Wildlife, Wild Places, Kitsch and Sundry: DFG Hailson Photography

 

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American Alligator, Big Cypress National Preserve, Ochopee, Florida. Image: DFG Hailson.

I have spent delight-filled days recording, through my camera’s lens, glorious natural wonders from the majestic Grand Canyon to the hoodoo-filled Bryce Amphitheater, from the lush and soul-soothing Everglades to the barren salt flats of Death Valley’s Badwater Basin, from the sanderling-bedecked white sand beaches of Topsail Island to the other-worldly cinder gardens and lava fields of the Craters of the Moon.

Along the way, my love of wildlife and wild places has deepened into a more fervent advocacy and my love of photography has developed into a deep passion. I am currently exploring and photographing the North Carolina coast. I invite you to visit my photography website–DFG Hailson Photography–and pray the images of and words about wild places, wildlife, roadscapes, waterscapes, kitsch and sundry–will speak to your heart and mind and lift your spirit.

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Paul Howard Manship was commissioned to make the sundial, Time and the Fates of Man, for the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. The Three Fates, sitting under the tree that holds up the sundial’s pointer, are characters from Greek mythology. Taken at Brookgreen Gardens with the park’s Christmas Tree alongside. Image: DFG Hailson.

Celebrating America’s National Parks Honored with 2017 IPA Award

23915845_1664407703581353_5732276055968733023_n (1)Two years ago today, I was celebrating the fact that I’d completed 35 chapters and an 11-page Notes section for Celebrating America’s National Parks, a book on which I was collaborating with photographer Clyde Butcher and designer David Griffin. I had just the last little bits to edit and all the pages to proof and then I would be on to trimming the tree. I’ve just learned that the book (released in 2016) has placed first in the category “Professional Book–Nature” in the 2017 International Photography Awards Competition.

Celebrating America’s National Parks is the second book I’ve written that has received an award. The first was one I co-authored: The Goddess Revival: A Biblical Response to God(dess) Spirituality (reprinted in 2010). That volume was honored as a Christianity Today Book of the Year.

I am now at work on The Rockery: Theology, Nature and the Arts as Spiritual Ambassadors for the Christian Faith. I’ll be searching for an agent and publisher as the new year opens and would love to hear from anyone who might be interested in learning more about this project. You’ll find me at: dfghailson@gmail.com or 484-437-6455.

 

Sickened, Enraged and Heartbroken

800px-African_Bush_Elephant_MikumiOne of the most moving moments in my life came on an evening in Zimbabwe. I was in the country covering a conference and had taken some time away to visit Hwange National Park with two friends. After a meal of traditional African fare at the Hwange Safari Lodge, we made our way – at sundown – toward a waterhole. There, we spied – silhouetted in the half-light glow – a herd of more than 40 elephants coming in to take an end of the day drink. The adults strode in slowly and their young clung close to their sides. I couldn’t hold back the tears and found myself weeping and weeping, overcome by so many emotions. I felt so privileged to be in their presence. But there was even more to the moment, for behind them – in the distance – I could see herds of impala, zebra and wildebeest racing across the savanna. The images from that night are indelibly stamped on my heart and memory and I find I am – even now – near to tears as I place myself again in that space, in that magical moment, at Hwange.

Trophy hunting is a thoroughly disgusting and evil practice, and I am sickened, furious and heartbroken that the ban on elephant trophies would be reversed by the current US administration!!!!!!

This reversal makes no sense whatsoever when elephant populations are decreasing. It’s far more than a stretch to call this a “conservation” move when Zimbabwe is in the midst of an apparent coup and is seen as so riddled with corruption and so lacking in transparency.

Accompanying image of an African elephant by Oliver Wright.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/trump-admin-reverse-ban-elephant-trophies-africa/story?id=51178663

Reflecting on the Ministry of Billy Graham as He Enters His 100th Year

Billy-Graham1I came to faith in Jesus Christ on Pentecost Sunday in 1982 at a Billy Graham Crusade held at Boston University’s Nickerson Field. The Reverend Graham’s signature is on my Master of Divinity diploma from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; he was one of that institution’s founders and was chairman of the seminary’s board during my years there. As a student, I was given the opportunity to train in and engage in evangelism through one of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) phone centers that was activated each time a crusade aired.

