So are all agrarians farmers?

Posted by Rural Missourian on Dec 5th, 2007

I have found that in speaking of some of the “agrarian” things we do here that involve Sam & Sadie, goats, chickens, sorghum making, and the like that I often get the reply, “so are all agrarians farmers?” No, in the strict traditional sense, for farming is but one aspect of a myriad that comprises agrarianism, as the visible end result of all forms of agrarianism is human culture, in its entirety, for good or for evil. However, in the greater sense of mankind’s obligation to serve the Lord, we are all farmers directly or indirectly, as we all are answerable to Him for how we live on earth and by what standard.

This means that even the computer geek—who lives his life in seeming total non-agrarian isolation while working his trade from his plastic cubicle nestled on the top story of concrete skyscraper—is an agrarian. How so? His body is entirely dependent upon eating food produced from land somewhere, whose producers subscribe to some form of agrarianism. Though he may not do anything to produce his food directly, the money he earns that buys his food supports the agrarianism that does produce it and, thus, he has his part for which he is accountable.

The Scriptures make it clear that we are all called to be productive agricoles (husbandmen) of the earth in stewarding it according to the law of the land (loy agrarienne), the law of its Creator, the Lord God Almighty.

Agrarian – adj. 1618, borrowed through Middle French in the phrase loy agrarienne agrarian law, from Latin agrarious of the land, from ager (genitive agri) field, see ACRE ; for suffix see –IAN (Chambers Dictionary of Etymology).

Even man’s physical nature is entirely “of the land,” that is, agrarian, as he is made from the dust of the earth and by the dust of the earth he nourishes it.

Every breathing human lives on the Lord’s earth (Psa. 24:1) and derives his food, clothing, and shelter from its resources, thus, he subscribes to some form of agrarianism, knowingly or unknowingly, whether he ever dirties his hands with soil. Biblical agrarianism is the only kind mandated by the Lord for man is not an amoral being like an animal that he should live by bread alone, but is a moral agent answerable to God, Who commands him to live by every word that proceeds from His mouth. All other forms of agrarianism that use any other standard other than God’s law, though they may appear prosperous for a season, are cursed of God and, thus, unsustainable, as the Scriptures make irrefutably clear.

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret—it only causes harm. For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the Lord, They shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, But it shall be no more. But the meek shall inherit the earth, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace (Psa. 37:7-11).

Biblical agrarianism began with man’s calling in the Garden of Eden, Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it (Gen. 2:15). Man was given dominion of the earth (Gen. 1:28) under his Maker to dress (abad – work) and keep (shamar – guard, preserve) it according to His law. Though mankind (through the first Adam its federal head – Rom. 5:12) fell in sin and was cast from the garden, he was still to labor by the sweat of the brow in eating of the ground, though now under a curse. Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life (Gen. 3:17b). After the flood when the Lord once again gave the dominion mandate to mankind through Noah, a righteous man (Gen. 7:1, 9:1-2), the Scriptures state that Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard (Gen. 9:20). David confirms this truth of the seminal calling of man to serve the Lord in exercising dominion over the work of His hands. What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hand; You have put all things under his feet (Psa. 8:4-6).

Under the New Covenant all things have been put under the feet of Jesus Christ the last Adam (1Cor. 15:27, 45-47), the firstborn of the new creation (Rom. 8:29, Gal. 6:15), the King of the rulers of the earth (Rev. 1:4-5) and the Heir for whom the nations and the earth belong (Psa. 2:6-8, Heb. 1:1-4). All peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations are the Lord’s and some come into His Kingdom by His Gospel (Rom. 16:25-27, Rev. 7:9) and others, His enemies, are made His footstool (Heb. 10:12-13). But all are His (Psa. 24:1) and all will bow their knee to Him, some by his grace (Eph. 3:14) and some by His sovereign hand (Phil. 2:9-11). Likewise, the ends of all the earth belong to Lord (not the devil or man, as so many wrongly suppose (Exo. 9:29 & 19:5, Job 41:11, Deu. 10:14, 1 Chr. 29:11, Psa. 24:1, 1 Cor. 10:25-26), for which His people are called to steward in love of Him through obeying all His commandments (John 14:15, 1John 5:3-5), just as Adam was commanded at the beginning. Wherein fallen man could not obey God’s law, being that his depraved nature was contrary to it (Rom. 8: 7-8), the new man in Christ has been empowered to keep it as he walks in the Spirit (Rom. 8:3-4), though not always perfectly, for which he has been given leave to come boldly to his King’s throne of grace to receive forgiveness, mercy, and help (1 John 1:9, Heb. 4:16).

Agrarianism can best be described as the outworking of the law of a given culture’s God/god into the everyday work of the hearts, minds, and hands of its people upon the land they dwell in sustaining themselves while establishing their progeny’s future. For example, a Christian culture is built upon the law of God, which manifests itself in an agrarianism based upon its people applying it by faith to themselves, their disciplines, and the things they use that have a part in its functioning – family, church, state, commerce, trade, money, education, medicine, science, technology, manufacturing, farming, ranching, logging, mining, etc. The things by which human culture functions are varied and extensive, but they all have one common denominator . . . the land. Not only is farming based upon the land, but all of culture is played out on the land or agri as it is expressed in Latin.

So no matter how far a “technologically sophisticated” culture thinks it has advanced beyond the supposed abysmal existence of former “primitive” agrarian cultures, its whole existence is entirely dependent upon the land and rain. “Man—despite his artistic pretensions, his sophistication, and his many accomplishments—owes his existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains (Anonymous).” This must be thoroughly qualified, however. Man owes his existence to God, alone. He owes his earthly source of food to the six-inch layer of topsoil created by the Lord and the fact that He blesses it with nourishing rains according to His merciful love (Mat. 5:43-45). If the Lord were to withhold the rain long enough, not only would farming cease, but all of society would greatly suffer from it and eventually perish if relief did not come. Therefore, agrarianism involves every one of us and absolutely everything we do. This means that there is a direct connection between our morality (the law and ethics we live by, be it godly or wicked) and sustainable productivity and generational continuity.

This is made very clear by the fact that the ungodly acts of those who disobey God’s law defiles the land upon which they live, which, if not repented of, will bring His wrath in eventually be vomited out of the land. One such violation that brings God’s wrath is sexual perversion, something that is rampant in our nation today, for which the Lord warned His people long ago, lest they be vomited out for doing the same.

