Last Friday I took off from Myrtle, Mo. on a bus trip with the F.F.A. teacher and students for a preliminary state qualifying meet in Cape Girardeau,Mo. We drove for about an hour or more and I was getting tired so I started talking to the Ag teacher about a variety of topics related to agriculture. The drought in California, soil conservation, even the mineral depletion of our soil and the resulting lack of nutritional value in commercially grown vegetables. As I drove along I began to understand that different people perceive “excellence” in different ways and that in some peoples eye’s quantity does equal quality. When it’s all about the money, (and what isn’t these days) success is seen as profits to the farmer. I certainly don’t have a problem with that but wouldn’t you know it I would have a problem with the whole idea of money being more important than people.

I was reminded of this passage from one of the greatest novels of all time…

He loved the land no more than the bank loved the land. He could admire the tractor, it’s machined surfaces, it’s surge of power, the roar of it’s detonating cylinders but it was not his tractor…The driver sat in his iron seat and he was proud of the straight lines he did not will, proud of the tractor he did not own or love, proud of the power he could not control. And when the crop grew, and was harvested, no man had crumbled a hot clod in his fingers and let the earth sift past his fingertips. No man had touched the seed, or lusted for the growth. Men ate what they had not raised, had no connection with the bread. The land bore under iron, and under iron gradually died; for it was not loved or hated, it had no prayers or curses.

John Steinbeck The Grapes Of Wrath

Look at all of the different ways we raise food in this country, giant hog farms that Iowa Governor Tom Harkin had to ask for millions of dollars to be tacked on to the stimulus bill so that they could do something about the horrendous smell there, the toxic slurry from which has done terrible damage to streams and rivers wherever they are.3269394941_1172731d7c_b

And chicken farms? we raise poultry under conditions that would land you in jail if you tried them with the family pet. Cruel just doesn’t cover what we do to chickens, it’s sickening…they’re no longer animals, they’re only seen as “stock” inventory, they’re fed hormones and antibiotics to make them grow that have harmful side effects on us when we ingest them.2163400974_2e56ab79fa_b

These are Gods creatures, do you care?

Whats my “beef” on beef? they’re unnaturally fattened on grain so that they’ll weigh more which also increases the LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) content of the meat as opposed to being pasture fed which is much healthier for us and them! Of course throw in all of the hormones and antibiotics and we’re still just scratching the surface of the problem.

My last blog was about what I see as the state of our relationship with our health care system and how similar the church’s relationship is at times to the people we’ve been “commissioned” to be reaching for Christ. I’ve been wondering lately to what degree the modern institution we call “the church” resembles that first century church. Of course I understand that things change, and that instead of home based groups of worshipers we now have mega church’s that are run like corporations.

Here’s an example of the perception of Christian corporate thinking…356825881_d59ceb3b6d_o1

The Most Offensive Church Sign I Have Ever Seen by Jacob...K.

Another “Dandy”

I looked up the definition of the word “corporate” , here’s what I found…Corporate, is a word used to describe the shift of individual responsibility or liability from individuals or from a group of people who have come together with a single minded purpose. It’s kind of like having a scapegoat to blame your rotten behavior on, a nameless,faceless,heartless, impersonal, entity.

Nature has it’s own system of checks and balances that play out in man regardless of how intelligent man thinks he is or how special he believes he is. I see corporate farming as an unethical,unnatural, unhealthy, unfortunate, reality. I think that we were meant to live close to our food source’s, to have a connection to them, to occasionally do as Steinbeck said and crumble a hot dirt clod in our hands, to perhaps have a decent regard for the animals that sustain us. When man, for whatever reason, ignores these check’s and balances, the repercussions are always against himself, in spite of his mindset that he is the rooster who climbed upon the dung heap of love to crow.

It’s all about the relationship’s we have, to our food, to other people, and most importantly to our Heavenly Father. I wonder if Steinbeck’ s motivation to write the Grapes Of Wrath was how much money he’d make on it, or any artist’s motivation for that matter…what about you?

Someday, when it’s all been said and done, what will matter most about the way you’ve lived your life? Will it be the number of zero’s in your bank account, or will it be the difference you’ve made in other peoples lives for the better.

Our system of providing food is making us sick and starving us, it’s robbing us of critical vitamins and trace minerals that either aren’t found in our foods anymore or that are lost during processing as a result of non-ripe picking, transportation, and various profit motivated activities that I covered before relating to all different types of food. It’s got a lot to do with why we’re so overweight in this country, we keep eating and eating to try and get the nutrition we need while ingesting thousands of empty calories and unneeded fats. Is it really such a shock that we’re also spiritually starving in this country too?

So, whats your deal Alton?

Are you some kind of “chronic malcontent” ?

No, What I’m trying to say here is that man has allowed satan to pervert every blessing that God has given him into some kind of carcinogenic counterfeit…

This verse applies to everything having to do with man except that which God has had to do with man.

Proverbs 16:25 (King James Version)

25There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

So, that seems to be the central question, exactly what IS in there?

Is it love? if it’s not…then Gods not in it.

Is it just “In there?” or is it in the re-lationship

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