Prior to the 2010 Baptist World Congress meeting (July 28-Aug. 1) in Honolulu, my family has been enjoying some vacation time. During the past two days, Jan, Samuel, and I have driven as much of the circumference of Oahu as the roads allow, enjoying stunning scenery (a feast for the eyes) and stopping at the occasional shrimp truck (a feast for the tongue).

We noticed that Oahu, like other larger islands in the Hawaiian chain, has multiple personalities. The northeastern side of the island catches steady winds that deflect upward from the steep Koolau mountains, pushing humidity into the upper, cooler air, where it condenses and produces rain. As a result, the windward side of the island is lush and green, as seen in this photo from the Pali Mountain overlook.

The southwestern side of the island, in contrast, has high mountains but doesn’t get the wind off the ocean, so rain is scant. Mountainsides are more apt to be brown and crumbling.  Vegetation is more scattered and more scraggly, even near the beach near this squatter’s camp.

It’s not much of a stretch to think of how our lives are richer and greener when we’re in touch with the wind of the Spirit; more dry and sere when we inhabit the leeward side of faith.

Green is good.

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