Leviticus 18:24-30
24 ‘Do not defile yourselves with any of these things [violations of God’s law]; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you.25 ‘For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants.26 ‘You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you27 ‘(for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled),28 ‘lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you.29 ‘For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people.30 ‘Therefore you shall keep My ordinance, so that you do not commit any of these abominable customs which were committed before you, and that you do not defile yourselves by them: I am the Lord your God.’ “

Disobedience also brings disease (Exo. 15:26), famine & drought (Amos 4:6-7), and other “acts of God.”

Whatever we do—no matter how unrelated to “agrarian type things” we think it is—directly affects the land upon which we dwell . . . either in bringing God’s blessing as we obey Him in employing His word to all we put our hearts, minds, and hands to (Deu. 28:1-14), or in bringing the curses of God as we disobey Him (Deu. 28: 15-46). In as much as fallen man continually seeks to circumvent the consequences of his sin like in his futile efforts to develop cures to the diseases that come from his sins, he cannot stop the justice of God, only delay it so that when they do come in their fullness, the results are dire, as history has repeatedly shown. The same can be said for the agrarian practices he employs that destroys the land and its resources. He may think his usurious, debt-based economics will bring peace and prosperity forever, but it is most assuredly an abomination to the Lord, for which He has already begun to bring dire consequences to our nation. Corporate agribusiness may come up with new chemicals, GMO “biologicals,” and products that temporarily thwart the diseases and problems brought on by its earlier meddling in God’s creation, but it will end up creating biological monsters and disasters for which only the mercy of the Lord can stop.

It is of paramount importance for every Christian to know that they are an agrarian by nature and calling, no matter what their career is, even the scholastic pastor that devotes all his time to study and ministry. In fact, the minister of the Word has an even greater responsibility since is he is to teach his flock to fear God and keep His commandments, teaching them to apply the whole of God’s Word to the whole of life in living out the Gospel of the Kingdom – which is none other than biblical, New Covenant agrarianism – which leads to the building of a godly culture. This old grizzled bearded pastor has been down a long, hard road in the school of Christ to which he finally acknowledges his calling as a pastor to lead the flock of his care in repenting and reforming their ways proactively in seeking first the Kingdom of god and His righteousness, as the salt of the earth and light of the world, the pillar and ground of truth. A farmer I am not, as I would not even begin to compare myself with those talented and hard working people who have devoted their whole lives to farming, but an agrarian I am . . . though I must say that I am most thankful to the Lord for having brought me into the life of a biblically agrarian draft mule logger and pasture farmer novice. I do love working with our long eared ballerinas.

It really does make all the difference for us and our children which specific agrarianism we subscribe to, and the only one that God blesses is the one that fears Him by keeping His commandments in employing His word to everything we put our hearts, minds, and hands to. May we all advance the Gospel by the work of our hands by reforming our ways, as the Lord leads and provides.

Thanksgiving — November 2007

Posted by Rural Missourian on Nov 21st, 2007

Here’s to you, your family, and all who love the great King and glorious Savior, Jesus Christ, a very blessed and most encouraging day of Thanksgiving to Him. It is a most fitting day for Christians to unabashedly gather together in His name — and His name only — to offer Him thanks by faith, and none other. May He bless your day and fellowship to His glory and honor.

Though we see, as the Scriptures put it, “the day of trouble” approaching, we know from His Word and history, which vindicates it, that He always provides for His people, even when they cannot see where, how, or when it will come. I believe the days are now upon us where we American believers in particular will learn this vital truth once again in the painful and humbling crucible of fiery trials and grevious tribulation. I say this as a biblical optimist in Christ the King, Who is faithful and will not leave us to languish in generational apostasy, but in His good timing and pleasure, according to His loving kindness and tender mercies, will set His people free from the captivity of their own making, to worship Him once again as a decidedly Christian culture. 

To that end I leave you with this convicting and uplifting poem by our faithful sister and resident poet, Jan Wyller, which she recently penned from her deep stores of personal experience with Christ the King.  Thank you Jan.   — The Rural Missourian

 

Worry is faith

that God will not provide,

That His compassions fail,

That He, the Truth, has lied;

 

True faith is worry’s death,

Grace gift,

Vow of all mercies,

Blood-bequeathed.

 

****

A Glimpse At The Past

Posted by Rural Missourian on Jun 11th, 2007

I thought I would stop and spend a little time enjoying a glimpse of the past with you, as there is so much to learn from it, especially in developing a better perspective of where we have come and where we are going. Since moving to Rayville seven years ago, I have really enjoyed and profited from learning what history I have of Missouri, especially Ray County – which was once known as the “Free State of Ray” – and of course Rayville, which is situated in the heart of a little known region called  “Little Dixie,” a major hotspot during The War of Northern Aggression. Jesse and Frank James grew up on a farm about twenty miles northwest of Rayville and Bob Ford, the scoundrel that murdered him, grew up about 2 miles east of here.

Originally, Rayville was nothing more than a loose knit, unnamed community of farmers that first settled the area around 1815, but when the St. Joseph Branch of the Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific Railway was built, which passed directly through the community, it soon incorporated as the Village of Haller, Missouri, in 1871. In the late 1880’s the name was changed to Hallard after it was discovered that the name Haller was already being used by another community in Missouri, for which time hast lost.  Due to the heavy influence of the railroads, some old maps refer to Hallard as Hallard Station (see the photos below). In 1904 the name was changed one last time to Rayville. The story goes that it was named after the Rayville Post Office, a small mail platform that was situated at Foote’s landing on the tracks of the AT & SF Railroad three miles west of present day Rayville, which platform was “stolen” and relocated in the village at what was later to be the corner of Crowley and Second Streets. Though no one would know it by the looks of our tired little village today, Rayville was once one of the biggest poultry and egg producing centers in all of Missouri. During its heyday from one car to a trainload of wood, grain, livestock, and poultry was shipped daily to New York, Chicago and other cities. Young couples would walk arm in arm along the wooden boardwalks and many families would come from miles around to buy staples or see a doctor. Little is left from those more prosperous days, as the Great Depression ravaged this little village, as it did many small communities throughout the Midwest. What the Great Depression did not destroy, debt-based economics has in displacing the family farm and local community with the enormous juggernaut of global corporate farming and banking.

No, there is far more to the war the James brothers fought than we are told, but since modern Americans wholeheartedly embrace the revised history of the public school system and Hollywood, they will soon have to relearn the painful lessons of history that come upon all people that turn from God to the state as their savior and provider.

