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ISSUE No. 35 | JULY 2O23


ISSUE No. 35 | July 2023


If you’re new to CULTIVARE we welcome you!  CULTIVARE is a monthly field guide for life and faith, brought to you by TEND.  Each month we explore a specific “field” – a topic or theme through which we seek to cultivate contemplation, engagement, and deeper understanding. Our guiding questions are:

What are you cultivating in your life?

What fruit do you want your life to bear?

Each issue of CULTIVARE is structured into three parts:

Cultivate:  Examines a specific “Field” or facet of life and offers questions to unearth and challenge our held perspective; along with concise kernels of truth which we call “Seeds.”


Irrigate:  Explores the ways we nurture our understanding, which varies from individual to individual. We offer six means of irrigation:  Art, Poetry, Profile, Film, Essay, and Books.


Germinate: Encourages practical ways to engage in becoming more fruitful and free in our lives.  

Our name, CULTIVARE, in Spanish means “I will cultivate.” We hope each issue of our field guide will encourage you to do just that – cultivate new thoughts, actions, faith, hope, and fruitful living.  We invite you to dig in and DIG DEEP!



For we are partners working together for God, and you are God's field.

(I Corinthians 3:9)

Our theme this month is CREATION CARE.  As we head into the middle of the summer months, a season when we venture out more often and more freely into creation, we want to spotlight this issue of great importance – ecologically, sociologically, and theologically.  Scripture reminds us that: The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. (Psalm 24:1).  As Billy Graham once noted: “When we fail to see the world as God’s creation, we will end up abusing it. Selfishness and greed take over, and we end up not caring about the environment or the problems we’re creating for future generations.”


Caring for creation is an integral part of loving God, loving our neighbor, and loving all of God’s world.  To some Christians, “creation care” may sound like we value the planet more than people.  But caring for the planet really is caring for people. The effects of environmental deterioration on human health are devastating. Too often in our past actions and in our present behaviors, we have lost sight of the interconnected nature of God’s creation and have compartmentalized our thinking and our actions.  Consequently, biodiversity loss and climate change have become two of the defining and interwoven challenges of our time. 


In this issue you will encounter seven environmental artists who have been creatively fighting for ecological action and change.  You will meet a twentieth century saint who gave his life through his advocacy and protection of the Amazon rainforest.  We introduce you to a book published last year that helps believers engage in Christian spirituality and practices in order to adapt and prepare for life on a climate-altered planet. And for those unfamiliar with it, we introduce you to A Rocha, an organization that helps individuals and groups actively engage in the care of creation. 


As a follower of Jesus, I care for creation because I follow the Creator.  What might the Creator be inviting you to consider as you make daily choices, engage with nature, and consider how your present actions impact future generations? How do you view creation?  How does your view of creation translate into actions related to caring for creation?  We hope this issue will not only deepen your appreciation for creation but also spur new thinking and mindful action that helps care for God’s beautiful and cherished creation. (DG)



But the land that you are going over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water by the rain from heaven, a land that the LORD your God cares for. The eyes of the LORD your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.  

(Deuteronomy 11:11-12 ESV)


For every wild animal of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. 

I know all the birds of the air, and all that moves in the field is mine. (Psalms 50:10-11 NRSV). 


The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth… all things have been created through him 

and for him. (Colossians 1:15-16 NIV).


I brought you to a garden land where you could eat lush fruit. But you barged in and 

polluted my land, trashed and defiled my dear land. (Jeremiah 2:7 MSG)



A handful of quotes to contemplate and cultivate into your life


At its core, creation care is about loving our global neighbor, because the poor suffer the most from the degradation of the earth. (Shane Claiborne)


If you keep the Sabbath, you start to see creation not as somewhere to get away from your ordinary life, but a place to frame an attentiveness to your life. (Eugene Peterson)


When I look at the galaxies on a clear night - when I look at the incredible brilliance of creation, and think that this is what God is like, then instead of feeling intimidated and diminished by it, I am enlarged . . . I rejoice that I am a part of it. (Madeleine L’Engle)

The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it. (Robert Swan)

Look after the land and the land will look after you, destroy the land and it will destroy you. (Aboriginal Proverb)


The Earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations.

