Thursday, February 21, 2008

live blogging from C3 Creation Care Conference in Orlando

sorry about the typos, this is live without edits...

up at 5:30 AM and picking up friend Warren at 6AM to drive to Orlando for the conference at my favorite megachurch.

As we walked in to register, I ran into Joel Hnter, the pastor of the 10,000+ Northland Church (toured the church facility- woah! they have thought of everything including a natural food cafe and credit card giving stations outside the sanctuary. the art is wonderful. i don't like large church facilities, but this thing is pretty cool). I had interviewed with Northland back in 1998 and kept in touch with a few members of the church over the years. I remember Rev. Hunter with great affection and it was nice to reconnect.

He has taken some flack from the Evangelical Right for his stance on Global Warming but he is a true believer. His church is attempting to become the leading green church in America, even going as far as preparing a Creation Care Internal Audit Report. YES! A church actually gets the fact that they should make their building itself green and think through all of the details.

Right now Tri Robinson, the Pastor of Boise Vineyard is speaking. He has been dealing with enviornmental issues for a long time and has written some well recieved books. His organization Let's tend the Garden is pretty innovative. His reports from Boise and the response to his message in a very Red State has been overwhelmingly positive. Closeted Environmentalists came out of the closet in his church, which I think is common. the members of our churches may be waiting for their leadership to talk about an issue they feel strongly about, yet keep quiet because of their perception of the church response.

He has also noticed non-Adherents have responded to this message in ways nothing he had done in 30 years of ministry. Suddenly he is speaking to environmental groups, on NPR and local college campuses, things he had never done as a pastor. Churches should learn what the world perceives as important and how the church can positively respond.

The coolest thing his church is doing is an organic garden. Over the past year his church and its members have provided 20 tons of organic veggies to the local poor in their community. No longer is organic food for the rich only!

- just got through with a break out session. As usual with conferences 1 breakout time is packed with good seminars. I had to pick the practical discussion of green building design (especially churches) instead of the session with Matthew Sleeth, author of Serve God, Save the Planet. Hard choice. It was exceedingly helpful and a bit dry (but that is okay- building materials are not exciting). I hope to see Matthew later to connect.

-right now Richard Cizik from the National Association of Evangelicals, a leading voice on "Creation Care" and global warming is up. I will check in later. Excellent talk with too much to report on. He does compare the environmental crisis and the church's lack of response in the area to slavery and the civil rights eras. We need to step up like Daniel did to King Darius. He makes some interesting Biblical arguments I may share later.

-for lunch I ate with Matthew Sleeth and Scott Sabin of Foresta. We talked about the initiative I am starting. There was lots of good energy. After lunch I spent a few minutes with Richard Cizik. He is a funny guy and lacks any of the pretense or arrogance of your typical lobbyist (esp. the Religious ones).

-Peter Illyn of Restoring Eden is what the church needs. His talk was refreshing and sounded pretty radical for your typical churched Evangelical. Presently I am listening to a Catholic Bishop ("the poor contribute the least to the problem, but will pay the biggest price for our environmental destruction"). I will head to a session with the guys from Floresta on Creation Care and the Poor, followed by a talk by the grandfather of the Christian Environmental movement, Calvin DeWitt.

I am hoping to get a few minutes with a couple of the guys from the Evangelical Environmental Network and tell the pastor of the host church a little more about the initiative I am heading up.

Almost done- I was able to connect with Ray Pritchard of the EEN. We had a good talk about Atlanta, Emergent Cohorts and living in the city. Right now I am enjoying Calvin DeWitt and will try to connect with a couple of more people before leaving. But, I am done here for today.


kristi said...

how cool to be able to read what you are listening to and thinking about while you are gone...wish i was there. rhys is teething badly and just threw up on the floor. :)

Anonymous said...

Rick, I am really enjoying your blog and hope to learn more about your new project. I have a book to share with you, The Cathedral Within. If you are interested, I'll drop it in the mail (if you'll send me your snail mail address).. Mimi Reid

Jason Evans said...

I'm stoked you connected with the Floresta people. Good folks.


DJ Word said...


email me ( and I will send you my snail mail address via email. Don't want those internet stalkers coming to my house:)

I saw the book online and it looks very interesting.

thanks for thinking of me.


kermitjohnson said...

I see that you are a Wendell Berry fan, so I am thinking that this might be the perfect place to share this...

I am wondering if you are aware of any "green" home builders who serious about building cob homes on a commercial scale.

As a Minneapolis real estate agent, I am interested in "green" home construction techniques.

I have written a post about a "green" home building material that is as eco-friendly as you can get. It seems far-fetched to us, but is very common in most parts of the world.

Would you mind sharing it with your readers? I am curious to see if this is something that could ever become a reality in our industry.

Thank you

Keep up the good work.