Local history has it that Jesse and Frank would visit the Crowley farm (which was situated just east of the village) at night to have their horses fed and get a little rest, only to move on before the sun rose. They had many such loyal sympathizers throughout Clay and Ray County, as the horrific memories of Union atrocities and sanctioned plundering were still fresh in their minds. This area has had more than its share of infamous outlaws or famous heroes, depending on which side of the war one sides with. William Clark Quantrill and his brave band of partisan rangers fought a noble defense in the Sni-A-Bar region of Jackson and Lafayette counties just south of here along the Missouri River. Bloody Bill Anderson died in the Battle of Albany twelve miles south of Rayville, and is buried eight miles southwest of here at Richmond, the county seat of Ray, named after the fine southern city of Richmond, Virginia.

The history is indeed rich and something that gives me a far greater appreciation for the land where the Lord was pleased to place our family and small Christian community, land where blood was shed and lives lost to defend hearth and home, but like other costly memorials to the war their blood and lives have been paved over by the “progress” of the modern corporate state. So much has changed since those difficult days that it is hard to imagine the pioneering generations that stewarded this rich country by hard toil and the sweat of their brows.

Most of the locals, including many that go back for several generations, have no clue to their regional history and, worse yet, they could care less for they, like so many Americans, have been lobotomized by the dazzling world of pagan dominion.  Even so, should one take the time to sit on the bank of the great Missouri on a hot summer night, watching the lightning bugs dance while quietly waiting for the catfish pole to double over, one can still hear the clocklike paddlewheels of steamships, the homespun love ballad on a lonesome banjo, and the loud rebel furies of brave men long dead, but not forgotten.  

As I mentioned many posts ago, I like to learn history through the various collectables I find. Some are from Rayville and the state of Missouri. Still others are from the earlier days of draft animal logging and of course my favorite is the mule, particularly the “Missouri mule.” Many will eventually adorn the walls of Missouri Wood’s office. I have found the most affordable collectables are postcards, where for a few bucks one can gleam a treasure trove of historical insight and humor.  I have included a few below that deal with Rayville and Missouri, though the last one deals with the science of weather.  I have added my observations so you get a glimpse of what I have learned through them. I hope you enjoy them and please comment, as history is something far too valuable to keep to ourselves. — The Missouri Rev

Pictures

This postcard is an advertising promo from 1889 for “Ariosa Coffee” from the Arbuckles Bros. Coffee Company of New York, whose motto is “costs more and is worth more than other brands of coffee.”  Try selling that pitch at Wal-Mart today!! On the right is a picture of river traffic and on the left a mule roundup. 

 

This postcard is postmarked August 1937 from Rockaway Beach, Missouri.  It states, “Uncle Ike,” the old postmaster at the cross roads, Notch Missouri. Uncle Ike is a character in Harold Bell Wright’s book, The Shepherd of the Hills.  The man in the picture is Levi Morrill (1837 to 1926) who actually was the postmaster at Notch, Missouri, whom Wright based his character on.  I wonder if old Levi fought in the war? 

 

Here is a picture of the mail carrier and a team of mules posing with old Levi Morrill (courtesy of the Harold Bell Wright website — hbw.addr.com.)   

On the reverse side of the postcard is found truth funnier than fiction and so typical of the humble Ozark folks. It reads, Dear Belle, Bob & Ruth . . . Going over to Shepherd of the Hills country tomorrow to see Uncle Matt’s cabin and the place on the other side of this card.  The girls and Richard are having a good time.  Fern fell down the Capitol steps at Jeff City and broke herself up.  Caught a big mess of fish at Bagnell Dam fifteen.  We’ll be home late Sunday night . . . Love & Kisses Fern & Jack.   

  

This card states, On our way to success . . . Now all together.  It is a promotional card for Limestone Valley Farms of L.M. Monsees & Son, reknown jackstock breeders of Missouri.  The woman is pulling the mammoth jack (ass) while one young man is leveraging it from behind with a pole and another is about to wack it.      

The reverse side states, Home of the largest and best herds of prize-winning registered mammoth jacks and jennets in the world.  This card is from around 1904 when telegraph and telephone stations coexisted.   

 

 

This postcard is a real gem.  It pictures “The Old Stick Chimney” and states, the Nathan Swafford house was built in pioneer days by Larkin Shelton, Sr.  It has hewed puncheon floor, clapboard roof and round logs daubed.  Although it was one of the relics of pioneer days, it is still occupied.  This house is on the farm where the legendary McElwee gold mine is supposed to be located.  I hunt on the same Swafford farm today, which is located about two miles north of Rayville in the lush valley of Rocky Fork Creek.  Though I have never found the lost mine, I have had some wonderfully rich times trouncing in the deep forests which surround it.  What the card states next tells it all as it regards the heritage of freedom this land once enjoyed, This postcard is sent as a souvenir of the “Free State of Ray” and as a reminder of the good old days of Missouri.  Should we forget the example of our forefathers and the words of wisdom and common sense that come down to us from those happier if not better days of the past?     

The reverse side gives the postmark, Vibbard, MO – Aug 19, 1908.  Five miles northwest of Rayville, Vibbard is now but a small cluster of homes.  The post office has long left. 

 

Pictured is the train station in Rayville around 1900.  If you look carefully you can see the old faded name of HALLARD under the new name of RAYVILLE.  

 

This postcard was made specially for the one pictured, which was a common practice.  The young man is posing most likely for his darling.  All spiffed up in suspenders, a tie, and a clean white shirt, he is ready to “go a courtin” in a fine buggy.  I am not sure where this was taken, but the postmark is from Rayville, MO – Aug 1908.    

The reverse side gives some clues to the man’s intentions, Hellow Flossie . . . How are you   I got your Post Card and I will answer it So By By.  It is addressed to a Miss Flossie Tarwater, Harlem, MO.  It makes you wonder what became of them.   

 

I end on a humorous note with a postcard that is postmarked June 1907, which features a classic “mule barometer,” a precision instrument which is scientifically accurate . . . when used according to the complicated directions:

Hang outside

If tail is dry..Fair

If tail is wet..Rain

If tail is swinging..Windy

If tail is wet and swinging .. Stormy

If tail is frozen..Cold

 

I have plenty more postcards to share with you.  Let me know if they have been worth it for you.

 

 

 

Alas, the Apologia is finished!

