I didn't grow up in the church, so there's no built-up habit in me to give up something for Lent. I certainly don't begrudge others of this practice, and would even like to see more of us practice temporary abstinence of otherwise neutral things - at all times of the year, not just Lent - in the spirit of drawing nearer to God. So no, there's nothing in particular I'll be giving up for the next forty days.

But something I'd like to be mindful to minimize indefinitely is my carbon footprint. And in fact, Governing Magazine's blog links to the Church of England's call to go green this Lent season: "Lent Goes Green?" Using less plastic bags and insulating better around the house are certainly habits I'd want more people of all faiths to get behind; I'd also add leaving the car at home and doing more errands on foot.

After all, the post ends noting that climate change has become a huge issue at the local government level and wonders if churches will also take up the mantle from a spiritual standpoint. Would that we did just that.



If you live in New Hampshire, you need to vote for this guy, not just because of his position on energy but also because of his willingness to do the politically unpopular but environmentally necessary thing. Note that part of the gas tax would get rebated back to working families; my approach would be to give rebates to all wage earners (i.e. the gas tax partially substitutes for the income tax) but to redistribute in a way that working families get more, proportionate to their income. As profiled on Greg Mankiw's blog.

During this past weekend's sermon, the preacher lamented a well-respected high school ministry's recent approach to target the gospel to the most popular people in schools under the assumption that if the jock and cheerleader became Christians, so would everyone. I couldn't help but make a mental connection to a recent Fast Company article that suggested an alternative to Gladwell's argument in The Tipping Point that the way to propagate an idea is to get the trend-setters to buy into it: "Is the Tipping Point Toast?"

Duncan Watts, whose book Six Degrees I read a few years back, suggests that there's no such thing as trend-setters, but that ideas and movements catch fire seemingly at random. Run a social network simulation a thousand times, and you'll get a different group of trend-carriers each time.

And so it is with the gospel. The goal of evangelism, as Guy Kawasaki points out in a secular sense but which is true in the strictest Biblical sense, is to sow the seed widely, and give God room to let grow what He wills to let grow. It may seem random to us, but there is a master plan - and a Master Planner - behind it all.