I just can’t get the idea out of my head that it would be a God glorifying thing for a church to own or support an organic farm and run it well for the local community. I’ve tried explaining why I thought this would be a good idea to a couple of people, but my tongue gets tied and my thoughts go cloudy.
There are lots of thoughts that have brought me to this conclusion but at the heart of it is the fact that Christians believe that the land belongs to God (not man) and because of that we should use it well. Its His handiwork.
We were made in his image, and part of that image is to be gardeners and stewards of the earth, to make sure that this world that God proclaimed good should be used wisely.
Too often Christian have thought that the most important thing that we should be up to on earthn they pass away they go to be with Jesus or something like that. Heaven in my head has traditionally been a place that it bright, brighter than bright and hear dodgey praise music such as you might hear in a Faith Mission bookshop. Do I really want to go to a place called Heaven if all we do is play Robin Mark songs all day long for eternity?
Yet I’ve been having my head blown away by Tom Wright’s book ‘Surprised by Hope’, because it is making sense of why the first Christians stood before lions and spread what they had heard about Jesus with conviction, despite the oppostion.
It makes sense of why we should work in the now to heal and redeem the planet, why Christians should care about stuff like organic farming or architecture, why we should plant trees and feed the hungry.
If a church owned a farm/community garden it would be like saying we are the proper stewards of the earth, we are redeemed people who are working for the Kingdom of Heaven. We want to heal that which has been used unwisely and to make it healthy again, to make it a beautiful space that hints at that which is to come.
We’re to be about the earthing of heaven.
Perhaps an organic farm would mean that
a) we could treat the creation carefully, to use techniques that might heal the soil rather than strip it, to grow healthy and tasty food, to witness to the world with the goodness of our harvest.
b) we would be able to source our ‘daily bread’ for our local community without added oil, oil which is choking God’s good creation. That can only be a good thing. Oil is a limited resource that we have become too reliant on.
As I watch the floods in Pakistan I keep wondering if somehow I’ve been implicated in what has happened.
Are our oil addicted Western lifestyles making weather patterns more unpredictable and severe around the world?
c) we could connect the community back to the land, witness that we live by God’s grace and bountiful creation,that we are actually serious about the physical redemption of the planet. You could have school kids up in the morning to learn about where their food comes from.
d) we could create jobs for the underemployed. Organic farming is more labour intensive and that is a good thing. Of course some farm jobs are boring and tedious but that doesn’t mean they are insignificant. We could give fair wages for the workers, perhaps to the long term unemployed or those who are not given a fair chance in life.
e) you could have a retreat centre on the site for artists, you help out round the farm in the morning to earn your keep and then in the afternoon you go and paint, write your poetry, record your music, have a beer.
that and other stuff as well…