(John Paul II)

The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard. (Gaylord Nelson)

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed.

(Mahatma Gandhi) 


We must change our lives, so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and to learn what is good for it. We must learn to cooperate in its processes, and to yield to its limits. But even more important, we must learn to acknowledge that the creation is full of mystery; we will never entirely understand it. We must abandon arrogance and stand in awe. We must recover the sense of the majesty of creation, and the ability to be worshipful in its presence. For I do not doubt that it is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it.  (Wendell Berry)




Artist of the Month

Seven Environmental Artists Fighting for Change

Environmental artists have been praised not only for great works they create, but also for raising awareness about environmental problems our planet faces. Environmental Art is a very broad term, including a number of different practices and movements. Land art, Earth art, Sustainable art, Conceptual Art – are only a few movements that can be described as environmental art as well. The result is that environmental artists use a very wide range of media, techniques and styles. Even Claude Monet is often described as an environmentalist for his famous paintings where the creators explored humans’ relation to nature (London Series paintings, for example).  In this 2016 article from Widewalls magazine, author Lorenzo Pereira spotlights seven Environmental artists who have left their impact.  Read the
article below:


View Now

Agnes Denes, Wheatfield in Manhattan, 1982




The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Wendell Berry

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,

vacation with pay. Want more

of everything ready-made. Be afraid

to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.

Not even your future will be a mystery

any more. Your mind will be punched in a card

and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something

they will call you. When they want you

to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something

that won’t compute. Love the Lord.

Love the world. Work for nothing.

Take all that you have and be poor.

Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace

the flag. Hope to live in that free

republic for which it stands.

Give your approval to all you cannot

understand. Praise ignorance, for what man

has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.

Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.

Say that your main crop is the forest

that you did not plant,

that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested

when they have rotted into the mold.

Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus

that will build under the trees

every thousand years.

Listen to carrion — put your ear

close, and hear the faint chattering

of the songs that are to come.

Expect the end of the world. Laugh.

Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful

though you have considered all the facts.

So long as women do not go cheap

for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy

a woman satisfied to bear a child?


Will this disturb the sleep

of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.

Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head

in her lap. Swear allegiance

to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos

can predict the motions of your mind,

lose it. Leave it as a sign

to mark the false trail, the way

you didn’t go. Be like the fox

who makes more tracks than necessary,

some in the wrong direction.

Practice resurrection.



Chico Mendes

Chico Mendes, who was assassinated in 1988, was the leader of a movement linking the defense of the Amazon region with justice for the poor who lived there.  Living in the state of Acre in the Amazonian region of Northwest Brazil, he organized a union of the region’s rubber tappers and other poor families who earned their meager living by extracting the renewable resources of the rainforest.  Mendes was himself the son of tappers who arrived in the Amazon to take advantage of the rubber boom between the World Wars.  In more recent years the fate of such workers was threatened by big landowners and ranchers who preferred to burn and clear the forests to make way for cattle.


Mendes began organizing the rubber workers in 1977.  At first his aim was simply to protect their rights and livelihood, but he gradually expanded his concerns to encompass a wider ecological vision.  The burning of the forest contributed to the “greenhouse effect.”  It ruined the land and ultimately threatened the survival of the whole planet.  Thus, he made the connection between the “cry of the poor” and the “cry of the Earth.”


The land owners resorted to threats and brutal violence to break the will of the union.  But, the nonviolent tactics of Mendes and his supporters began to attract international support.  Mendes himself was reportedly threatened with death.  According to his wife, Ilza, “Sometimes I’d say to Chico, ‘Chico, they’re going to kill you! Why don’t you take care of yourself and go away?’ But Chico wasn’t afraid of death.  He told me that he would never stop defending the Amazon forest – never!”


In 1987 Mendes was awarded the United Nations’ Global 500 Award for Environmental Protection.  He was called “the Gandhi of the Amazon.”  Soon after this, the government of Brazil granted reserve status to four areas of the rainforest.  This was not enough to protect the life of Chico Mendes, however.  On December 22, 1988, he was shot and killed by a rancher and his son.