Later, I served as a visiting professor in evangelism and urban ministry at Gordon Conwell and required the same training and engagement of my students. I contributed to The Billy Graham Christian Workers’ Handbook and worked with the BGEA on a film for use in the telephone training centers. I was a delegate to Lausanne II (Manila, the Philippines, 1989), one of a series of events called by the Lausanne Movement, which was founded by Billy Graham. I am a Christianity Today Book of the Year honoree and Billy Graham founded that magazine. I was one of the first students invited to participate in the Arrow Leadership Program, founded by Billy Graham’s brother-in-law, Leighton Ford.

In 1991, the Graham Association created a profile of my life and ministry for airing during one of the crusade telecasts. I was just starting my work for the Lord and was stunned to learn that my profile would be the second in a series that began with that of baseballer Dave Dravecky. Reverend Graham’s message for that program was entitled “Who Is Jesus?” I can still hear the voice of Cliff Barrows introducing my segment. And, of course, George Beverly Shea’s comforting bass-baritone filled and lifted the hearts of those in the stadium seats at the Meadowlands in New Jersey along with the hearts of those listening from their seats at home.

The list of life intersections goes on and on. I am deeply indebted to Billy Graham. He and his organization set the trajectory for my life in ministry. He is, indeed, a man of integrity, humility, generosity and faithfulness who has been used of the Lord in the transformations of millions of individuals around the world.

In Reverend Graham’s last message in the 2013 video-recorded My Hope America, he shares his heart for our nation today, and the following simple, yet powerful prayer, a final reminder, that if we’re willing to come to Christ, He has the power to change our lives and future forever.

“Our country’s in great need of a spiritual awakening. There have been times that I’ve wept as I’ve gone from city to city and I’ve seen how far people have wandered from God.

I want to tell people about the meaning of the cross. Not the cross that hangs on the wall or around someone’s neck, but the real cross of Christ…With all my heart I want to leave you with the truth, that He loves you, and is willing to forgive you of all your sins.

Sin is a disease of the human heart….There is no other way of salvation except through the cross of Christ.

Today, I’m asking you to put your trust in Christ.

‘Dear Heavenly Father, I know that I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe you died for my sins, and rose from the dead. I turn from my sin, I repent of my sins, I invite you to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow you as my Lord and Savior.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.'”

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Just as I am.
All is grace.

 

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

According to the US Department of State, Christians in more than 60 countries face persecution from their governments or surrounding neighbors simply because of their belief in Jesus Christ. A report by Open Doors USA identified 2016 as the “worst year yet” (in the 25 years of its monitoring) for Christian persecution. Each month (an average of) 322 Christians die for their faith; 214 Christian churches and properties are destroyed; 772 forms of violence are committed against Christians, including beatings, abductions, rapes, arrests and forced marriages. The most dangerous place for Christians is North Korea followed by Somalia and Afghanistan. Pakistan rose to No. 4 but had the overall highest level of violence. Sudan was fifth, followed by Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, and Eritrea.

Please pray for those who are being persecuted for the faith, not only on these days especially set aside for remembrance, but each day of the year.

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What Will Prayer Do For You?

1-thessalonians-5-16-18Beware in your prayer, above everything, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do. Expect unexpected things, above all that we ask or think…expect great things.–Andrew Murray

Are you in sorrow? Prayer can make your affliction sweet and strengthening. Are you in gladness? Prayer can add to your joy a celestial perfume. Are you in extreme danger from outward or inward enemies? Prayer can set at your right hand an angel whose touch could shatter a millstone into smaller dust than the flour it grinds, and whose glance could lay an army low. What will prayer do for you? I answer: All that God can do for you.–Frederic William Farrar