Show me where it hurts,
And every cell in my body
burst into tears
Before His tender eyes.
an opti-mystic friend of Jesus in a post-conventional world
Summarise the Bible in five statements, the first one word long, the second two, the third three, the fourth four and the last five words long. Or possibly you could do this in descending order. Tag five people.
As Carl’s friend Yewtree muses,
What aspect of this multivalent text to focus on? The liberal or the conservative interpretation? Western Christianity or Eastern Orthodoxy? A Kabbalistic or esoteric interpretation? The Arian and Unitarian views? Changing human perceptions of the divine – from tribal thunder god to all-embracing universal consciousness? How notions of justice changed from tribal codes apparently dictated from the top of Mount Sinai towards concepts of compassion and inner conscience (starting with Micah and Amos, and later promoted by Yeshua)? Very tricky to summarise all that in 15 words…
Yes indeed! So here’s my post?/evangelical, composted Christian Bible statement:
A living paradox
Fully human, fully divine
Lifetime of prayer and study
Jeannie Choi: What’s the vision behind Polyface farm?
Joel Salatin: Healing—healing in all dimensions. We want to develop emotionally, environmentally, and economically enhancing agricultural prototypes throughout the world. We want to heal the relationships of the people involved with the farm and our business and our family. We want to heal the land, soil, air, water, and, ultimately, the food system.
From what disease is our current food system suffering?
Well, when is the last time a farmer went and asked for money from a banker and the banker said, “Well, that’s all well and good. I’m glad you’re going to be able to grow a corn crop. But what is that going to do to the earthworms? Or to the topsoil? Is that going to go down the Mississippi and add to the Rhode Island-sized dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico that’s been created because of erosion and run-off chemicals?”
We don’t measure those kinds of things, and yet each of us intuitively understands that those immeasurable or non-quantifiable parts in a business plan are actually the most precious resources we have.
Healing the food system would fundamentally flip-flop the political and economic powers of our culture. Wendell Berry says that what’s wrong with us creates more gross national product than what’s right with us. It’s a fantastic observation. Right now, our culture thrives on things being sick. Dead soil brings more people to chemical companies because they need chemical fertilizers, which makes people sick. When people are sick, obviously the medical establishment thrives. If a neighborhood or community’s food system is sick, then of course you need to import food from a foreign country, which stimulates global trade. So when you start talking about healing the food system, we need a fundamental realignment of all the power and money in our culture, and that’s why there is a tremendous amount of inertia against healing the system.
So what can we do? If you want to dream out of the box for a minute, here’s an idea: If every American for one week refused to eat at a fast-food joint, it would bring concentrated animal feeding operations to their knees. What can one person do? We have a sick, evil system, and a healing system, and the question is, which one are you going to feed? Have you gone down to the farmers market or patronized local livestock farms? Or have you had candy bars and cokes? Whichever one you’ve fed is going to get bigger, and the one you’ve starved is going to get smaller.
How does your faith inform your work?
It makes me want to farm like Jesus would if he were here right now, in charge of this place. God actually loved us and provided a salvation experience for us that shapes the way we should, with the same grace and appreciation and respect, honor the creation that God made. It’s in respecting and honoring the “pig-ness” of the pig that we create our ethical and moral background for respecting and honoring the “Tony-ness” of Tony and the “Mary-ness” of Mary. And so it’s how we respect and honor the “least of these” that creates a theological and philosophical framework for how we respect and honor the creation that God made. It’s in respecting and honoring the “pig-ness” of the pig that we create our ethical and moral background for respecting and honoring the “Tony-ness” of Tony and the “Mary-ness” of Mary. And so it’s how we respect and honor the “least of these” that creates a theological and philosophical framework for how we respect and honor the greatest of these.
Our culture simply views our plants and animals as so many inanimate piles of protoplasmic structure to be manipulated however cleverly hubris can imagine to manipulate it. I would suggest that a culture that views its life in that respect will be a culture that views its citizens and the citizens of other cultures in the same manipulative and arrogant way.
I don’t believe I’ve ever mentioned my friend Matthew Paul Turner‘s memoir Churched on the blog before. You should go out and get a copy. This flash review is going to live up to its name; I’m simply going to reproduce for you the blurb I wrote for its back cover, as well as that of Sara Miles:
“Churched is funny, poignant, and surprisingly moving. In this deft story of his fundamentalist upbringing Matthew Paul Turner proclaims the good news: that even church can’t drown out the message of Jesus.”
–Sara Miles, author of Take This Bread
“Who knew that a journey through faith and fundamentalism could be so painfully funny? I laughed out loud many a time while reading Churched. Matthew Paul Turner manages to channel both boyhood innocence and wry retrospective through this fast-moving account of growing up with Jesus in late 20th-century America, and beyond. Highly recommended!”
– Mike Morrell, TheOoze.com
You can follow Matthew on his wildly popular Twitter here.
And I discovered video below via Martin Kelley‘s Convergent Friends Ning network (Ning networks are awesome!); Jon Watts is a spoken word artist and multipreneur; his music reminds me of Eminem or maybe Aesop Rock, except that he’s a Quaker rapping about the Inner Light illuminating the world’s darkness. He’s also created a wicked-cool George Fox Friend Speaks My Mind t-shirt that could totally go head-to-head with the John Calvin Is My Homeboy shirt – if only he’d make it in sizes that men with more girth could wear. Anyway, this video is fun; many Christians will balk at its chorus line, but I think it’s great for continuing discussion about the tension Dallas Willard names in The Divine Conspiracy between traditional and progressive Christians, the former of whom worship Jesus for what he does, the latter of whom follow him for the example he sets. Taken as a koan, imagine this song as singing one half of this ‘battle rap’ and live into the tension. 🙂
Raleigh NC. E-mail: jasminis [at] gmail [dot] com. GE/LC/B/NL/SP/WS. Edits: A/SS/F/N/NB/BP/QL/JN/PB/BS/GB/E/D. Has edited for Christian publishers and mainstream curriculum publishers. Developmental editing: $8/pg.; copy editing $6/pg. (‘Page’: Times New Roman, 12 pt font; double-spaced.) Requires 50% of fee upfront. Requested revisions are included in original fee.