Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Grounded Scriptures

So I’m a seminarian, a New Yorker transplanted in California, a musician, a Sunday School teacher, a feminist, and an aspiring farmer.
Whaa? You may ask. What kind of well-educated, urban, pulpit-bound woman aspires to spend her days digging in the dirt? What kind of feminist is eager to do more canning and preserving than her grandmother did? Odd, I know. I often keep this part of my self-identity under wraps, because people do just that – “Whaa?” … and then I have to explain about how I might not have to operate a tractor, it could be urban community gardens, or how I could have a seedling nursery… But the fact remains, surprising many – I want to farm. I'm itching for more than a few square feet of land to do it on.

I have to blame a lot of the “why” for this unfortunate vocation on the Bible. Ever since my Old Testament professor Marvin Chaney shouted at our Prophets class “you can’t read this in stained-glass language!” about the sin of land-grabbing, I have had a vivid sense that the Way described and commanded in the biblical texts had plenty to do with how we work, live, spend our money, relate to our neighbor, and how we eat… perhaps more than with how we pray. And through reading (lots of Ellen Davis) and learning (with the Presbyterian Hunger Program roadtrip) I’ve come to believe that the particular realm of how we grow and distribute food in America is drastically opposed to the ideals set out in the Bible.

The rubber hits the road in my new blog series, posted here & elsewhere on Wednesdays, “Grounded Scriptures.” I will search each week for a Bible verse we tend to read in that “stained glass language,” extricate it from my piously cerebral assumptions, and look for a way to understand it in terms of the relationship of God’s people to the land, the soil, and the plants and creatures that grow in and on it.
Read & join in!

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