This blog was established on the 18th of June, 2005, with an essay titled The Ruminations Begin. Now, nearly four years and more than 500 essays later, I am bringing the ruminations to a close. To paraphrase Solomon: There is time and a season for everything—a time to begin blogging, and a time to end blogging.
I felt strongly compelled to start this blog when I did. I dare say I even felt a calling from God to do it. My objective was to present myself, my family, our Christian faith, and the life we live here on our 1.5-acre rural homestead as a testimony to the goodness of God and the wisdom of living a deliberate agrarian lifestyle. My intention was to encourage, inspire, teach, and offer my life as a realistic example of one family pursuing Christian agrarianism.
Unlike some who pursue the agrarian life, our homestead is very small, my finances are very limited, and I am tied to a full-time factory job in the city. So this lifestyle is not well-funded, and it is not easy. It is also not a pie-in-the-sky lark of an adventure that we are “trying out.” It is the way I expect to live the rest of my days. In the final analysis, we do the best we can with what we have.
Yes, I do aspire to more and different things within the agrarian paradigm (and I have shared my dreams with you here), but I will patiently work and trust in the Lord’s provision regarding these things. He will give (or not) as it pleases Him, according to His plans for us. I am content in that. All the while, He meets all our needs abundantly and this family is exceedingly thankful to Him for all His blessings. I hope that has come through in my writings.
It was also my intention with this blog to warn other Christians about the dangers of living in full dependence on the industrialized, Babylonian system. Get out of debt, get out of the cities and suburbs, don’t trust a monetary system built on fiat-money schemes, develop a family economy, live close to the land, live simply, grow your own food, work with your hands and your heart to provide for your needs as much as possible.
I felt strongly that Christians needed to separate as much as possible from God-hating industrialism and pursue basic sufficiency because the industrial system was near its apogee. Collapse was imminent. The pride and arrogance of industrialism invites God’s judgment. The system is riddled with fatal flaws that are now coming to light.
I am persuaded that the world has experienced Peak Industrialism and we are now in the beginning stages of transition into a postindustrial era, which will look far more agrarian than industrial.
I am also of the mind that the Christian-agrarian movement is much more than a self-sufficiency and self-preservation response to pending hard(er) times. It is a sober realization that Christianity has, over time, steadily compromised with the industrial machine, with the industrial culture, in all its manifestations, that the mainstream Christian churches of the land have, by and large, allowed themselves to be molded into the industrial paradigm, and that such syncretism in the church has led to widespread cultural and spiritual impotence. In its purest form, Christian-agrarianism is a rejection of wicked syncretism, a movement of obedience to biblical wisdom, and an act of repentance.
So it was that I wrote my essays here. They flowed out of me with a surprising (to me) intensity and urgency. And it appeared that my words connected with many people. The feedback I got was so very encouraging.
I compiled a selection of my best essays from my first year of writing here into the book, Writings of a Deliberate Agrarian. Said book never sold in large numbers but it seemed to connect with those the Lord wanted it to connect with. More than a few readers contacted me to say how much they liked it and how the overall message spoke to them. It was heartwarming.
Early on, Scott Terry (who was my inspiration to begin blogging) told me I should get a site meter, and I did. I remember thinking that it would be neat if 100 people a day stopped by. Well, I just checked the site meter and my average number of daily visits is now 790. The average number of page views a day is up to 1,983.
I unintentionally deleted my original meter and started a new one in January of 2008, but I wrote down the numbers. When I add those numbers to the ones on my current site meter, I end up with a page view count of just under a million.
That kind of readership is astounding to me, and it has also been a matter of some concern. Pride can easily enter into the heart of a man who develops a fairly large “following” of readers who tell him they appreciate what he has to say. Pride is the archenemy of a Christian life lived for the glory of God. Pride is a snare so carefully camouflaged, and the bait so innocently seductive.
Though it has been fun to watch the numbers climb, this blog has never been about building numbers and a following. My intention has always been to be faithful to what I perceived as a calling, and to Him who I believe equipped me for, and called me to, this task. That said, I have also been sensitive to the fact that God might one day impress upon me that it is time to stop. That is where I find myself now. I can not explain it. I dare not ignore it.
The realization that it is time for me to stop blogging came a little over a week ago. There is no crisis or other event that has precipitated this decision. Only a clear and compelling feeling that this is what I am to do at this time.
My agrarian family vision and personal agrarian pursuits will continue. Spring will soon be upon us here in Central New York. It will be time to plant the garden in a few weeks.
My desire to own and work a piece of land beyond my 1.5 acres is still there. My desire to leave the factory job and have a sustainable home business (a more complete family economy) is still there. My desire to remain faithful to my high calling as a father and husband is still there. My desire to grow in my Christian faith and bring glory to God through the life I live is ever on my mind. But now I will pursue these things apart from blogging, for at least the rest of this year and perhaps even longer. I really don’t know how long I will be gone or if I will ever come back.
I have poured myself into my writings here. I have spent countless hours putting the essays together. I have given you a part of my life. And it has been my pleasure to do so.
I have met a lot of decent, down-to-earth folks through this blog. I have met distant relatives I never knew I had. I have learned much. You have enriched my life and blessed me (and my whole family) in many different ways. It has been an amazing experience.
I will miss writing this blog. There is a degree of sadness and mild melancholy that comes with this decision. At the risk of sounding trite and melodramatic, I must tell you that this parting is such sweet sorrow.
God bless and keep you all,
P.S. I have decided to discontinue regular blogging but I will, for the foreseeable future, post a monthly Deliberate Agrarian Update letter. These letters will appear here on the last day of each month for at least the rest of this year. They are a way for me to keep in touch with you and keep you updated on things like the Planet Whizbang Wheel Hoe and other new or interesting developments, as well as some random observations. You will find these Deliberate Agrarian Updates on this site’s Home Page directly below this farewell blog.
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. Ecclesiastes 12:13