Posted by Rural Missourian on May 16th, 2007

Alas, the long in coming apologia on Missouri Wood’s use of mules as a Christian business is finished. Though it primarily focuses on the breeding and use of mules as it relates to Leviticus 19:19, the “smoking gun” passage most widely used by those that oppose such practices, it also addresses the many similar issues of God’s law that are all related to a far more difficult subject to master, rightly transitioning God’s law and its use from the Levitical priesthood of Aaron under the Old Covenant to the Melchizedek priesthood of Christ under the New Covenant. The New Testament identifies many such related issues of this reformational transition such as food, drink, clothing, feasts, sabbaths, holidays, washings, unclean nations, and other things that were all regulated by Old Covenant law that fell under the category of “fleshly ordinances” per Hebrews 9:9-10. Though the mule issue may not be your forte, I’ll bet one of these other related issues may be of concern to you or someone close to you.  It’s worth the read.

It didn’t take anymore time to write it than I expected and I did manage to keep to my limit of twenty pages, but the time used to write it was measured to me in very small increments spread between many other jobs of greater importance. I apologize for the many months it took. Stacey, this one is for you.

It is published in a PDF format so you can either read it on your computer or in hard copy after printing it off. Here is the link: An Apologia for the lawful breeding and use of Mules under the New Covenant. If you have problems opening or reading it, you can let me know by sending an e-mail to:

RuralMissourian[at]CRCRayville.org.

— The Missouri Rev

The god behind Pagan America

Posted by Missouri Rev on Jan 13th, 2007

In an excellent article posted at Lew Rockwell’s website and simply entitled 1913, writer Michael Tuggle elaborates on the revolutionary year of 1913 when our constitutionally limited government was finally conquered and through legislative fiat morphed into a powerful imperial state. (I suggest you read it before reading this posting, as it is the basis for this latest diatribe.) I might add the largest and most powerful the world has ever seen and one the Caesars of the Roman Empire would have envied, thanks to the empowering that year of the world’s most beloved and powerful god, mammon, through the establishing of the Federal Reserve. Though there were many nation changing events that took place in the infamous year of 1913, the one with the greatest impact by far was the founding of the Federal Reserve (Fed) — a private, central bank which was granted total control over our nation’s money.

Why is this one of greatest impact? The mother’s milk of a pagan culture is pagan money. Cultural revolutions always incur tremendous costs which must be fully financed to be successful. Without its trillions of pagan dollars — which were sufficient to buy and takeover America’s institutions, especially its government, media, education, and economy — the latest revolution would have sputtered into oblivion. The America of today has a distinct pagan nature specifically because it has suckled at the ample breast of the Fed for nigh unto one hundred years, which has been a faithful nursemaid in providing an unlimited supply of fiat (virtual) currency enhanced by usury. [I do not have time to go into it here, but the debt-based economic system of America is irrefutably wicked and, thus, cursed of God, just as our present culture that was nurtured and built upon it.]

From 1913 on our nation has undergone a radical change in its culture from apostate Christian to brazen pagan, though it first began this generational decent into humanism when in open defiance of King Jesus, the Supreme Sovereign, “we the people” installed themselves as the republic’s sovereign, which launched them pellmell unto the dangerous path of democracy, a polytheistic form of government where the people supposedly live freely through the pragmatic electoral process of choosing its rulers from “the lesser of two evils.” This is clearly strong delusion for the depraved hearts of fallen men always seek to pervert and control the world and his fellow man to their own lawless, greedy ends, as history has repeatedly shown and as our nearly diminished wallets and freedoms prove.

By 1800 the Enlightenment movement of Europe had made fatal inroads into the northern states, which led to a division in our nation between the Hamiltonians, empowered by the industrial bankers who sought a centralization of Federal powers, and the Jeffersonians who sought to maintain the decentralized agrarian culture our nation was originally founded as. The War of Northern Aggression soon ended this fight and the reconstruction (read systematic destruction) of the Agrarian South soon followed. I marvel at the number of proud “Southerners” today who boast of their Confederate ancestors, yet worship the very god and economic system that their brave ancestors fought and died against.

President Lincoln, in a letter written in 1864 to Col. William F. Elkins, clearly understood the dreadful powers that empowered and enabled him to wage war against the constitutional republic of America. “The money power preys upon the nation in times of peace and conspires against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the republic is destroyed.”

His predication was “right on the money” (pardon the pun), as America, brought under the power of wicked men through the worship of mammon, passed from being the world’s freest republic into the world’s largest debtor state, also the world’s greatest fascist (corporate) state, which now spreads its gospel of “freedom by mammon” to the world by means of its mighty bayonet. Perhaps this is why Lincoln was posthumously enshrined as a national god in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, where he sits enthroned upon a royal seat of corporate imperialism while looking straight down the road to the distant Arlington House, the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee, which was taken from this godly man as a spoil of pagan war.

Personally witnessing the fulfilment of Lincoln’s prediction in my own life puts me in far greater awe of the words of Jesus where He forewarned His people about serving mammon. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). Of all the gods of the Roman Empire He could have chosen to make this point, He chose the chief god of all of mankind, mammon, since by it man empowers his rebellion to God in seeking to cast off the bonds and cords of His loving, restraining hand (Psalm 2). My how mankind hates the Law of God, even His own people!

If ever biblical reformation is to take place in America, it must begin first with the Lord’s people repenting from the idolatry of mammon worship, for they cannot serve both the Lord and their own personal financial kingdoms made possible through our debt-based usurious money system. By God’s grace they will have to wean themselves off of the breasts of mammon and turn back to God for their future and to His Law as their final standard for the whole of man for the whole of life. This will not be easy, by any means, and may take several generations of faithful repentance one small step at a time, but the alternative is national destruction, for God is not mocked, especially by His people who have His law written on their hearts.

“I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a native green tree. Yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more; indeed I sought him, but he could not be found. Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; for the future of that man is peace. But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; the future of the wicked shall be cut off” (Psalm 37:35-38).

Though the wicked may continue to spread their great power over the earth, it is only for a season. Without a doubt, mammon is the great power behind the corporate state that has the present dominion over us. It happens to also be its Achilles tendon, a very thin sinew that could easily be severed should God’s people turn back to Him in reestablishing true Christian culture in rebuilding local Christian communities with local economics and decentralized governments that operate by the just weights and honest measures of biblical money. — The Missouri Rev

Wry Bread

Posted by Missouri Rev on Nov 17th, 2006

The Lord has blessed our small community with Jan Wyller, a resident poet and native Missourian, no less. The two make a great combination. I am pleased to announce that her first set of poems — Wry Bread – Uncommon Thoughts on Common Themes — has been published. As her pastor and editor, it is a real joy to see her faith and God given talents bear fruit. Here is one of my favorites:

No vagrant graces
caught by each alone,
These, and more,
from His Providence come down:

Invincible gratitude,
locked-in peace,
Sewn fast forever
in the hearts
Of those He owns.

