Books, BigDogs and Wetlands

By , 28 March 2008 7:01 pm

This has been a particularly cold Easter in the UK and even down here in Swansea we have had flurries of hail and chill winds. I’ve been busy despite being on holiday, but some sun would have been nice.

Two items of news first. First, Tyndale have kindly let me post the typeset first chapter of the Infinite Day so if you want to read it try this link. Whether it is related or not but the pre-orders for the book are looking quite nice on Amazon. Secondly, I came across some fascinating video of a large mechanical/robotic dog (the BigDog project) on the web this week, an impressive feat of engineering and electronics. It’s some way away from my Krallen but not that far. I note that they are talking about these things carrying ammunition on their backs to the battlefield. That’ll be the first generation; the second generation will use the ammunition; the third won’t need it.

What else is news? Well, we have an joint churches initiative in the UK this year called Hope 08 and I have been getting involved with the environmental project side of this in Swansea. The planning is that on the May Bank holiday we will gather as many volunteers as we can from our churches and go down and try and tidy up a very unloved cycle path and sports ground next to a rather fine wetland. It’s in an area of Swansea that is distinctly post industrial and some of the rubbish/trash is dreadful. I thought this would be cue to put in a couple of photographs; so let’s see whether this works.

I don’t talk as much about the environment on this blog as I ought to as it is something that I am very interested in. There is a new book by the head of A Rocha, Peter Harris, called Kingfisher’s Fire: A Story of Hope for God’s Earth which I intend reading when I get the time. It updates the history of A Rocha and gives a lot of thought to the basic of Christian environmental involvement. It includes a chapter on the Lebanon project that I was involved in starting up. Peter gives a not entirely flattering picture of me but, hey, I guess he has to be honest.

Anyway there is a major role to be had by Evangelicals in environment for all sorts of reasons, some of which I may develop in other blogs. It is often assumed that it’s New Agers who dominate the environmental world. Actually, I think that is an utter misrepresentation. In my experience, New Agers love the countryside and nature and have a deep sense of its mystery and beauty but they do not have the doctrine of incarnation or a model of servanthood that Christians have. The problem is that an awful lot of environmental work is actually not very mystical or spiritually uplifting; for example, we are going to be doing a lot of picking up of plastic, scrap metal and worse. Anyway it needs doing and it will be a great witness for the evangelical churches in this town if we can get a couple of hundred people out to help tidy things up. Mind you, a pack of those BigDogs with panniers wouldn’t go amiss.

Every blessing.

3 Responses to “Books, BigDogs and Wetlands”

  1. Catherine Brislee says:

    Just think! If this new invention takes off, a couple of years from now you could be picking up bits of robotic dogs from Swansea cycle paths! Won’t that be fun! (Not)

    OK I sort of like the dogs, but nobody could call them beautiful. What is wrong with the human race that we produce so much ugly technology which leaves behind such spectacularly horrible remains? After all, most of us are capable of appreciating beauty. Ugliness seems an odd by-product of a fallen world to me.

    By the way, great first chapter!

    Best wishes,


  2. Terry says:


    I like what you say about environmental work not being all that mystical or magical. It’s more like cleaning up the house after the big birthday party – basically just work.

    There are few endeavors worth anything that aren’t achieved largely by formulating a plan, putting it into action, and sticking it out. It’s the old story of the bones – the jawbones talk about it, the wishbones hope someone will do something, the knucklebones charge in, crash around, and just make things worse, and the backbones quietly get the thing done. This little saying has kept me on track more than once.

    It doesn’t take a very hard look to find a way to help the environment. I think it’s an excellent idea to get the churches together to clean up the wetlands. Not as glamorous as some projects, but then again, we’re not in this for the glamor, are we?

    Take care,


  3. Terry says:


    I just read the first chapter of TID, and love it! I’d worked out several general plot lines for the book (a low-key hobby of mine), but Nezhuala teleporting around the galaxy was not in any of them. I’m looking forward to being wrong on a lot of other stuff as well!

    Thanks for putting in the effort to make it fresh.

    Take care,


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