is already hurting communities around the world—and it’s only getting worse.
  • Ordinary people will need a lot of help as the climate crisis deepens. Just ask the millions of Syrian refugees. Or the Texas cattle ranchers. Or the people of Indonesia working to protect their forests.
  • Many more people need to understand what’s happening. There is still way too much confusion and denial out there—the climate debate has been polarized for long enough and we need a much broader awareness of how serious this crisis is.



More information & an opportunity to view the first episode of this remarkable 9 part series can be found here in the Environmental Defense Fund’s website.  You can also watch this video here on Showtime’s official website.  Please tune in to watch this important video.  You can also sign up to host a local viewing party here.

I give this film:

Four Roosters: Very Good

Four Roosters: Very Good

Do you have thoughts on the series, or questions raised by this material?  Please leave your comments below.



“Again, Christianity the last to get it right.”

Leonard Pitts, Jr., in an Op Ed piece written for the Miami Herald, comments that Christianity has failed, time and time again, to come to the forefront on issues of Social Justice.  We’ve dragged our heels, waiting for someone else to take the lead, and, as a result, Christianity has become known as “conservative.”  We may or may not feel that we deserve that label, but see what Mr. Pitts has to say and judge for yourself.  His editorial is well worth the few minutes it takes to read.

Thanks to Julie Pohlman for calling our attention to this most timely editorial.

From FCF: What do you think about the views expressed in this editorial.  Has Christianity really been hijacked by conservatism while we have stood aside passively?  How & how not?  What can we do to influence the popular message of Christianity – impact the message that is delivered to the world at large?


What is your “Wilderness”?

Where it is that you feel “be-wildered”?

Recently, on our pilgrimage to Israel, we encountered the wilderness of Judea…an unfamiliar and, indeed, a barren and unforgiving place. This journey reminded me of a piece I’d written five years ago, on returning from a trip to Haiti.  I’d like to share it with you now.

Reflections on Wilderness and Baptism

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.      Mark 1:4

When we think of “wilderness”, a number of things can come to mind.  It can be a natural place – a deep, dark forest filled with threatening animals, or a barren desert of rock and sand where no living thing is to be found.  It can be a place where humans have never left their mark.  We think of being alone and perhaps frightened, literally bewildered, not knowing what to do.

In the Bible, prophets were often going into the wilderness to be tested.  It was a place where solitude could be found – they could remove themselves from their day to day lives and the comforts and distractions of home.  They could examine those lives, put their priorities in order, and listen for the voice of God.

But “wilderness” is not necessarily a desolate place.  In looking for more definitions, I went to the internet, and my old friend Google.  There I learned that the word the Hebrews used for “wilderness” is midbar, which translates as “that which is beyond”.  It can be beyond anything…beyond civilization, beyond the city, beyond government control…or beyond ones level of comfort.

And John was there in the wilderness calling the people of Judea out, away from their level of comfort, to a place where they could examine their own lives, recognize their sins of omission and commission, and receive his baptism of immersion and repentance.

I feel that our mission in Haiti has been just such a call…out of our comfort level to a new wilderness.  The maze of streets in Port au Prince, where people speak an unfamiliar language and one is surrounded by poverty, can be just as frightening a wilderness as the darkest forest or bleakest desert.   Our baptism in Haiti has been one of immersion — immersion in a totally different culture.  We have been brought face to face with the realities of the lives of the very poor, who are continually hungry yet filled with the Holy Spirit.   We are forced to examine our own lives, how we live them, what we might have done – or might do – differently.  We examine our own sins of omission and commission, and come to an awareness of the role governments – our own and others – have played in perpetuating the plight of the Haitians.  In this way, we have perhaps experienced yet another baptism – one of enlightenment.

Over the years, and guided by a real sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit, our relationships with our friends in CONASPEH and the people of Haiti have grown.

And as we grow and work together, I hope – I pray – that Haiti will continue to become less of a wilderness to us and more a place of comfort.

Pedge Daniels

January 11, 2009


Why Lent has even more meaning to me this year

Lent is a very special time of year, all Christians know. But having recently returned from a trip to the Holy Land, it is even more meaningful to me this year.

I have been reading stories of Jesus’ ministry all my life. But never before have I understood how difficult it must have been for him, physically, to get from place to place to spread the word of God. It wasn’t just the non believers who were working against him, it was the land itself. Yet, he persevered and gave his life to help all mankind.

Our trip to Jerusalem, Jericho, Tiberias and Nazareth, among other places, made this clearer to me this year more than ever before.

Praise be to God.