James 1:17, 3:17-18

If you would like to purchase a copy for $10 you can write Jan at PO Box 196, Rayville, Missouri 64084.

You, even yourself, shall let go of your heritage which I gave you.

Posted by Missouri Rev on Nov 15th, 2006

In the last few days World Net Daily published a couple of articles bewailing the fact that America’s distinct Christian heritage is being removed from the pages of history and openly perverted concerning national monuments dedicated to it. Tour guides at the Supreme Court building have spun a new explanation to the sculptured marble panels above its grand bench that depict two central figures, the Majesty of the Law and the Power of Government and between them a tableau of the Ten Commandments, only now they have become the “first ten amendments to the Bill of Rights.” Tour guides at the Jamestown Museum and Settlement give only secular purposes for the founding of the Jamestown colony, hiding and maligning the far greater Christian cause behind their noble work.

This shouldn’t surprise nor alarm us since it has been happening in plain sight for many decades. The reasons behind the demolition of our heritage and the increasing attacks against our Christian faith were not given in any of these articles, however, which is something I think is very important, as I am far more interested in the remedy than in the problem. As the bearers of the Gospel — the salt of the earth and light of the world, the pillar and ground of the truth — the Church is to have answers, not just hopeless news reports, especially when it is discovered that her sins are the problem. Do not misunderstand me; I am not against reporting news as this is certainly vital, but how much bad news do we need to know in detail before we see the handwriting on the wall and genuinely turn to God for the answer? God forbid that it be said of America, as it was of Israel prior to its destruction in 70 AD, Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.

If America was indeed founded by God fearing Christians by the omnipotent hand and merciful grace of the Supreme Sovereign, the Lord Jesus Christ, which I believe is clearly the case, how is it the Lord’s transcending authority and power over Heaven and earth could not preserve it a distinctly Christian nation? To learn the answer is to learn the remedy. Though unregenerates in authority are openly tearing down the Christian heritage of America, they are not the problem, but merely the symptom, sent of the Lord, no less. When the Lord’s people turn their back on Him by casting His law behind their backs as the final, transcendent standard for their lives and instead turn to the unregenerate inhabitants around them in seeking their peace and prosperity — as they have in heartily embracing the wicked economic system of today which is irrefutably a gross violation of God’s law, among many reasons — then He gives them over to their new lovers, who soon make them their slaves. In our case the original banners of our glorious heritage are being torn down and history rewritten to extol the virtues of the great Moloch state that conquered the progeny of America’s Christian founders and handily converted them over to the great two headed god that rules our nation, mammon and democracy.

This, of course, is nothing new as it happened to Israel when she courted pagan lovers. In enacting the vengeance of the covenant (Lev. 26:25) He made with them, the Lord put her into captivity under them and took away their heritage with Him. The same has happened to us.

“The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron; With the point of a diamond it is engraved on the tablet of their heart, and on the horns of your altars, while their children remember their altars and their wooden images by the green trees on the high hills. O My mountain in the field, I will give as plunder your wealth, all your treasures, And your high places of sin within all your borders. And you, even yourself, shall let go of your heritage which I gave you; and I will cause you to serve your enemies in the land which you do not know; for you have kindled a fire in My anger which shall burn forever.” Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit (Jeremiah 17:1-8).

We Christians have only ourselves to blame for the demise of our once Christian republic. Our glorious and precious heritage was given to us by the Lord under certain requirements: if you love me, keep my commandments. It was not something that was an automatic given where God’s face will perpetually shine upon us, especially today when a president “professes faith” while leading the cause of “freedom” in forcing democracy and mammon upon a foreign nation by the end of the world’s greatest gun barrel.

No, it’s not enough to make public outcries in rending the cheap garments of talk. It’s time we rend our hearts in repenting and reforming our ways according to the commandments of God. “Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm. — The Rural Missourian

Great God, our King! Amen

Posted by Missouri Rev on Aug 30th, 2006

When I was a boy blindly slogging my way through the public school system we use to sing the patriotic song, America, which starts with the words, My Country, ‘Tis of Thee . . . Being raised an atheist, I had no clue who the “Thee” was and even at that time it wasn’t kosher to talk about the specifics of the song in our school, so it remained obscure and quite boring. All I knew is that it had something to do with Thanksgiving (now my favorite of all holidays), since that is when we sang it the most.

As I have been studying the very rich, covenantal history of the Puritans, I ran again across this ancient hymn, that’s right, hymn, as it professes the absolute Sovereignty of God as our nation’s King. It was written in 1831 by Rev. Samuel Francis Smith in the already waning days of our nation, since it was by then turning from Him in high-minded, pragmatic covenant breaking. Nonetheless, the song truly reflects the Puritan roots and faith behind the founding of our once Covenanted Christian Republic. As a child, I do not recall singing the last three stanzas, especially the last one. Had we sung them all, I might have gotten my first glimmering light of the true gospel, for the words of this hymn are powerful and enlightening. Once more, it reflects the biblical agrarian attitude that once prevailed in our nation.

America

1. My country,’ tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From every mountainside let freedom ring!

2. My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free, thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills, like that above.

3. Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees sweet freedom’s song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break, the sound prolong.

4. Our fathers’ God, to thee,
Author of liberty, to thee we sing;
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by thy might, great God, our King! Amen

There is one stanza that was crossed out by Smith in the original manuscripts, which would be quite appropriate to sing today in reminding us of the tremendous and sacred cost our founders paid to give us the very freedoms we have tossed out in pursuit of “happiness and the American dream.” It was originally the third stanza:

No more shall tyrants here
With haughty steps appear
And soldier bands.
No more shall tyrants dread
Above the patriot dead;
No more our blood be shed
By alien hands.

It is the very last line of the hymn — Protect us by thy might, great God, our King! Amen — which jumps out at me and thrills my heart, especially its bold proclamation of faith in declaring the Lord Almighty our nation’s Protector, God, and King. This is quite true and very reassuring, though the converse is soberly true as well . . . that, in being these very things to us, He is also America’s Witness, Judge, and Executioner when the very people it was established for, true Christians, turn their backs on Him in blind covenant breaking, presuming that His blessings will always come, no matter how much they unequally yoke themselves with the unregenerate around them in seeking their godless peace and prosperity in serving mammon together with them.

