It’s Time to Make the Voyage

Posted by Missouri Rev on Nov 15th, 2005

It was only a few days ago that I was greeted at dawn with a bright sun and delightfully warm and perfectly humid breeze seasoned with the rich smells of the Missouri woods. Early this morning, being the deer hunting season of course, I arose to a swirling dense fog interspersed with rain showers, thunder, a cold biting wind, and eventually snow! . . . not exactly good hunting weather, but a great time to make my Peruvian style cup of coffee and grab a moment to write a few words for my blog. Blogging is like writing home while doing duty in some foreign land; it is something one does in the quiet moments between the many hours of unrelenting hard work. I look forward to the day, Lord willing, when all of us can come home to real, Christian agrarian communities where we converse face-to-face over a delightful, homegrown meal before our hearths or at the local cafe where likeminded and covenanted believers fellowship together in the warm atmosphere of true Christian culture. The MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) of blogging, though a vital sustenance and encouragement to the many scattered troops of God’s kingdom who seek a common culture, do not compare to the daily snacks and satisfying meals of true Christian community.

I am very thankful to the Lord for having moved my family to this rural farming area in the heart of America. Taking the call of a small church with only two members in a worn-out old town of 200 with only a Post Office and neighborhood pop machine would to many appear to be insanity, but it has been a real godsend for us – tribulations, heartaches, and all. Though I have only taken a few infant steps towards a full Christian agrarian life and having by no means arrived, I wouldn’t trade what God has given us for anything. Being largely a city boy, though I have spent many years hunting and fishing, the marvels of rural life have made a deep, permanent impression upon me. Even after five years the wonder of it has not worn off, but only increased, as I only grow more enthralled, rooted, and blessed in this splendid land, even with its thorns, bugs, and sweltering Augusts, not to mention an occasional household guest like I had last spring. One would be amazed at who and what comes for a visit when a basement door is left open for an extended period of time in rural Missouri.

I was sitting at this very computer last spring when I heard a loud noise of something falling to the floor in one of the nearby rooms. Realizing that it was not my wife or daughter and being a former cop with an ingrain sense of investigation, I commenced to find the source of this “suspicious noise.” Having found nothing and turning back down the hall I noticed that caught in the bottom of the crack of an opened door there appeared to be a black electric cord. Around it were scattered nails and screws from a can that had fallen to floor, which was the source of the noise. With my eyes I followed the cord up the crack as it grew in size until I reached eye level where I was met nearly nose-to-nose by a jet black snake of robust stature, who had been patiently staring at me with humor because of my blindness of his presence. Suffice it to say, the instantaneous flow of adrenalin brought about my immediate airborne flight backwards. Having returned to earth and after sufficiently calming myself down, I soon realized that the snake was not poisonous, being a beautiful specimen of the invaluable black rat snake, so I caught him in his hasty retreat — airborne as well I imagine as any normal snake would, having come face-to-face with a bearded, enormous giant — whereupon he immediately coiled himself around my bare arm in peaceful surrender and started flicking his forked tongue at me in SOS signals only snakes can understand. Being a self-induced herpetologist from youth (growing up in the rich deserts of Arizona with its myriad of reptiles seems to contribute to such an odd disposition), I made every attempt to get my family to come close for a good observation and lesson in biology, homeschooling at its best. It was an adamant no go!, like the time I tried to get them to come closer to a small, but angry, rattlesnake I had cornered with my walking stick while hiking in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies. With my wife and daughter steadfastly remaining at a healthy distance, I took the blissful creature back outside and released him in a wood pile a good distance from where he gained entrance. All in all, it was a delightful visit, though I think keeping the door closed would be a good idea, especially as it relates to family harmony and the fact that I would like to eat home cooked meals again.

With all of the para-church “ministries” these days like bowlers for Jesus and Cancun vacationers for Christ, maybe room can be made for all of us part-time homespun biologists of the kingdom that love the handiwork of the Lord. It is an unceasing delight for me to behold the creation of God here in rural Ray County — the springtime crops newly sprouted in the rich black fields and the lush flowered pastures, all poised gracefully together like green velveteen fingers interlaced between rolling hills thickly forested with hardwoods. The humid air laden with the splendid smells of bogs and forest floors matted with composting leafs, fallen nuts, and hedge apples. The patchwork of fields carpeted in red clover and graced with fat whitetail deer and nervous turkey. The gloriously loud orchestras of birds, insects, frogs, and feisty squirrels that meet at the height of the summer to sing the praises of their Creator while waves of iridescent light roll across the corn fields at twilight when millions of fire flies gather to dance their annual mating rituals while swarming the nearby trees like swirling strings of twinkling Christmas lights. The magnificent Indian summers and fall harvests rich with apples, pumpkins, hog roasts, bon fires, and fish fries of plump sunfish caught at the local pond. The October forests, like proud peacocks, that briefly display their brilliant plumage of red, orange, and yellow leaves, only to be followed by a more humble period when they look more like tousled, ragged chickens in the middle of a heavy molt. The winter fields that sleep quietly with a blanket of frosted corn stubble while their nearest neighbor, the winter woods, stands rigid like a cold sentinel doing picket duty – all a kaleidoscope of mottled browns and grays shrouded with thick fogs that moan in the sharp cold winds while flocks of crows accompany this lonely music with their occasional raucous calls. The magnificent, diverse cornucopia of God’s creation openly declares His invisible attributes and glorious love, who could miss it?

