Monday, 28 April 2008

Kingdom Patriotism (and other side news)

It is as though Jesus is Lord of the Spirit but Uncle Sam is Lord of the Flesh.

Mark Van Steenwyk at wrote a post titled Onward Christian Soldiers yesterday that is absolutely fantastic. Aside from a couple of typos, his post eloquently describes and addresses what I have also experienced when discussing pacifism with those who consider my leanings unpatriotic and "disrespectful to those who fought in wars for the freedoms I enjoy". I mean no disrespect to those who gave their lives fighting for our country. I simply believe there is another better way - the way Jesus calls us to live. As Van Steenwyk writes: "Unless we are ready to die developing new nonviolent attempts to reduce conflict, we should confess that we never really meant that the cross was an alternative to the sword . . ." I desire to be as bold as Mark is in actively taking steps toward peace through pacifism. Please read the full article for the full effect.

On a completely different note, I spent two days in Georgia this week celebrating Grenzebach Corporation's 20th anniversary of business in the United States. We had lots of great food (German and Southern), drank thousands of dollars worth of German and American beers and wines, heard many politicians speak (including Governor Purdue, of Georgia ... woopee), and listened to the company band (flown over from Germany for our entertainment). Aside from missing my 6:00 AM flight out of Eugene Wednesday morning, the trip was relatively enjoyable though exhausting.

Also, congratulations to Josh Bailey who graduated from George Fox University (and got a girlfriend *winks*) on Saturday. It was great to see you, Josh.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

The UN on Agriculture, Biofuels, and Rising Food Prices

This BBC News article came out this morning, and I thought it very fitting with the topic I've been discussing here in recent weeks.

"The UN body describes the need for action as urgent, warning that staple food prices are likely to continue to rise because of increased demand from countries like China and India, and the alternative use of maize and soya beans for biofuels."

What was I writing about yesterday? We need to continue exploring biofuel options other than those that consume staple foods, so as not to adversely effect those who already struggle to feed their families.

Monday, 14 April 2008

A follow up

It has taken me far too long to follow up on my last post. Thank you Amber for nudging me back into the world of the blogging.

The day after I posted I discussed the issue with my father the agriculturalist, educator, and small-scale biofuel producer and came to some not-so-surprising (but interesting nonetheless) conclusions which I will share with you.

- It is not "greedy" of the United States (or the rest of the so-called 1st world) to use corn and other grain crops to produce biofuels. Granted, we may not have considered the unwitting side effects that would be detrimental to the poor of our world. However, I do not consider it "greedy" for us to produce a fuel that is better for our environment and actually costs those who use it more than regular petrol.

- Semantics aside, according to my very knowledgeable father, it is not possible for the globe to produce sufficient crops to feed the world AND provide biofuels (from edible agricultural crops) to the entire world. Obviously our usage of grain crops to produce biofuels does effect the amount of food available to the rest of the world. Thankfully there are other options for producing biofuels. For example, scientists and agriculturalists are currently experimenting with algae for eco-friendly fuels - a very sustainable option which would hopefully not be as detrimental to the poor and starving in the world. There are several other agricultural-esk options currently in the works, but I can't remember the specifics of them all. The important point here is that we can move away from using edible crops for fuel production, and toward capturing what would otherwise be waste and turning it into a solution for our fuel-thirsty nation.

- The production of biofuels is certainly not the only, or even the main, reason for food price increases. The cost of fuel in general has risen considerably in recent years, making the transportation of food more costly. Farmers did not have as high of yields as expected worldwide - some areas of the agricultural world were hit hard by drought, others by severe storms. This drove yields quite low. These reasons and others have caused the soaring food prices that hit the poorest of the poor the hardest.

Any further thoughts on this topic from all you other knowledgeable and thoughtful people in my loyal blog readership?!