The Puritans warned us of the judgments we now suffer under today. John Winthrop (1588-1649), Puritan founder of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, aboard the Arbella (June 11, 1630), authored the writing, A Model of Christian Charity, which became a standard for future covenants of the Colonies. These two glorious paragraphs from it says it all:

If the Lord shall please to hear us, and bring us in peace to the place we desire, then hath He ratified this Covenant and sealed our Commission, will expect a strict performance of the Articles…the Lord will surely break out in wrath against us. Now the only way to avoid this shipwreck and to provide for our posterity, is to follow the counsel of Micah, to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God. For this end, we must be knit together in this work as one man. We must hold a familiar commerce together in each other in all meekness, gentleness, patience, and liberality. We must delight in each other, make one another’s condition our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our Commission and Community in this work, as members of the same body. So shall we keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace . . .

We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies, when He shall make us a praise and glory, that men of succeeding plantations shall say, “The Lord make it like that of New England.” For we must Consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world, we shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God and all professors for God’s sake; we shall shame the faces of many of God’s worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us till we be consumed out of the good land whether we are going. (Winthrop, John. 1630, “A Model of Christian Charity.” Stewart Mitchell, editor, The Winthrop Papers, 1623-1630 (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1931), Vol. II, pp. 292-295)

May we all someday sing this hymn on the good side of faithful covenant keeping, should our Lord and King be pleased to grant us repentance and reformation from true hearts of steadfast obedience. Even so, come Lord Jesus, utterly break us and deliver us from the captivity of our generational rebellion, for it would be far better to fall into His hands, though they administer His painful, righteous wrath, than to continue to live as slaves under the wicked, corrupt hands of fallen men He has placed over us because we will not submit ourselves under His. — The Missouri Rev.

Odds & Ends – August 2, 2006

Posted by Missouri Rev on Aug 2nd, 2006

An Apologia is Coming

Since I have received so many inquiries concerning whether mules, as a hybrid, are a biblically lawful animal to use in Christian agrarianism, I have undertaken to write an article (still in progress) that gives the biblical apologia behind our choice of the mule for Missouri Woods. Since we at Missouri Woods are decidedly postmillennial, theonomic, and covenanted, our decision was by no means done in haste or blind presumption, but came following more than a decade’s worth of dedicated study of the Old and New Covenants, particularly as they apply to business, economics, and community, all of which laid the extensive presuppositional foundation behind our decision to use mules. Condensing down a decade’s worth of study and sermons into a defense of the mule has been a lot of work, though quite rewarding, as it has been a powerful litmus test for me in biblical consistency and application.

As would be expected, I have found that the hybrid issue of mules matters little to many believers, even some “agrarians,” as it has not crossed their radar screen as an issue to be biblically resolved, much like other far larger issues which go ignored such as debt-based economics (1Cor 7:23, Rom. 13:8-10) and yoking with unbelievers for mutual peace and prosperity (Ezra 9:10-12, 2Cor. 6:14-18). This is why it encourages me that some see it as an issue, since it indicates a certain level of epistemological self-consciousness on their part. Indeed, it has elicited tremendous responses all the way from glowing approbations and support to bold accusations and condemnation. One website makes the amazing proclamation that anybody using mules is plainly going to hell. Yeow! I wonder if this group’s book of church order is used by the Lord as the final standard for His Book of Life and whether it is so heavy that it takes a mule to pack it around?

Writing this position paper has not been a quick or easy thing to do, either, especially in keeping it small enough for a blog posting, since it requires laying a minimal foundation from the whole of God’s Word sufficient to establish our vision and works as lawful according to the law of the Lord under the New Covenant, and I emphasize New Covenant. And to do this rightly requires that one first make the proper biblical transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant, from the law that was a “shadow of good things to come” to the law of the “substance” of those good things that have come, which is of Christ (Col. 2:16-17; Heb. 9:11, 10:1).

In this transition some law passed straight over from the Old to New Covenant such as the moral law prohibiting murder, theft, adultery, bearing false witness, etc. (1Tim 1:8-11), though the laws of punishment specific to the nation state of Israel have passed away or changed such as Numbers 5:11-28, which calls for a levitical priest to cause a woman suspected of adultery “to drink the bitter water that brings a curse” to see if she is guilty. Some law passed away with the Old Covenant’s demise such as the law of the Levitical priesthood, commonly called the ceremonial law, which law, in being fulfilled by Christ, has passed from shadow to substance under the Melchizedek Priesthood of Christ (Heb. 7:12, 9:9-10). Some law passed away that was particular to the civil affairs of the Old Covenant nation state of Israel, which passed away in 70 AD, such as the laws dealing with specific nations around them like the Canaanites, etc. Though its origins are found in the shadow laws of the Old Covenant, some law begins anew with the New Covenant, such as the ordinances given to the Church by Christ, like water baptism and Lord’s Table.

To not sort these various laws out or to ignore God’s law altogether is to err in a most perilous manner, because Jesus Christ, as the Supreme Sovereign of Heaven and earth, commands us to keep His commandments . . . commandments, however, that are specific to His Kingdom under the New Covenant, and not the old which passed away. And to not keep His commandments is to hate Him, which, without repentance, brings judgment and death. But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; all those who hate me love death (Pro. 8:36).

We must study to show ourselves approved unto the Lord in rightly resolving this vital transition. Otherwise, we can easily end up keeping law that has passed away – such the case with certain believers that went back to the shadow law of animal sacrifice and suffered dreadful judgment in treading underfoot the Son of God (Heb. 10:26-31) – while simultaneously transgressing law that has transitioned from being a shadow under the Old Covenant into its substance reality under the New Covenant. One huge example are the shadow laws of the Old Covenant that prohibited yoking between Jews and Gentiles, which were abolished by Christ’s death on the cross (Eph. 2:14-18). Today we are to keep the law of their substance realty under the New Covenant, the law that prohibits the regenerated believer of the new creation to unequally yoke with the unregenerate unbeliever of the old creation (2 Cor. 6:14-18).

I am aware of many well meaning Christians and churches, who seeking to live by the old shadow law, work hard to strain any and all offensive gnats out of their doctrinal soup, that is, violations of certain fleshly ordinances of the Old Covenant law (Heb. 9: 9-10), while blindly swallowing many copious camels floating around in the same soup, which are violations of the substance laws of Jesus Christ under the New Covenant. God the Son, the Sun of Righteousness (Mal. 4:2), has risen as the brightness of the noonday to forever dispel the shadows of the Old Covenant law that we might live in the substance of His good things; let us all be careful, therefore, not to go back to the weak and beggarly things long since past away (Gal. 4:9).

I am doing my best to finish this task without creating a tome. I must say, however, that although R.J. Rushdoony did an excellent job of writing an apologia for the use of God’s Law today under the New Covenant, it took him over 800 pages to do it, which became The Institutes of Biblical Law, volume I. Though I do not agree with everything in it, it is an excellent book to help develop an epistemologically self-conscious worldview for living out our faith on a daily basis in the real world under the New Covenant.

