|OPENING THE BOOK OF NATURE
Participants comment on their experiences at an "Opening the Book of Nature" event:
This was an invaluable exploration into a beautiful piece of creation. I will always benefit from it and am hoping for more exploration opportunities next year.
Martha Pierce, Chattanooga, TN
You will learn to appreciate the Creator in the "art museum" of a wilderness experience. Trade in the comforts of home for an invigorating home in the woods.
David Woods, Plymton, Mass.
The Book of Nature is one of the primary texts of the Christian spiritual walk. If you've not yet opened it, you've not yet come very far. You're not yet awakened to the full splendor of God.
Mike Kraftson-Hogue, Fitzwilliam, NH
Creation rejoiced and God smiled down upon us. It was a truly joyful weekend!
Victoria Masotta, Haverhill, Mass.
This is a real first step toward recovering the Christian testimony of God's presence through the world which He made, and thus for recovering our priestly responsibility for it.
Fr. Benjamin Teitelbaum, Boston, MA
This is different from any other church program that I have ever attended. It is a unique and authentic Christian experience.
Kevin Weaver, Reinholds, Pennsylvania
This is a wonderful opportunity to experience nature and explore our privileges and responsibilities to creation with a diverse group of believers in a glorious setting.
Thea Wilshire, Glendora, CA
This is a worthwhile experience which facilitates a deeper awareness and understanding of our spirituality and how it is directly tied into creation.
Julie Thompson, Temple City, CA
Experience in nature is often overlooked as a way to secure a better relationship with God. This Green Cross event helped me to explore this relationship.
Matt Jones, Sacramento, CA
Be prepared to plunge deep into the assumptions about Christianity which you have taken only superficially. Jesus Christ came alive in the wilderness like I never expected.
Gloria Dondero, Reno, Nevada
The seminar was very valuable. It helped me to see God's creation and God in new ways.
Mark McReynolds, Scotts Valley, CA
It put into words things I already sensed. What a comfort to know that these things are true!
Dorothy Wolf, Alto, Michigan
It is truly a blessing to be brought together with a group of people who are non-judgmental except when it concerns the environment, who love nature and people, and you're learning and enjoying God's gift of nature all at the same time. It is hard to leave that environment and go home. The message is to take it home and spread the word and walk the talk.
Normalee Martin, Leesburg, VA
Opening the Book of Nature is much more than a weekend exploration of the numinous in nature. It is a powerful vehicle through which God is renewing his Church in Christ.
Fr. David R. Green, Charleston, WV
Opening the Book of Nature is surely an event that those looking to deepen their experience of faith and ecology should explore.
Suse Greenstone, Leesburg, VA
It is a renewal experience that serves to kindle our fire for creation and its Cause, and that will then help us to inspire others.
Robert McDougal, MD, Kalamazoo, MI
Opening the Book of Nature is a rich opportunity to exit the confines of the house "box," the work "box," the car "box," the school "box," and enter the beauty of God's world, where His eternal power and divine nature are clearly seen.
Angela Kantola, Indian Springs, CO
This is an issue which has become subverted by secularists who ironically are not as well equipped as Christians to understand the horrible consequences of abusing what God gives to us.
Bob Fetterly, Kalama, WA
This is a great time to enjoy God's creation and share with others your love for nature.
Angelica Necrelli, Beaverton, OR
It helped me to learn to hear God's voice and to trust Him. It made me appreciate nature on a deeper level than previously.
MC, Portland, OR
The Lord has much to teach us through His creation and this is a great starting place. The lessons learned are not optional to my faith.
Don Wallace, Aurora, CO
I've always known the wilderness was important to me. This experience helped me understand why. Through my own meditation and the thoughts shared by others, it was a worship experience that surpasses any that I have known.
Brenda Bratton, Weymouth, MA
This program is so basic to living and breathing that it's radical. We don't live the basics of life enough. This introduces you to how to see again, feel again, breathe again, and trust again at the "ground" level.
Tamara Walker, Kansas City, MO
The weekend opened my eyes to God's creation in a new and exciting way. I came away with a sense of hope for the future of creation.
Bob Marshall, Charleston, WV
During one of the times of solitude in the woods, I felt a deep sense of how each of the entities in nature was serving me the trees, plants, air, water, etc. Did I have gratitude? And how was I respecting that service? I think I got a glimpse of what Francis of Assisi knew so well.
Allen Johnson, Dunmore, WV
Opening the Book of Nature offers guidance into a greater understanding of the awesome handiwork of our Lord and Saviour.
John Mower, San Diego, CA
This trip was unique in my prayer life and religious experience. The opportunity to pray with others who were looking for a deeper understanding of God's presence in His creation was a precious opportunity indeed.
Maryellen O'Farrell, Charleston, WV
It's difficult for me to express just how valuable the weekend in the Berkshires was! I have struggled with the idea that seeking God's teaching through nature is perhaps a pagan or non-Christian act. But I've found that experiencing and feeling God through creation has helped me to develop a deeper relationship with Him and all which inhabit this world. This program helped me to see that "Opening the Book of Nature" is necessary and valuable for Christians today.
Cheryl Johnson, Wilmington, DE
No one else anywhere is doing anything like this, which reveals a huge gap in today's Christian formation and spirituality.
Ann Alexander, New York, NY
Long ago, Job was challenged to "stop and consider God's wonders" (Job 37:14). During the week at Yosemite I received that same challenge. I opened the Book of Nature. There were hikes through fields of mountain wildflowers, times of gazing into the star-filled skies, evenings of sitting around a campfire I had done all this many times before. The value of this program was the intentionality of the effort to focus the group on God's creation and our response to it.
Gary Fawver, Newberg, OR
Here is a program to recharge you and inspire you to experience and to rejoice in the beauty of God's creation.
Tikhon Suresh Pichai, Santa Clara, CA
The value of "Opening the Book of Nature" is many faceted, like a jewel. One facet is the communion with others in the body of Christ and feeling as kindred spirits -- they understand! Another facet is a heart-felt gratitude for God's many diverse creatures, both floral and fauna as well as stars and rocks; in short "All Things Bright and beautiful." A third facet is gratitude for our amazing senses of sight, touch, hearing, smell and taste by which we learn of God's creation as well as intuition by which to discern spiritual dimensions to creation.
Elizabeth Parnell, Utica, NY
My appreciation for God speaking through the natural world grew by leaps and bounds. When you reach this point of realization, you think more reverently about the natural world and appreciate it more deeply.
Marty Cowell, Portland, OR
Thank you for putting this weekend program together. I have learned so much in a 48 hour period, I don't know even if a lifetime will be long enough to apply it all.
Ruth Bowen, St. Louis, MO
The privilege of living in creation requires reverence for the relationship.
Bob Harrison, Portland, OR
It is a must for church leaders and lay persons to learn about the 11th Commandment.
Mike Wolf, Alto, Michigan
This retreat is like a Bible study of Nature. The Green Cross event was an answer to my prayers, where people can come and rejoice in creation.
Daniel Solomon, Rockville, MD
During my weekend at Green Cross' "Opening the Book of Nature" program, I experienced in a very deep way the presence and the love of our Creator for me as I enjoyed a weekend in nature with the other participants. It was life changing for me. I will always remember our shared thoughts about leaves, and trees. The sun and hawks will never be the same for me.
Alison Lang, Centerville, Ohio
I'm not sure what to say. The current testimonies seem almost too sensational, but I can understand how they are all true. Maybe actions caused by the weekend experience might be more valuable for promotional literature?
Bob Jurick, Fairborn, Ohio