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In praising squirrels, and their relocation

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My husband said to me, “Don’t worry, Donna, it is a good trap.” 

The trap was in the back of the car, holding the fifth black squirrel we had captured this winter. The squirrel population in New York City has had a rough winter and brought their trouble straight to my small garden.

I know, people shouldn’t have gardens in New York City. Blame my parsonage. Moreover, people shouldn’t have squirrels digging out and eating all their perennials. Thus, we had to take emergency measures. 

Air pollution 'kiss of death' for 7 million in 2012

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“Then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust of the ground, and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Gen. 2:7)

Since the beginning of time, the air we breathe is given to us as a free and ever-present gift from God. Unlike food and water, which is often too scarce for the poorest of the poor, no one can horde, process, package or sell oxygen. Unfortunately, due to humanity’s carelessness, the breath of life is now the kiss of death for seven million people a year.

Death, resurrection and tree trimming

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Winter may be -- slowly -- melting away, but it remains on my mind.

That’s partially because of Mert, the hero of Mert, the Anxious Evergreen, a children’s Christmas story written and illustrated by Claire Bowman. I wrote about the book in December, yet I can’t forget it because of its dual-season appeal. Beyond Christmas, Mert’s story has strong Lenten and resurrection underpinnings, too. 

A recap of Mert’s story:

Keystone XL opponents express climate, spill concerns as commenting period ends

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The U.S. State Department will begin this week tapping into the deluge of feedback that has poured in during its final public comment period regarding the construction of the northern segment of the Keystone XL transnational pipeline.

The controversial project, if approved by President Barack Obama within the next few months, would stretch nearly 1,700 miles and transport more than 800,000 barrels of oil per day from the Canadian tar sands in Alberta through six states en route to Gulf refineries in Texas. 

Ashes to ashes, stardust to stardust

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If you want a spiritual practice, look outside Lent. And not just on Sundays, and please, don’t light a candle. Also ask the donor of your ashes to mark you not just as ashes to ashes, dust to dust, but ashes to ashes, stardust to stardust.

You are going somewhere. You are about to become a star. Carl Sagan’s Cosmos lit us up by reminding us that everybody who ever was is already up there overhead, blinking. Spiritual practice is becoming a star, every day, and not just in Lent.

Black clergy seek to bridge ‘green’ gap

At Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, members and neighbors buy fruits and vegetables from a black farmers market and work in an organic garden named after botanist George Washington Carver.

They recycle their church bulletins, plan to renovate their building with a “green” roof and have purchased 27 acres for a community project that will include an urban farm.

“By any greens necessary,” the Rev. Otis Moss III, the church’s pastor, likes to say.

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October 24-November 6, 2014

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