Mules & Autos circa 1908

As an avid student of history, I find great value in getting a glimpse into the worldviews of those that have gone on before us, especially as it regards issues that were new to them but have since become history to us, such as technology, economics, etc. Though I greatly value good history books, I have found that photos and postcards also do a good job in giving such a glimpse, which is why I take pleasure in collecting them. Sometimes a picture and a few words can speak volumes. I ran across a gem of a postcard from 1908 (below) which caught my attention, as it contains a myth about mules that still persists today, as well as a brief commentary by the sender about an up and coming technology for their time, the automobile, and how he saw mules relate to it.

Example

The photo is of a wagon train comprised of three wagons in tandem and a team of 12 mules. Since there is no seat on the front wagon for a teamster, it is likely he rode the rear mule on the port side of the team, what we would call the driver’s side in an American car today. The caption below the photo states, “Mule teaming out West.”

Example

The caption on the backside contains the myth, “Stampedes are frequently very serious affairs with a large mule train, notwithstanding the willingness and patient qualities of that animal, he can act absurdly as a Texas Steer, and is easily frightened at nothing.” Now I am sure that a runaway mule train is a very serious affair that will definitely get one’s adrenalin pumping, probably quite similar to a runaway 18 wheeler today except they weigh far more and go much faster, but it is not true that mules act absurdly and easily frighten at nothing. I concede, however, that it all depends upon how one defines absurd and nothing. Nonetheless, many mules and horses throughout history have been literally skinned by the whips of their animated drivers who were intent upon teaching them their definitions. One wonders if some of these stampedes were the result of uneducated teamsters that drove their animals to panic out of their own ignorance and ineptness. In observing most cars these days on freeways it seems to me that it is clearly the human driver that acts absurdly, though they do not frighten at much, which explains the frequent fatal pileups in dense fog of fast moving clusters of vehicles, packed bumper to bumper . . . which is truly ABSURD’, a. [L. absurdus, from ab and surdus, deaf, insensible.] Opposed to manifest truth; inconsistent with reason or the plain dictates of common sense (The American Dictionary Of The English Language, Noah Webster, 1828).

Nearly always when a mule stops on his own, it’s because something has definitely caught its attention, be it dangerous exhaustion, serious pain, or something external, which is something the driver needs to check out, and not always assume as asinine stubbornness. As little as we humans assume mules think, it’s after they have given it some thought (in stopping) that they act, which actions are largely centered on self preservation, which is also a good thing for their drivers. This is why since 1922, when records were first officially kept, that there have not been any serious mishaps with the hundreds of mules that have taken thousands of riders up and down the very steep, panic inducing trails of the Grand Canyon.

A lot of times the issue that stops the mule is something harmless and so the driver is to patiently work them past it to help build the team’s confidence in him, something I witnessed and admired with our Amish muleskinning friend when we went for a ride with him and his team back in May (see the Sam & Sadie posting). But many times, however, what stops a mule is something quite dangerous. He shares the story of one of his friends that took off on his reliable riding mule to visit a nearby neighbor. It had been a very pleasant trip until the mule suddenly stopped, which was unusual for him. Now mind you the mule didn’t take off in a panic or act absurd, but he wasn’t about to budge either. At first he thought the mule was having a testing moment, as some young mules are noted to have, but upon a quick investigation he discovered a live rattlesnake coiled in the trail a few yards ahead of the mule. What a mess it would have been had he spurred the mule forward, as it is likely the mule would have suddenly gone one way and him the other.

It turns out that mules have a very keen sense of danger and are quite reliable under very pressing circumstances. Many GI’s in the Burma conflict of WWII owe their lives to the faithful mules they used to pack in their artillery and supplies. Amazingly, when they came into a firefight with the expert jungle fighters of the Imperial Army of Japan the mules usually managed to figure out where the enemy was not and go there in quickly leading the ambushed men to safety. At night when it was the safest though hardest to travel, the GI would often hold unto the tail of the mule in front of him to help him up the muddy steep trails in the pitch black darkness of the deep jungle.

Example

As I said earlier, the brief commentary of the sender of the postcard was also most interesting, “Los Angeles May 15. /08 – Dear Captain: I Arrived to-day. had no use for any such teams as you see on this card Hope I wont need any going back Had no accident of any kind Except one puncture to-day. N.A.” As this might have been something new for N.A. to travel by car, he (or she) was certainly glad to have had no use for such mule teams. N.A.’s few words have taken us back to a very brief moment in time, the very beginning of the automobile age in the early 1900’s, where the old was rejected and the new embraced, something we are especially use to in our age of rapidly changing technology. For Americans of a century ago the up and coming golden age of the personal automobile looked promising in saving them from the “serious affairs” of previous technology. I wonder if the American farmer of the 1940’s and 50’s who have since lost their farms to the “progress” of modern agribusiness feel the same about when they quickly dumped their draft animal teams for the tractor?

Now flash forward 100 years to today. The same myths prevail about mules, though now over 40,000 Americans die every year on our highways and many hundreds of thousands suffer serious injuries, a heavy toll that we unhesitatingly accept as the cost of progress in a mobile society . . . and at a price that all of us pay with the increasing premiums and diminishing coverage of mandatory auto insurance, due to unending litigation which cost billions. Now, unless I am quickly dismissed out-of-hand as being a Luddite, I do not hate the internal combustion vehicle and use one myself, though far less, now that I am transitioning into biblical agrarianism within a local Christian community. Yes, automobiles are particularly nice with heaters, air conditioning, and windshield wipers, but the latest models have come to cost a fortune to purchase, maintain, and repair. Even though it didn’t have air conditioning, I miss my old 1956 dodge pickup with its ugly red paint, gull wing hood, and three-on-the-tree transmission. It was easy and quite affordable to repair, and it had enough metal in it to stop softball size hail without a dent, which it did in the famous hailstorm of Ft Collins, Colorado, in 1978.

If push came to shove, like gas getting too expensive or regulatory controls too costly and onerous, could I survive using a team of mules to get around with, even in the cold winters and hot, humid summers of Missouri? Lord willing, I think and hope so, but only by His grace as I am faithful to humble myself and keep covenant with my fellow brother and sisters. Do I think such a time is coming? It’s likely, for God is not mocked and our arrogant nation has been sowing the seeds of a major humbling experience for many generations. This does not bode well for most Americans, however, as their automobiles have become an absolute and very expensive necessity that they depend upon entirely to survive in the rootless, scattered society of today, where commuting many miles a day is required to make ends meet while traveling between work and their bedroom communities, where they have no connection to the land except as a place to eat their store bought food and sleep. A team and buggy would never do in such a lifestyle, and rightly so. The problem is not the team, however, but the scale and scope of a wicked culture that has made Americans slaves of technologies that govern their lives in reducing them from debt-free producers to consumers addicted to credit.