His widow observed, “Chico had a lot of faith.  When he died, I was filled with despair.  But God comforted me and inspired me to work alongside others to carry on Chico’s work.  They killed him, but they didn’t kill his ideals or crush the struggle.”*


For more info on Chico Mendes:


1.   BBC Short Video:  View Now


2.   Forest News article:  View Now


3.   Infinite Fire video:    View Now

*Excerpted from All Saints by Robert Ellsberg (2009), p. 558.



Each month we recommend films focused on our theme

Feature Film

WALL-E (2008)

A high-water mark of digital animation, this prescient vision of a dystopian future is packaged within a dazzling pop-science-fiction love story, making for an urgent fable for our troubled millennium. It’s the twenty-ninth century, and humans have long since fled Earth for outer space, leaving WALL•E, the last functioning trash-compacting robot, to go about the work of cleaning up a pollution-choked planet, one piece of garbage at a time. When he meets EVE, a fellow automaton sent to detect plant life, the pair are launched on an intergalactic quest to return humanity to Earth. Transporting us simultaneously back to cinema’s silent origins and light-years into the future, WALL•E is a soaring ode to the power of love and art to heal a dying world. Winner of the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.  Available on various streaming services.

Documentary Film

Kiss the Ground (2020)

Narrated by Woody Harrelson, this documentary sheds light on a “new, old approach” to farming called regenerative agriculture, which has the extraordinary ability to balance our climate and feed the world. It focuses on improving soil health by moving carbon from the atmosphere back into soils using practices that work in alignment with natural systems. Available on various streaming services.

Short Film

His Epic Message Will Make You Want to Save the World

(11 minutes)

As the human population continues to grow, so does our impact on the environment. In fact, recent research has shown that three-quarters of Earth’s land surface is under pressure from human activity. In this short film, spoken word artist Prince Ea makes a powerful case for protecting the planet and challenges the human race to create a sustainable future. Winner of the Film4Climate competition organized by the Connect4Climate Program of the World Bank (

View Now



TED Talk 

Let’s Make The World Wild Again

(16 Minutes)

Earth, humanity and nature are inextricably interconnected. To restore us all back to health, we need to "rewild" the world, says environmental activist Kristine Tompkins. Tracing her life from Patagonia CEO to passionate conservationist, she shares how she has helped to establish national parks across millions of acres of land (and sea) in South America -- and discusses the critical role we all must play to heal the planet. "We have a common destiny," she says. "We can flourish or we can suffer, but we're going to be doing it together."

View Now



Emily Dickinson, Rachel Carson, and the New Creation
By Mako Fujimura

I am not afraid of being thought a sentimentalist when I stand here tonight and tell you that I believe natural beauty has a necessary place in the spiritual development of any individual or any society.  I believe that whenever we destroy beauty, or whenever we substitute something man-made and artificial for a natural feature of the earth, we have retarded some part of man’s spiritual growth. (Rachel Carson)


In this beautiful article by artist Make Fujimura, he writes: “Stewardship of creation needs to be led by poets, writers, musicians, dancers, directors, artists and architects. They are the catalysts for this “spiritual growth” into the New. We live in a day and age in which preachers no longer speak of the New; they speak of fixing the world, or they speak of the apocalyptic End instead of the New. When industries no longer can define us or our work, or can no longer define our communities, and when the luminaries of our time believe in this Singularity that would reduce us to machines. When we ignore the pauses, the silences in between; when we can segment our data to reproduce human speech; when we ignore the prosaic in our complexity of our beings, reductivism will always short-change us to be less than our full potential, or far worse.”

Read the entire article here: View Now




Each month we recommend a book (or two) focused on our theme

Refugia Faith:

Seeking Hidden Shelters, Ordinary Wonders, and the Healing of the Earth

By Debra Rienstra

Refugia Faith explores how Christian spirituality and practice must adapt to prepare for life on a climate-altered planet. Refugia (reh-FU-jee-ah) is a biological term describing places of shelter where life endures in times of crisis, such as a volcanic eruption, fire, or stressed climate. Ideally, these refugia endure, expand, and connect so that new life emerges.

Debra Rienstra applies this concept to human culture and faith, asking: In this era of ecological devastation, how can Christians become people of refugia? How can we find and nurture these refugia, not only in the biomes of the earth, but in our human cultural systems and in our spiritual lives? How can we apply all our love and creativity to this task as never before?

