Inside Flourish

From Kendra Langdon Juskus, managing editor


Flourish magazine, Winter 2011

 
In 2011, the world’s population will hit seven billion, just 12 years after it reached the watershed 6 billion mark in 1999. Many environmental awareness advocates will approach the seven billion number with dread and apocalyptic language: they’ll label it overpopulation and decry its effect on the level of atmospheric and water pollution, its role in the over-consumption of non-renewable natural resources, and its death-grip on food security.

But in this issue of Flourish, you’ll find something different. Rusty Pritchard’s article, “The Myth of Overpopulation,” not only affirms the sacredness of every human being–yes, even the seven-billionth one–but it also lays bare the twisted motivations and misunderstandings behind the overpopulation hype and challenges us not to think (or act) in terms of fear and scarcity, but in terms of health and abundance.

Abundance is also the theme of writer and sociology professor Lisa Graham McMinn’s article, “Good Comes from a Grateful Heart.” Developing a point from Walking Gently on the Earth, the book she recently co-authored with her daughter, Megan Anna Neff, McMinn does not ignore the challenges faced by most of the world’s inhabitants and ecosystems, but rather encourages us to link our own thriving with that of others, especially the least of these. Justice doesn’t have to mean denial, she suggests, and abundance doesn’t have to mean surfeit. A spirit of gratitude makes all the difference.

It should be made clear that there is a difference between gratefully enjoying abundance and lazily indulging ourselves. In fact, the grateful heart McMinn advocates does not come easily. It requires diligent self-education about how we can stop contributing to injustice, and it depends on the cultivation of contentment and humility. Examples of such hard work can be found in the communities profiled in this issue’s “Where We Live,” “The Global Community,” and “The Flourishing Church” columns. What is made obvious in these communities’ stories is that the good that comes from a grateful heart often looks like dirt under the fingernails and sweat on the brow.

That good can also look like renowned poet Luci Shaw’s “Psalm for the January Thaw,” which we are honored to publish here alongside her “Under the Snowing.” And it can manifest itself in the exclamation that peppers Lindsey Howald Patton’s “Last Page” reflection: “God: He is too much.”

Of particular note in this issue is our own gratitude for the addition of a new member to the Flourish team. Andy Patton, author of this issue’s article, “Redemption by the Side of the Road,” joined Flourish at the start of this year as our new managing editor of online content. You can learn more about Andy in the brief interview with him in this issue’s “Sprouts” section. His work on the blog and website will enable me to devote more time to this publication, so look for exciting changes to come in the next issues!

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