The gospel of pagan progress assumes that all new technology, in and of itself, is always good for mankind, no matter what it is or what it costs. It is an outcome of mammon worship that sees the technology it produces as a savior of sorts. And so we Americans have been catechized to embrace all technology without much thought and by the time we realize what harm most of it brings, it’s too late, progress marches on as we are forced by the economic and political powers that be to use their “salvific technologies.” Fallen man hates to be subject to the merciful boundaries of God’s law, especially those that govern his wallet and the work of his hands, which explains why he panics when he comes near it and acts so absurdly in driving his air conditioned vehicle of technological progress over the cliff of his own insanity, the consequences of his refusal to bow the knee to the Great Physician and King, the Lord Jesus Christ. – the Missouri Rev.

MULE-ISMS

Posted by Missouri Rev on Jul 5th, 2006

What do sweeps, shovels, scooters, twisters, half shovels, muley twisters, half sweeps, bull tongues, buzzard wings, scrapers, and subsoilers have in common? They are all terms once used by American farmers to describe the various shapes of the plows they used in working the soils of our nation. I discovered this little known gem of an Americanism when I ran across the term ‘muley twister’ while doing research on draft mule logging. As is the case whenever one digs into a trade abandoned by a culture long ago, one discovers many terms that need defining, like ‘muleskinner.’

In working through this fun process I have had the help of a wonderful book my wife picked up at a public school auction, A Dictionary of Americanisms on Historical Principles (Mitford M. Mathews 1951). She picked up a large box of old “archaic” dictionaries for $1, a veritable treasure trove for one who loves history and enjoys writing. Amazingly, every one of these books has the word “DISCARDED” stamped in bold on the opening page. Yup, the minds of the American children have long been discarded, as there is no need for them to learn their American heritage, as they might get the wrong impression about the great multicultural, polytheistic democracy they worship 5 days a week during the school year. Besides, there is nothing worse than having your own cannon fodder turn on you by coming to the knowledge of the truth!

Below is a small list of interesting “muleisms,” a new word for your agrarian vocabulary that I wished I would have coined. The mule at one time was a major contributor to the American economy and way of life, which is why it has spawned dozens of words and sayings over the years. Each entry has a basic definition and sentence where it is used from the past in a song, book, magazine, or newspaper (which are dated). Many of these sentences are quite funny like “If only I had studied carpentry or mule skinning instead of ballet.” For a great homeschooling project I suggest you have your children do the research and compile their own list of Americanisms; it’s not only loads of fun, it’s quite educating.

I am also working on a list of old mule sayings. Though it might take hours of research, hard work, and great sacrifice, “I’ll do it if it harelips a mule!– The Missouri Rev

Missouri Mule – was once considered the best mule bred; the term was first coined at the 1904 World’s Fair in St Louis. (1923) Nation. “Then there is the Missouri mule. He it was who won the war [WWI].” (1947) Time – Of Mules & Men. “The celebrated Missouri mule, isolationist by temperament, has been having some rude shocks, is due for more.” [According to the article, it appears that some Missouri mules which had been exported to Mexico were giving the Mexicans some troubles for which they were destined for some “rude shocks” because they believed they were too pampered. Said Mexico City’s Ultimas Noticias: “It is said that the mules must be bathed every eight days . . . . Loosely paraphrasing from the classic Bogart movie Treasures of the Sierra Madre, “Care? We don’t need to give them mules no stinking care!” – TCM]

Mulada – a drove of mules, (1846) Abert Exam. N. Mexico. “Flocks of golden-headed troopials . . . mingled most sociably with the common cow-bird, and all in great glee were catching grass-hoppers in the vicinity of our mulada.”

Muleskinner – the name for the whip used to drive mule teams, (1912) Wason Friar Tuck. “He would stand up an’ yell, crack his mule-skinner, and send the ponies along on a dead run.”

Muleskinner – the name of those who drive mule teams, akin to bull whacker, who would “skin” the mule with a whip to move them on. (1888) Century Mag. “These prairie schooners usually go together, the brawny teamsters known either as “bull-whackers’ or as “mule-skinners,’ stalking beside their slow moving teams.

Muleskinning the profession of driving a team of mules. (1945) MacDonald Egg & I. “If only I had studied carpentry or mule skinning instead of ballet.”

Mulepuncher – a derogatory term for one who drives mules. (1870) Terr. Enterprise (Virginia City, Nevada). “Even a boss driver is liable to suffer the indignity of being called a ‘mule-puncher.’”

Mulewhacker – a derivative made from muleskinner and bullwhacker. (1873) Beadle Undevel. West. The streets were thronged with motley crowds of railroad men . . . and mulewhackers.”

Mule Litter – a chair or litter attached to the back or pack of a mule to carry travelers or the wounded from a battlefield. (1888) Billings Hardtack. “Another invention for the transportation of the wounded from the field is the Cacolet or Mule Litter.”

Mule Rush – a mule or horse race. (1883) Mark Twain Life on Miss. “The most enjoyable of all races is a steamboat race; but next to that, I prefer the gay and joyous mule-rush.” [since the word “gay” has been redefined in our culture, this quote might get one in trouble – TCM]

Muley Saw – the primary saw at a mill. (1846) Davenport Gazette. “The saw mill has but one saw; a ‘muley,’ constructed upon an improved principle . . .” (1883) Harper’s Mag. “If the log is of large size, it is sent at once against a ‘muley,’ or straight rip-saw, working perpendicularly, which splits it in two.”

Muley Twister – a moldboard plow where the cutting share and moldboard are one piece, though without the upper part of the moldboard. (1944) Clark Pills. “By colloquial designations the various strange shapes were known, to the trade as sweeps, shovels, scooters, twisters, half shovels, muley twisters, half sweeps, bull tongues, buzzard wings, scrapers, and subsoilers.”

Mule Road – a zigzagging road. (1880) Mark Twain Tramp Abroad. “We followed the mule-road, a zigzag course, now to the right and now to the left, but always up. [This is sure proof that Mark Twain was from Missouri, as all one needs to do is drive five minutes to discover a Missouri Mule Road – TCM]

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