On Agrarianism

We have been listening to a preacher named Michael Bunker on the internet. We really enjoy a good sermon – isn’t that an odd thing to say? His expositions on scripture, modern life and Anabaptism have really helped us clarify some of our beliefs.

First, the doctrine of separation. Christians are not to be invisible in the world. If nothing else, we should be known by our good works and our love for Christ. We are not merely an ethical society, a philosophy of good. We are followers of Christ, guided by the inner Light that God grants us in the Holy Spirit. We are not just form, we live what we believe, we live what we pray. Our Plain dress is part of that, but not just because it is an identifier with a group; it is an artifact of  living the gospel, of modesty and humility, of serious consideration of what the scripture tells us.  It is not a legalism, because legalism is a dead interpretation of Law. We are called to a living faith, a way of peace and abiding in the land.

Bunker says we need to take Genesis seriously. I agree; it is not a matter of creationism versus evolutionism, of science against doctrine. It is a matter of knowing why God created us and what for. We are called to live our physical life as closely to the purpose God intended for us as we can. For us, that means homesteading, tough as it is. I truly wish at times it wasn’t so tough! But who said life would be easy? Who said it was going to be cakes and ale every day, if we were just good children like we are told? No, the Lord promised us great gifts, with tribulation.

As a shepherd I’ve had my share of disasters and trouble, both for me and the animals. Sick animals in the flock, a lamb that doesn’t make it through a cold night, contaminated feed, poor pasture. But there are good things about raising animals, too, and more than just the physical benefits of warm wool, top quality meat, or milk. There is the tangible benefit of being in the real world, the world God created, and following the way of the ancestors. I can understand Abraham and David much better. I can understand the parables of sheep and shepherds Jesus told. There’s knowing that when I have to get up at 3 a.m. to tend a ewe in labour, and the stars are as bright as they were when first created, that God meant me to see them, to hold a wet, shuddering little lamb, to give a pail of warm water to a tired new mother. It is more real, more intentional than any office or shopkeeping job I ever had. It is more real than all the church meetings I ever sat through. It is certainly more real than the fantasy world of malls, television, the internet and status seeking.

Life is hard. It is especially hard for the poor. Until we have lived among the poor as the poor we cannot understand why the Lord blessed them with His kingdom. If we are too centered in this world, the world of earning a paycheck, of sending the mortgage payment, of buying a better car and having a good time, then we are not of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is, in this life, a place of struggle and doubt and trouble. It is also a glimpse of the glory to come when the Lord returns (maranatha!) and restores the universe to what He intended. Right now, it is as we meant it to be, and haven’t we done a lousy job so far?


3 thoughts on “On Agrarianism

  1. My comment is excuse the terrible typing! I am using someone else’s computer, and it doesn’t support the wordprocessing part of wordpress very well. Promise, I’ll fix it when I get to my own terminal!

    • Hi really enjoyed this post! I to listen to Michael Bunker. Small world. My husband and I are in the process of moving to an agrarian lifestyle. We will be living near the Bunker family and will be apart of their community. I look forward to reading more of your journey.
      Blessings Debylin

  2. Magdelaina,

    Indeed!! Before moving to sydney to get married 4 years ago, I lived regionally. Well, I mixed in the local spinners and weavers circles; lovely dear, creative women (and a few gentlemen) who were a dear and special part of my life (even offering me a place to live and looking after me after a fall, when circumstances also conspired meaning I had to leave my abode)… Well, one lady lived on acerage, running coloured sheep for wool. I was brought to tears upon being permitted to hold a little black lamb, born only the day before, her fleece nothing but tight little bawbles upon her new little body. Oh, could she bleet, those strong little lungs rather surprising for a creature otherwise so small and beautiful!!

    We’re so hybridized here in the cities, separated so dreadfully from real life; real life being something that goes on ‘over there’ while we shop, consume, spend, buy… However, in reaction, ever increasing numbers of us urban warriors ( those of us who could never homestead, no matter how much we would long to do so due to disability or other factors) grow herbs, vegetables and fruits; even if we simply grow tomatoes in summer and cultivate herbs, we are getting back in touch with God’s creation. this might sound pathetic in comparison to those like yourself who have done, and continue to do the hard yards, but every bit helps. the community garden and urban communal allottment movements have exploded, along with renewed interest in back to basics cookery, handcrafts, people dusting off their sewing machines (or purchasing one for the first time) and so on. I think many of us are sick of the ‘trendy’ foppish city life… Along with this, genuine farmers markets are also popping up like mushrooms as people who cannot do it themselves long to get back in touch with those who raise our food and livestock, people tired to the supermarket mentality.

    Oh, and if you’re having problem with unwanted attention over the net, it is possible (though I am not sure how to do it) to determine the IP address of each one of us that logs onto your blog, line it up with the unwanted attention and block it from access altogether. Contact wordpress and see if they can help you.




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