Monthly Archives: November 2008

Was Jesus an Environmentalist?

My sister teaches in a Catholic School, and recently she facilitated an activity with her students where they had to list all the things that describe Jesus. One of the students said that Jesus was an environmentalist. Huh! Both her and I had never thought of him like that. It got us both to thinking about this concept, and has sent me searching for more examples both pro and con. Here is my list so far:

1. Pro – Loaves & Fishes. This is the story where Jesus feeds 5,000 people with five loaves and two fishes, which is a feat that would make even the Frugal Chef jealous. He not only knew how to feed many people with a few resources, but he also collected 12 baskets of leftovers afterward. Now I ask you, is this not the epitome of resourceful food management?

2. Con – The Fig Tree. “Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, ‘May you never bear fruit again!’ Immediately the tree withered.” Mathew 21: 18-22. He killed a tree because it did not have signs of fruit production that he could eat. Environmentalist? I don’t think so. I have to wonder if maybe Mathew just missed a crucial point to this story. Maybe the tree had a disease, like elm disease, which would infect all the fig trees in the area if it did not get cut down. Maybe he just transplanted it to a nearby orchard where it would somehow produce more fruit. Are my theories outlandish? Well, yea. But hey, this is my blog. 🙂

3. Con- In all honesty, if you look through the bible stories you will see ample examples where he talks about the afterlife or the importance of loving one another and treating everyone with respect. He talks a lot about fighting hypocrisy. He talks about loving God, loving yourself, loving your neighbor and saying no to any temptation that would affect your relationship with either God, yourself, or your fellow man. I’m not sure Jesus was so concerned about the earth. I think he viewed it as a temporary place, kind of like we are renting but not owning.

Conclusion: After doing some basic research on the subject, I’d have to say that I’m not sure Jesus was an environmentalist. I will tell you one thing though, Jesus was definitely a liberal.

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Portland Museum vs. Tulsa Museums

Today I took the opportunity to enjoy some of the Oregon sunshine and rode my bike downtown to the Portland Art Museum, http://www.portlandartmuseum.org/ . Before I begin my reaction to the museum, I would like to point out to all the Portlanders who are reading this post that I do love Portland and have written many posts about all the great things this city has to offer, but I am sorry to say that I was not impressed with the Portland Art Museum. To be fair, it was mostly modern art, and that is not my favorite form of artistic expression. It is possible that many modern art enthusiasts would love this museum. To me it just seemed all too new, and I have never been a fan of things that are just too new. I like art that shows a bit of age and really delves into the human condition or the landscapes of the earth. Art that tells stories of human emotions and history. My favorite art always includes people in some way. A true artist can show so much about a person in the painting just by the way he/she paints the eyes or even the shading in the picture.

I have spent a fair amount of time in museums. This isn’t bragging, it is just saying that I have an idea of what I like in art. I was totally spoiled by the Philbrook, http://www.philbrook.org/, and Gilcrease museum, http://www.gilcrease.org/, in Tulsa. I spent a lot of time in Philbrook studying the paintings and sculptures and walking through the beautifully landscaped gardens. The structure itself was built by Waite Phillips as his home back in the early 1930’s. He was a very wealthy oilman (Phillips 66), and he and his wife brought a European elegance to their home from their travels abroad. Just the fireplace screens are incredible. He was also a collector of art and donated his house, art, and grounds to Tulsa as an art museum. It is listed in the top 50 museums of the United States, and it is in the top five for the combination of art, home, and gardens.

The Gilcrease Museum is a more modern structure which focuses on Native American Art and the West. It has some beautiful paintings by Thomas Moran, http://www.nga.gov/feature/moran/index.shtm. It also has a great collection of Latin American art. Thomas Gilcrease was an oilman who collected art and eventually donated his residence and art to Tulsa for a museum. It is an awe inspiring museum.

Once, I was fortunate enough to see an exhibit of Etruscian art. I had to drive a little ways for it, but it was totally worth it.

I will definitely miss the Festival of Trees put on by the Philbrook Museum every year. Local artists submit different interpretations of Christmas trees and ginger bread houses to the museum for display and auction. All of the proceeds go to fund the museum. The interpretations, based on a different theme each year, are truly remarkable.

Portland definitely has a lot of great things to offer it’s residents, but art museums are not on the top of the list. Either that or I have just been spoiled by the art museums of Tulsa that are the legacy of a couple of very generous oilmen.

One can list many ways that Tulsa is lacking, but culture is definitely not one of them. For a city it’s size, it has incredible museums, opera (http://www.tulsaopera.com/), ballet (http://www.tulsaballet.org/), and a very active performing arts center (http://www.tulsapac.com/). It has very active and established social groups whose missions are to promote the arts in Tulsa. All of these are products of Tulsa’s Golden Era when it was the “Oil Capital of the World.” All one has to do is pick up a Tulsa People, http://www.tulsapeople-digital.com/tulsapeople/200811/?u1=texterity, and see all of the party pictures from fundraisers and all sorts of balls. This months addition does not have those pages because October is the annual blackout period for events so that the United Way can get a great start on it’s yearly fundraising goal.

Portland is a wonderful city; Tulsa is a wonderful city. This post just goes to prove what I have said all along, it is difficult to compare the two cities. It is definitely like comparing apples and oranges.

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Libraries

I biked over to my neighborhood library today and it was packed full of people. They were not there just to sit on the computers, but they were also browsing the shelves and sitting on any available chair or ledge and reading. Yes, they were actually reading. From what I understand, Portland is definitely a reading type of city. I ended up biking home in the rain, but I had a smile on my face because I had Changing Tides by Michael Thomas Ford, http://www.curledup.com/chantide.htm , stashed in a waterproof bag. I know what I’m doing tonight as my boyfriend plays Fallout 3, http://fallout.bethsoft.com/eng/home/home.php?fbid=y44A019Gpxt.

On a recent exersion downtown, I explored the central library, http://www.multcolib.org/agcy/cen.html . The sheer beauty of this building is inspiring. It was so full of architecture and marble that several parts of it reminded me of the Oklahoma State Capitol. I wish I could say more, but I think you have to see it to believe that a library could be this beautiful. It also has an eco- roof, a room just for writers, and a whole wing dedicated to arts and music which features several rows of sheet music. The best thing of all is that it was very, very, very busy. Once again, people were sitting wherever they could and even on the floors in order to read books. The checkout desks had non-stop traffic.

All of this activity around the library really made me stop to reflect on what a service a library does for the community. It gives everyone, regardless of socio-economic level or culture, equal access to knowledge; education; and entertainment. Another interesting point is that all types of people use the library regardless of socio-economic level or culture. It is also a living example of recycling.

I’m back home now in the upstairs office looking out over the rooftops at the cloudy, dark sky. I feel warm and cozy up here with my mug of apple cider. Maybe I’ll grab a blanket from the bed and start reading my library book.

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Walking path around Multnomah Falls

This is the four foot wide path that leads to the top of Multnomah Falls. I felt like a hobbit as I hiked the mountainside.

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Multnomah Falls 2


Multnomah Falls 2
Originally uploaded by myredtie

I swear I saw a mermaid swimming at the bottom of the falls. 🙂

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On the historic Columbia River Highway heading to Multnomah Falls

The historic Columbia River Highway is incredible. It has twists and turns and views everywhere. It has old concrete bridges with moss growing over them, and side white fences that give a quaint feel to the road.

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Columbia River Gorge

This it the Columbia River Gorge. It is literally minutes from Portland, and it makes me feel like I am inside a giant Thomas Moran painting.

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