Love God. Love Your Neighbor. Change the World.

There are two stories of creation in the book of Genesis. In the first, God creates the earth and all the creatures who inhabit the earth, THEN God creates a human, translated from the Hebrew as “earth creature.” In the second account, after God has created the light, water, and earth, God creates the “earth creature,” THEN creates the animals as companions for this creature. Both accounts are clear: humankind and the earth are meant to be in harmony with one another and in harmony with the Creator.

At Church of the Nativity we believe that our faith in Jesus, our reverence for the earth, and our service to others are deeply woven together in our life of faith. We seek a connection to God through our connections with one another, through caring for the natural world, and through an examination of our interior life. All these things are a form of prayer. We hope that the reflections of this blog reveal and inspire this belief.

Becoming the Good Soil: Increasing Soil Carbon Will Increase Crop Yields

by Carl Sigel

Increasing soil carbon will increase total soil organic matter (SOM), which is the very foundation for healthy and productive soils (1). Organic farmers often judge and monitor soil health based on the amount of organic matter in each farm field. Active soil organic matter refers to a diverse mix of living and dead organic materials […]

Becoming the Good Soil: Supplementation of Cropland with Compost Increases Productivity

by Carl Sigel

A review of the use of organic supplements to cropland indicated that application of long-lasting organic amendments increased organic carbon by up to 90% versus unfertilized soil, and up to 100% versus chemical fertilizer treatments. Furthermore, regular addition of organic residues, particularly composted ones, increased soil physical fertility, mainly by improving aggregate stability and decreasing […]

Becoming the Good Soil: Other Ways That Compost Helps Mitigate Climate Change

by Carl Sigel

To make compost, organic materials are necessary, like yard waste, food waste, wastewater treatment plant residuals, animal manures, or others. Currently, some organic wastes are finding their way to the landfill, where they decompose anaerobically (without oxygen) and methane is emitted—a greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. Landfills contribute 20% of the total methane emissions […]

Caring for Our Common Home: Composting (updated blog from December 28, 2015)

by Carl Sigel

By composting at home and the church, we can: 1) reduce the amount of garbage we generate, 2) create valuable compost for home and church gardens, and 3) decrease our carbon footprints by sequestering carbon in the soil. As part of our goal to achieve “zero waste” on our church campus, Nativity uses a composting […]

The Soil Story

by Carl Sigel

This short video beautifully explains the science behind the carbon farming concept, and why to avoid the most serious consequences of climate change we need to encourage greater adoption of this conservation agricultural practice.

Becoming the Good Soil: A Life of Grace for the Whole World

by Carl Sigel

In conjunction with Nativity’s efforts to serve as a catalyst for launching carbon farming in NC (see Caring for Creation blog posts on August 28 and December 3, 2016), Nativity is offering a series of events beginning on April 22 (Earth Day) and going to the end of May. The first event will be a […]

Plant Some Blueberry Bushes outside the Fence

by Carl Sigel

Emilie and I love our blueberries. So do the squirrels, birds, deer, and geese. For that reason we have planted lots of blueberry bushes outside the fence. In fact, almost two-thirds of our bushes are growing outside our bird protected area. There is a biblical basis for sharing our harvest in this way. As Ellen […]

“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” Aldo Leopold

by Carl Sigel

As I think about the current state of politics in our country from an ethical perspective, I am reminded of what Ellen Davis, Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke Divinity School wrote in her book, Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture concerning agricultural ethics. “Currently, there are active in our culture two opposing agricultural ethics, […]

Fulfilling a Biblical Covenant:Restoring the Good Soil

by Carl Sigel

In his book, Soil and Sacrament:A Spiritual Memoir of Food and Faith, Fred Bahnson says the verbs avad and shamar in Genesis 2:15 have been translated mistakenly as “till” and “keep”. This conclusion is based on the philological work of Old Testament scholar Ellen Davis (Duke Divinity School), who has explored how these words were […]