Growing Sequoias…

September 2, 2011

I was with a group of folks praying this morning and my mind wandered to growing Sequoia trees… Sequoias are the worlds largest and fastest growing trees.

No one has successfully grown a sequoia from seed outside their natural locations on the western USA.

The "Grizzly Giant" tree in Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park

Early in the 20th Century the US forest service decided that order to preserve the trees that they would ensure that they would be protected from forest fires… it makes sense… protect the trees from being burned down… preserve the habitate…

WRONG…  after a few years they started to observe something else… no new trees were growing… they were preserved from fire but they had ceased to reproduce.

The forest service researched what was going on… and found several things.. the trees thick bark (up to 90cm thick) was grown for fire protection…  the seeds need the ground to be cleared of shade loving plants in order to germinate… the cones on the branches needed the heat of fire in order to dry them out and to crack open to release the seeds…

So what the forest service had done in order to protect the trees was  in fact something that was guaranteed to wipe them out.

So now they carry out controlled fires in the copses of trees… to clear competing vegetation, and to encourage seeds to be released and new trees have started to grow.

This morning make me think about about whether there is a link between the sequoias and church, when we try and protect it.  When we think we’re doing something to protect the structures and form of the church… are we in fact being instrumental in killing off the very things that make the church fruitful.

When we look at the church in countries where there is persecution  we see church alive, growing, vibrant.  However when we look at the church in the west we can see church protected and impressive… but sterile.

These are just random thoughts – and I presently don’t know what to do with them… And I’m sharing these to see if they’ll fire off some thoughts of your own… and if they do please share.


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