It's A Down-To-Earth,
Theological Tour De Force
(Joel Salatin's Newest Book)

Dateline: 5 May 2016 AD

I'm in the midst of a little blogging break but I'm returning to tell you about Joel Salatin's newest book, The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs, which I am in the process of reading. 

Don't let the title mislead you. It isn't a book about pigs. It's a book written directly to professing Christians on the subject of responsible creation stewardship. In short, The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs is a well reasoned, much needed theological slap upside the head of modern mainstream Christianity.

I must confess that I've only read up to page 68 thus far (189 pages yet to read). But I can tell you I haven't enjoyed a book as much as this one in a long time.  It is insightful, thought provoking, spiritually convicting and, occasionally, kind of shocking. The book makes one powerful point after another. Here are a few random quotes that give you a little bit of the "attitude" of this book....


The fact is that the religious right has neglected earth stewardship and given it over to creation worshippers instead of owning it as Creator worshipers.


I would suggest that a culture that views its pigs as just mechanical objects to be reprogrammed and manipulated will view its citizens the same way, and ultimately God the same way. A deity to be manipulated and formed into something of our liking.


We're the first culture in the world that routinely eats things that have never lived. In spiritual parlance, we're ingesting things that are an abomination to our bodies—and then requesting prayer for the ailments that result.


In many ways, GMOs are far more insidious and destructive than alcohol or tobacco...


I find it fascinating that sexual abstinence is front and center on youth Bible study agendas, but junk food orgies are perfectly fine.


For Christians to make jokes about Rachel Carson and the definitive understanding that DDT created infertile frogs, three-legged salamanders, and a dead zone the size of New Jersey in the Gulf of Mexico is simply unconscionable in light of our creation stewardship mandate. The earth is the Lord's, not ours. If we took care of our employers' physical interests the way we take care of God's physical interests, we'd be fired and probably put in jail.


The world we live in is holy. The life we embrace is holy. My dad used to say, "To us, every bush is a burning bush."


There is so much more to this book than those few quotes convey. If you are a Christian and an agrarian (as many readers of this blog are)  there isn't a doubt in my mind that you will enjoy The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs.


magnoliasntea said...

Wow, I mean wow. We must have this book. Thank you for the review.

Carol said...

LOVE this! We'll certainly be reading this one ASAP. Thank you!

Dan Grubbs said...

The book I'm writing is discussing the same theme, but from a more academic approach. I sense God at work on this subject due to the fact so many people are called to communicate about it, such as Joel Salatin, Herrick Kimball, Norman Wirzba, etc.

Herrick Kimball said...

Hi Dan,

I was thinking of you as I was reading certain parts of this book. In a couple places, Joel pretty much says exactly what you were saying in the small excerpt of your book that you sent me. But, of course, he says it is his own unique voice. I'm looking forward to reading your book someday.

CLL said...

Wonderful! I can't wait to read it! It's on order. I've said for many years that I was a Christian "tree-hugger." :)

Dan Grubbs said...

Herrick, I'll attribute any similarity I may have in my book to Joel's messages to the leading of the Holy Spirit. I'm essentially done with the first three chapters of what is outlined to be a seven-chapter book. I'm still in the midst of some research and reading a few other books as background. When done with my manuscript, I'll be sure to share that with you ask seek your insights and commentary before submitting to publisher.


Dan Grubbs, editor
Stewardculture Magazine

Herrick Kimball said...


"Christian tree-hugger" is a self contradictory term to many people. Very confusing. But I understand it perfectly.

I absorbed a lot of anger and verbal abuse when I questioned the wisdom of allowing hydrofracking in my town a few years ago. Most of it was directed at me by a fellow town board member who is a farmer and identifies as a Christian (attends church regularly). He was incredibly disrespectful of me and anyone else in the town who wanted to take a not-now-let's-wait-and-see approach to hydrofracking.

Herrick Kimball said...

As an aside to this post, I'd like to say that I particularly like what Joel's Father says in that last quote from the book. First, it reminds me of my Aphorisms of The Fathers blog post.

Second, the thought that every bush is a burning bush (meaning that God speaks to us through it) reminds me of my favorite poetic excerpt. I've included it in two of my books. I suspect that its meaning goes over some people's heads (those who sit around and pluck blackberries). It is from Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "Aurora Leigh"...

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit around and pluck blackberries.

Scott Cooper said...

I too share these convictions and completely understand. You can be a tree hugger without being a tree worshiper. I really appreciate authors digging into the subject from a scriptural perspective. The prevailing dogma is stifling and is often manifest in the disrespect you speak of, Herrick.

I love this topic and could probably fill this comment stream with a book of my own but I have to get some things done today :). If only we could form a small group to explore biblical stewardship...

Unknown said...

This looks like a book that I've gotta have. Thoughts about being a good steward of God's creation have been rattling around in the old rock tumbler lately.

I read a book called "Beekeeping With a Smile" by Fedor Lazutin this winter that hammered home an idea about being a good steward of God's creation. There was a chapter called, "The Bee Colony's Developmental Cycle" that essentially explains that bees can live just fine without us but the colony will only live for a few years. If they are managed by a loving beekeeper the colony can survive indefinitely.

Apple trees are another part of God's creation that can do just fine without being pruned, but if properly cared for, they can produce abundantly and for much longer than a wild tree can.


CLL said...

Yes, many Christians would be offended by tree-hugger status. But, as Joel said above, it has been the Christians who have abdicated the God-given command to stewardship of the earth He created. When stewardship of the planet became a neutral act with no more importance than what color socks we wear, rather that a fulfillment of the Dominion Mandate, Christians lost all vision of God's command for us to care for the world He created for His glory and for our good. I'm praying this book and more and more conversations like this are a sign that God is waking us up to remember that we are not to be conformed to this world but are to take every thought captive to the obedience of all areas. We do that by going back to His Word. There we will learn to care for His world.

And I love that poem excerpt. It's going in my commonplace book.