A Reflection from Pastor Pete

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The Mitchell Satyr (pronounced say-ter) is one of the world’s rarest butterflies. Found only in Michigan and Indiana. Mitchell satyr is a dark, chocolate brown, medium-sized butterfly with a wing span that ranges from 1.5 to 1.75 inches (3.8-4.4 cm). The undersides of the wings contain a row of four to five black, yellow-ringed eyespots, with the central three eyespots on the hindwing being the largest. Two orange bands encircle the eyespots. Mitchell satyr adult butterflies typically fly between the 3rd week of June to the 3rd week of July.

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Mitchell satyr is an endangered species. The biggest threat to the continued survival of this species is habitat loss. Satyrs need a special kind of wetland habitat found in prairie fens. Many of the fens occupied by the satyr have been altered or drained for agriculture or development.

 I just found all this out recently.  Know why?  I have a son who lives in Niles, Michigan. To visit, we take Highway 196 down to Benton Harbor, get on highway 94 for a short time, and then jog over in Napier avenue 2 miles down the road.  We then hook up with 31 to head south again.  A confusing and annoying connection. Wouldn’t it just be easier if they had just connected highway 31 with highway 94 or better yet 196?    They tried. You can see the cement roadway end in the weeds. The exit/entrance ramps are even there.   But the Mitchell Satyrs live there.  That’s a problem.

It’s not easy being green. I am not smart enough to judge whether the “affluence is environmentally good” theory makes more sense than the “affluence is environmentally bad” conventional wisdom. I do know that it is complicated. I do know that we are called to be stewards of the earth as given to us in the cultural mandate of Genesis 1 and 2.  As human beings made in God’s image we are the most valuable resource on earth. As the earths only gardeners we are to add to the earths abundance and not just live off the land. 

Flora and fauna are important to God and thus must be to us.  The Bible teaches that human beings have an obligation to be stewards and gardeners in a way that benefits other men and women and creatures. We are not supposed to leave oxen and donkeys in the ditch.  We are not supposed to cut down fruit trees even in times of war, when cutting down enemy’s trees might be to our military advantage.   We’re not supposed to put plastic where it doesn’t belong.

So I understand the dead road in Benton Harbor.  It inconveniences me, but as a Christian I can’t support bulldozers just barging into that wetland. Maybe we can find another habitat for these rare and beautiful butterflies. Maybe I don’t need a road there.  

In the meantime, I have a lot more things to learn about caring for creation.   We are talking about that tonight in my Wednesday Night Family Night class at church. 

Come for supper at 5:30- 6:30 and join me in the prayer room at 6:35 pm for a discussion/Bible study class over the next 6 weeks. All are welcome.

 Anyway, that’s how I see it.      

Pastor Pete


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