Bible Fundamentalists, Cosmic Nirvana Creation-Worshippers and Joel Salatin

Posted in Healthy Food & Agriculture on April 28th, 2014 by dhawkinsmo

“My Dad and Mom, ultra conservative by any standard, routinely befriended hippies and our house often had dope-smoking mother-earthers hanging around talking about compost, dome homes, and Viet Nam war atrocities. On Sunday, of course, I spent the day with straight-laced Bible fundamentalists who made jokes about hippies and those mother earthers. ” –Joel Salatin

Joel Salatin is probably my favorite living author … every time he writes something, I read it in it’s entirety – I like how his mind works, and he’s a great writer. The following is a complete reproduction of his forward to a new book by Noah Sanders, entitled “Born Again Dirt.” I hope he doesn’t mind me reproducing it here (I didn’t ask). Maybe this will help Noah sell more books, a good thing right? Thanks to my friend, Dan Grubbs, author of the blog “It’s the Soil Stupid” for alerting me to this book.

Like Joel’s family, I too have some associations and friendships with “cosmic nirvana earth worshipper types” because of my involvement with permaculture and at times I have felt like I was getting odd looks from my fundamentalist friends for doing so.  So it made me feel better to run across this piece by Joel – made me feel like maybe I’m not so crazy after all for having some of these friendships – or at least if I am crazy, I’m in good company. Enjoy!

Growing up in a conservative Christian home on our beyond organic family farm in the 1960s, I lived in two different worlds. Our church friends lived in one world, but our family farm lived in another. My Dad and Mom, ultra conservative by any standard, routinely befriended hippies and our house often had dope-smoking mother-earthers hanging around talking about compost, dome homes, and Viet Nam war atrocities.

On Sunday, of course, I spent the day with straight-laced Bible fundamentalists who made jokes about hippies and those mother earthers. When Dad made Adelle Davis’ Tiger Milk, a concoction of brewer’s yeast, honey, raw milk from our Guernsey cows, and I can’t remember what else, our church buddies called it Panther Puke. I grew up on Bible memory programs and Mother Earth News magazine.

While our church friends made jokes about environmentalists, in our house The Whole Earth Catalogue stimulated many great discussions. Our family routinely patronized the health food store when it first came to town, a place our Christian friends thought cultish. How could a Christian patronize a place that smelled like incense, sold tofu, and had Zen literature stashed about? Our Christian friends built Tyson chicken houses and confinement dairies, used pharmaceuticals indiscriminately and poured on chemical fertilizer. Even their backyard gardens received liberal (a judicious use of the word liberal, to be sure) doses of insecticide just to be safe.

The whole notion that farming and food systems could contain a moral implication couldn’t make it past the laughter and jokes about environmentalist pinko commies. Yet our family plugged on, eschewing chemicals, building compost piles, planting trees, and attending environmental farming conferences. As our farm began attracting attention, most visitors were tree-hugging cosmic nirvana creation-worshippers. We used these visits to plant seeds of Biblically-based stewardship as Creator-worshippers. That sure made for some interesting conversations.

Over the years, I’ve seen an amazing transformation in our farm visitors. Today, probably half are conservative home-schooling Christians. I believe that the home-schooling movement spawned an entire awakening to alternative ideas. Families who left the conventional institutional educational setting, who disagreed with credentialed officialdom, found their new path soul satisfying. That satisfaction led them to ask the question: “Well, I wonder what else I’ve been missing out on?”

This quest for a narrow way within a broad way cultural context led families to chiropractors (what, those quacks?), nutrition, cottage-based businesses and home-based self-reliance. The home school idea literally sprouted kitchen sprout growing, raw milk consumption, gardens, and domestic flour mills for home-baked breads.

I believe the Christian community, which should have been the repository of “fearfully and wonderfully made,” squandered this high moral ground of environmental stewardship. Today, young people like Noah Sanders are beginning to chip away at the stereotype of the creation-exploitive (just one notch below rapist) religious right. When members of the religious right espouse creation stewardship, people listen to the Biblical redemption message who would never give it a thought otherwise.

In this great introductory and thought-provoking book, Noah Sanders dares to invoke a moral dimension into vocational farming. I am thrilled to see young people like him grasp this cornerstone of Christian credibility. Bringing every life dimension captive to God’s mind has far-reaching implications in our day-to-day decisions. Thank you, Noah, for broaching this subject in this context. It’s sorely needed and should stimulate both personal soul-searching and healthy corporate discussions.

To purchase Noah’s book on Amazon click HERE.

“Till the Ground”? or “Serve the Ground?” … a Hebrew Word Study

Posted in Healthy Food & Agriculture on April 19th, 2014 by dhawkinsmo

Hemenway_Agriculture1I am fascinated with Permaculture, which means “permanent culture.” Why? Because our culture is NOT permanent presently. It is dying primarily because of our destructive agricultural practices and policies.  (Click pic at left for larger version) Search my blog with the keyword “Sahara” and you will get several articles on this topic. So my studies in permaculture have caused me to think long and hard about the Biblical statements about “subduing the earth” and “having dominion” and “tilling the ground” and so forth. You guys know these verses, right? But have you studied the Hebrew words? I had not until just recently.  But thanks to a Christian man I met at Permies.com, Dan Grubbs who has a blog called “It’s the Soil Stupid,” I now have some cool new insights into these verses.  Let me share with you. Dan says

“… the Hebrew word aw-bad that is translated as “till” or “cultivate” in reference to the land or soil is the word for “serve.”

Hmm … I didn’t know that.  Let’s check it out … Googling the term “till awbad strongs concordance hebrew” we get the following link … http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?strongs=H5647.  …

The KJV translates Strongs H5647 in the following manner: serve (227x), do (15x), till (9x), servant (5x), work (5x), worshippers (5x), service (4x), dress (2x), labour (2x), ear (2x), misc (14x).

Sure enough. 227 times ‘awbad’ is translated ‘serve’ and only 9 times as ’till.’ Looks like my friend Dan has done his homework.  So the big question for me is …

Why did the KJV translators choose the word ’till’ those 9 times? Instead of ‘serve’? Read more »

Were viruses created good? Are they still good?

Posted in General Science, Genetics, Healthy Food & Agriculture on April 11th, 2014 by dhawkinsmo

Most people think viruses are bad. But the Book of Genesis says “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31) Now a book has been written – “Viruses: Essential Agents of Life” (2012) - explaining how viruses are actually essential for life, so how could they be “bad”?  Here’s a book review.  I’ll give you some excerpts:

Today you can peruse any virology textbook and get the impression that less than two dozen viruses represent the entirety of Earth’s virosphere.

Viruses: Essential Agents of Life (2012, Springer), edited by Günter Witzany, is a great way to kick off the next 100 years of virology, with nary a reductionist thought to be found within its 427 pages.

Viruses are everywhere and in abundance, and the time has come to sit up and take notice.

Marilyn Roossinck suggests that the focus on viruses as agents of disease has led to a bias in our understanding of viruses in nature, that we ignore “the probability that viruses may play important roles in the ecology of their hosts [italics are mine].”