Mankind in all his economic might, technological savvy, and corporate prowess could never reproduce even one small element of this grand landscape, even with all his powerful “virtual world” capabilities he only mimics His Creator in futile profanity. Ever visit the Kansas City Zoo or the zoo of Kansas City? Man was created to be a faithful steward, not a strip-mining consumer and it is only a matter of time before creation itself rightly vomits him out (Lev. 18:27-28) as an unfaithful husbandman. Besides, who can surpass the marvelous living technology and wisdom found in God’s creation? Why would anyone want to? Why have we become so enamored with the plastic trinkets and pop metal gadgets that rule our virtual world of entertainment and convenience? Why do we eat industrial “food” made with GMO products laced with antibiotics and chemicals? Why do the vast majority of American Christians live in “bedroom communities,” i.e., worker barracks, and commute great distances to jobs and churches while at the same time they adamantly vocalize their concern for the ongoing deterioration of the Christian family and society? Oh the madness of the generational covenantal betrayal that has deceived us all! How is it that Christians everywhere, being deeply dissatisfied with the dead industrial life of a pagan, corporate culture and yearning deeply for real Christian culture, can remain day after day and year after year in the squallored ghettos of pagan dominion, without moving towards God in repentance and reformation, especially when God has promised so much in his Word to those that love Him and keep His commandments? Rather than embark on the voyage that leads across the ocean to the shores of a God-blessed agrarian culture, we stand around on paved parking lots at the dock, pontificating on the virtues of agrarianism while comparing each others equipment, maps, compasses, strategies, and plans we have put together to make the journey, or so we claim. It’s time we all go from theory to practice, it is now time we all cross the Atlantic by faith, while we are still free to make the passage. The Missouri Rev

8 Responses

  1. David McCrory Says:

    Very thoughtful. I am dealing (struggling?) with that very thing.
    I see two ways of try to take “the leap of faith” into agrarianism.

    One is to cut bait and head on out with not much more than the clothes on my back.

    The other would be a slower transisition from suburdan to rural living…meaning a long commute until I could get settled in. The only problem with this concept is that it is easier not to see it out to it’s fruition.

    All that to say I feel for what your saying. Good post.

  2. Hank Says:

    David
    I think to acheive a true agrarnian way of life (I am newly introduced to it by the rev himself) it must be done not as a loner, but rather within the confines of a truely Biblical community under covenant as a people set apart for our Master’s purpose(s). I would suggest not bailing out with the clothes on your back but working toward it in every aspect of your life including your relationship with the Father and with other like minded brothern. Each long journey that has been embarked upon began with a few short steps………
    Lord Bless

    Hank

  3. Missouri Rev Says:

    David, I appreciate your comments. Transitioning is a very difficult process. I have seen both methods — cutting bait and heading on out immediately . . . or taking a slower transition of going back and forth from shore to shore — work, though the slower transition has worked better for most because of the difficulties incumbent with a debt-based system. However, as you observed, the later method has led many to make the slow transition method just another lifestyle without achieving its original purpose. This I do know, until you walk far enough up the teeter tooter to make it pivot downwards, it will always be an uphill battle of futility. The transition must have enough dedicated momentum to take you well beyond the shore so that returning is not easy, but an uphill struggle. In the long run we either believe God that the way He has shown is right and that He will provide or we will be constantly going in circles through fretful pragmatism. I have also found that any reasoning to put it off in order stay behind to build better provisions, though sometimes quite wise and necessary, must be weighed carefully because it can lead to a distrust of God’s provision or fear of never being ready and always needing more. I encourage you to approach your desire by faith, patience, and diligence.

    Hank, I appreciate your comment as well. It was great fellowshipping today. You have hit on a very vital point. Lone ranger Christianity is not biblical and setting out to build an agrarian life in isolation leads to failure or compromise. It’s far more important to be covenanted and to move from there, as our Puritan forefathers did. Suffice to say, however, that many believers find themselves in churches that do not even know what biblical covenanting is or, worse yet, oppose it in ignorance. In this case and given the dreadful condition of our nation today, I believe it is better to move where one can covenant with like-minded believers. This ought to be the first priority in any case where one is moving towards a biblically agrarian life, for it is developed from within true Christian community (the two are inseparable). So often I have seen believers look for land first and then a church second or even third. They usually end up disappointed, frustrated, or compromised.

  4. Hank Says:

    Rev

    The ‘lone ranger’ Christian often finds himself alone, and not Christian.

    Yes, it was good talking with you and I look forward to more discussions in the future. I must say it is a subject that has my attention and has interested me, all though on somewhat of an ignorant level, for some time. Thanks for your service to Him who has calls.

    Lord Bless

  5. Jim Ketchum Says:

    Being one ofthe two original members of the church where Missouri Rev now pastors, I can relate to what many have said here in regards to the struggles of transitioning. I am still going back and forth between shores, kind of like the Israelites looking back at Egypt after the deliverance. It is only when the LORD breaks our confidence in the arm of the flesh that we can move on in Him and begin the process of taking the land He has seen fit to give us under His blessing.

    It is truly a joy to have brethren like Pastor Tom be instruments in God’s hand to encourage, give us insights, and “kicks in the butt” as needed to get on with what Chist has called us to do. I see that I am in a far better place and position now than I was five years ago, now that I am in a local, covenanted community, as small and weak of strength as we appear on the surface to the eye of man. Our only hope we have for anything is in Christ alone.

    Jim Ketchum

  6. yop Says:

    i’m new here.

  7. Missouri Rev Says:

    yop, welcome to the blog of the Missouri Rev.

  8. KSMILKMAID Says:

    An eloquent post, Indeed. I am rather new to the idea of moving and transplanting oneself to a community to like minded believers. Rather, then uproot and search we have bloomed where we have been planted. We created aligned our hearts with God’s word and He supplied the community for us to nourish and harvest in a sense. Unfortunately, the one community we find ourselves moving away from is the one at the local church building we attended so regularly. As we visit less frequently we find worship going on everyday in our lives with our new community. We disciple every day with everyone we meet. I am anxious to see what God has in store for us in this area.

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