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Dr. Suzanne Simard:

[Graduate student Kevin Beiler] has found that all trees in dry interior Douglas-fir forests are interconnected, with the largest, oldest trees serving as hubs, much like the hub of a spoked wheel, where younger trees establish within the mycorrhizal network of the old trees. Through careful experimentation, recent graduate Francois Teste determined that survival of these establishing trees was greatly enhanced when they were linked into the network of the old trees. Through the use of stable isotope tracers, he and Amanda Schoonmaker [. . .] found that increased survival was associated with belowground transfer of carbon, nitrogen and water from the old trees. [HT: Andrew Sullivan]

"Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” (Jer. 6:16)

“He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” (Ps. 1:3)


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4 thoughts on “Sermon Illustration Alert”

  1. Peter Nelson says:

    Fascinating–thanks. Reminds me of the Aspen (see, e.g., http://www.nps.gov/brca/naturescience/quakingaspen.htm): individual trees united as one organism, capacity to survive fire and other above-ground crises, phenomenal longevity…

  2. Si says:

    Great work. However, my brain almost feel asleep while reading it. In your sermon you might want to dumb it down for the rest of us.

  3. Mike Hall says:

    This is also a good illustration for community. Colossians 3:16-17

  4. "lee n. field" says:

    Another thing to hear in a sermon, and wonder how much truth there really is in it.

    Over time I’ve gotten cynical about sermon illustrations.

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Justin Taylor, PhD


Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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