Starting a National Christian Agrarian Association

Every so often someone will bring up the idea of starting something akin to a National Christian Agrarian Association. It is a well-intentioned idea that I’ve given much consideration to and I’d like take this opportunity to publicly state my thoughts on the matter.

Let me say that the idea of a large Christian-agrarian gathering was discussed at one time and I was asked if I would be willing to be a speaker. And, as I’ve mentioned, I have also heard of the idea of starting some sort of official Christian agrarian organization.

I am not against such a gathering, or such an organization, but I would not support them. My reason for saying that is that I see the Christian agrarian movement as a movement of the Lord in individual hearts. I believe He is leading individual families back to agrarian life and culture. I am not convinced that it would serve any truly constructive purpose to establish a large-scale Christian-agrarian club or fraternity-like organization. Would it draw media attention to the movement and expand our ranks? Well, I’m sure it would, but I’m not convinced that is a proper thing for any of us to be doing

Personally, I do not want to travel the country and speak, as has been suggested to me that I could do. I want to stay home, to be with my family, to work around my little homestead. I want to, God willing, buy some land someday and establish family-centered agrarian enterprises. Yes, traveling and speaking and such would help me spread the Christian agrarian message, and sell more of my books, and that would help me to earn enough to buy the land, etc., etc. But I don’t want to compromise, or significantly alter the agrarian life I enjoy in order achieve my family vision. It smacks of hypocrisy and any Christian agrarian worth his salt would see right through it.

Beyond building a membership and establishing some sort of political voice, I wonder what the practical purpose of a National Christian Agrarian Association would be? Would it be to encourage and inspire others in their Christian agrarian journey? If so, I see that being achieved right now (right here, even!) in an agrarian, decentralist, manner by individuals and families who are, from the comfort of their homesteads and farms, blogging, writing books, publishing periodicals, making movies, recording interviews, and teaching classes. They are doing this as the Lord leads them and they are having an impact.

And if we need hats or t-shirts or bumper stickers to identify our Christian agrarian inclinations, some home-based Christian family enterprise can provide those too!

As for effecting political change, that can be done by home-based internet activists too. The grassroots internet-based resistance to NAIS is an example of that.

No, I do not see the need for any manmade Christian Agrarian Organization. Let’s live simply while prayerfully focusing on the work of home, church, community, family enterprise, and local ministry, all the while watching as the Lord orchestrates this Christian Agrarian movement for His good purposes.

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P.S. My thinking on this matter does not extend to small scale, Christian-agrarian ministries which would serve to establish sustainable, localized, rural renewal and help support rural family life. Ministries like ACRES of Hope America which I'll tell you about in my next blog entry.

2 comments:

Ethan said...

Would an organization such as this perhaps be a benefit in answering the multitude of questions that arise when one begins to consider the move towards agraianism?

papabear said...

This resonantes with Mr. Berry's "In distrust of movements," I think...