View Now


The Overstory

By Richard Powers


A great truth comes over him: Trees fall with spectacular crashes. 

But planting is silent and growth is invisible.

The Overstory, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of―and paean to―the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers’ twelfth novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours―vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us.

View Now




Childrens Book

What a Waste

By Jess French


In this informative book on recycling for children, you will find everything you need to know about our environment. The good, the bad and the incredibly innovative. From pollution and litter to renewable energy and plastic recycling.

View Now



Practical suggestions to help you go deeper into our theme


Devote some time and thought to these reflective questions on our theme:

a.  What do you find amazing about creation/nature?

b.  How would you describe humanity’s perception of God’s creation today?

c.  How is that perception affecting our world?

d.  Would you say your perception is similar or different from most?

e.  Do your choices and habits support that answer? If not, what do you think is the gap between how you want to steward creation and how you actually live? 


2.    A ROCHA   

A Rocha is a worldwide network of Christian organizations living out God's call to care for creation and equipping others to do likewise. In the US, A Rocha has hands-on conservation projects in Central Texas and on the Indian River Lagoon in Florida, with developing projects and partners in other locations. On a national level, they connect and equip Christians and churches to care for creation through their Love Your Place program, Climate Stewards USA, and a wide range of church resources (including the popular Wild Wonder VBS curriculum). To get involved visit their website: View Now



In this evocative article from BioLogos, we are reminded that: “As bearers of God’s image, all people have the responsibility and privilege of caring for God’s creation. Christians, in particular, should be motivated by Scripture. We ought to love and care for the Earth because it is God’s very good creation, and because we must care for the most vulnerable people on the planet. But we have not done this well. Our day-to-day choices and attitudes are often driven by our culture and lifestyle preferences, not the Bible. The science is clear: because of human activity, we see effects like species extinction and climate change. Lament and repentance are appropriate, but as followers of Jesus we must not despair. We can choose to move forward with “rational hope,” accepting the enormity of the problems we face while taking action with the hope of the Gospel in view.”

View Now


4.     THIS IS MY FATHER’S WORLD – Music Video

This is My Father's World is a popular Christian hymn penned by Maltbie Davenport Babcock, a minister from New York, which was published following his death in 1901. The title originated from what Babcock would tell his wife before going on walks in upstate New York, that he was "going out to see the Father's world." 

View Now


5.    PRAYER - “A Prayer for our Earth” from Laudato Si’ by Pope Francis

All-powerful God, You are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.   AMEN

dig deeper


But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,

whose confidence is in him.

They will be like a tree planted by the water

that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes;

its leaves are always green.

It has no worries in a year of drought

and never fails to bear fruit.

(Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV)


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(a 501c3 ministry) for CULTIVARE are tax-deductible.  

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Images used in order of appearance:

1.   FIELD:  Sylvain Cordier, Monarch Butterflies, Minden Picture


2.  SEEDS:   Daniel Vincek, Honey Bee, Dreamstime, National Geographic


3.  ART:   Nils-Udo, The Nest, Earth, Germany, 1978


4.  POETRY:  James P. Blair, Tropical Rain Forest, Borneo, National Geographic


5.   PROFILE:   Chico Mendes in 1988, Wikipedia


6.   FILM:  Jordy Meow, Mototaki Falls, Japan, National Geographic


7.   ESSAY:  Michael Melford, New Zealand, New Zealand and Australia Travel Guide, Nat. Geo Image Collection


8.   BOOKS:  Medford Taylor, Simpson Desert, Australia, National Geographic


9.   DIG DEEPER:  Brian J. Skerry, Orcas (Killer Whales), Nat. Geo Image Collection


10.   ROOTED:  Christin Healey, Segla, Norway, @christinhealey

TEAM CULTIVARE: Duane Grobman (Editor), Elizabeth Bolsinger, Amy Drennan, Greg Ehlert, Bonnie Fearer, Ben Hunter, Eugene Kim, Nick Kinnier, Andrew Massey, Rita McIntosh,  Heather Shackelford, Jason Pearson (Design:



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and suggestions for future issues.

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