Sunday, March 25, 2012

Review of Born-Again Dirt: Farming To The Glory of God

Well I finally finished Noah Sanders’ new book “Born-Again Dirt: Farming To The Glory of God.”  It was not that the book was hard to read, quite the contrary it is a very easy read, but my time has been very short lately.  That all said, it was a very good book and one I think that should be read by all.   Not that everyone will be looking to farm but because Noah does a good job of showing how to take ones vocation and applying God’s word to it.  Far too often we speak of the sufficiency of scripture for all of life but Noah has taken that call to heart in his book and applied it to farming.  Maybe there should be a series of these books that seek to look at many vocations and how they can be reclaimed for Christ.

Over the last year I have begun to see that having a Biblical agrarian view of life is helpful and also biblical.  Much of scripture speaks in agrarian terms which lends itself to the task at hand for Noah, that of seeing what reclaiming farming for God’s glory looks like.  Seeking to take dominion for Christ is not just about claiming control over some aspect of life but is best accomplished when one seeks to apply God’s word to every area of life and that includes ones vocation, be it farming or anything else.

As far as the topics covered here is a listing of the chapter titles, which should give you a good idea of its contents:

1) Born Again Dirt
2) Laying a Biblical Foundation
3) Evaluating our Agriculture
4) The Born-Again Dirt Farm
5) The Role of a Christian Farmer
6) Principles of God’s Design
7) Pattern’s in God’s Design
8) Growing Fruit for the Temple
9) The Ministry of Marketing
10) Agri-Lifestyle
11) Getting Started: Tips and Suggestions

Noah takes a look at every area of farm life and seeks to see what God’s word says about it.  Beginning with realizing that we do not own our farms, or for that matter anything, but God does and thus we are to see our place as a steward of God’s possessions.  This is a mindset we should have in all we do and not just in farming.  Noah also deals with realization that, as with all of life, farming is not about us but about God and which should give us a different perspective about life and our vocation.

Again, this is a book everyone can take something away from.  Even if what is taken away is a desire to take the same tact but with regards to a different vocation and look to say what God’s word says about it.  I would add that it is my opinion that God’s word more easily lends itself to dealing with an agrarian life than many other vocations today simply because the Bible itself is decidedly agrarian in its content.  However this should not dissuade one from attempting to formulate a “Born-Again” view for all of life including any vocation one takes part in.

Here is information about this new book from the back cover:

Do you desire to glorify God through the way you farm? Are you tired of reading books on farming and food production that ignore God as Creator? Have you ever wondered what agriculture would look like if it was based on the Bible instead of on evolution, Mother Nature, or the latest manipulations of life by science?

In Born Again Dirt, Noah Sanders encourages Christian farmers to evaluate their farming methods in light of Scripture. This book looks at various Biblical principles related to agriculture and provides examples of practical application. Topics covered include:
-Designing farms as beautiful, fruitful homes.
-Honoring God's design in farm production
-Growing crops that honor the Lord
-Marketing as ministry
-The idolatry of modern agriculture
-Advantages of the farming lifestyle
-Starting a farm and making a living.

Without claiming to have all the answers, Born Again Dirt seeks to inspire you to develop a vision for God-glorifying agriculture . This book is a must read for any Christian who is a full time farmer, backyard gardener, or for anyone who desires a more Biblical view of agriculture.

You can purchase the book through Noah’s Blog Redeeming the Dirt.  I would also recommending reading some of his blog posts as well.

Above all make sure to purposefully and intentionally seek to redeem your vocation always making sure to do so, as Noah Sanders has done, by seeking God’s word for direction.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Last Pilgrims Book Giveaway

For a second giveaway I have two copies of The Last Pilgrims.

This is a very good book written by Michael Bunker, the Author of Surviving Off Off-Grid.  The following is a short segment about the book from the website:

"Michael Bunker, author of the bestselling non-fiction book Surviving Off Off-Grid, would like to introduce you to one of the most exciting, heart-pounding, and unique novels to come around in a generation.  More than your typical post-apocalyptic faire, The Last Pilgrims could well be one of the most important and prescient novels of our time.  Twenty years in the future is five-hundred years in the past.  It is just two decades after the worldwide societal collapse and the Vallenses, an Amish-like “plain people” living and surviving in what was once Central Texas, are under attack by the King of Aztlan and his armies. The pacifistic Vallenses are defended by the shadowy Ghost Militia and their inspiring leader Phillip, a militant freeman who wages a guerilla war with Aztlan.

Jonathan Wall and the thriving agrarian community of Vallenses have prospered by living the simple and sustainable ways of the past.  In a massively depopulated world, balkanization is a reality and monarchy is back.  A corrupt kingdom arises, led by a king who cannot abide freemen on lands that he covets.  Just as the Vallenses send off a plea to the benevolent King of the South States, a mysterious assassin misses his target: Jonathan Wall.

Phillip “the Ghost” is on a personal mission to save the Vallenses – even if it is against their will, while Jonathan’s own son David and his fearless teenage daughter Ruth are led to challenge their pacifistic upbringing and question whether or not the time has come for the Vallenses to fight for the land, the people, and the God they love.

The Last Pilgrims is a modern re-telling of the forgotten history of the Ancient Waldenses - simple farmers who lived in the valleys of the Alps for hundreds of years despite repeated attempts to annihilate them.  Full of tragedy, adventure, humor, and love, The Last Pilgrims is a rare post-apocalyptic saga that takes history and casts it into the future, while examining that future in light of the errors of the present and the past. "

To enter; I will be collecting names until 5PM (PST) on Monday the 19th.  Here is how you can have multiple entries:
  1. Leave a comment on this blog post.  
  2. Placing a link to the giveaway on your blog and leave a link to your blog post in a comment here.  
  3. Sharing this post on Facebook, or share the post that is already there, and mention here or on Facebook that you have done so. 
  4. Share this giveaway on Goolge+ and then leave a comment here, or on Google + that you have shared it.  
That makes 4 ways to enter.

Again, make sure to leave a comment here, on one of the Facebook posts or on the Goolge+ posts letting me know the methods you have used to enter.

**This giveaway is limited to the US due to shipping costs**

Here is a link to the first giveaway of a copy of Into the Amazon.

Into the Amazon Giveaway

I an effort to pack and be ready for our move I have come across some items I will be giving away that I have duplicates of.  So as to set this up as two giveaways I will put them in two separate posts.

The first giveaway will be Vison Forums excellent documentary Into the Amazon.

To enter; I will be collecting names until 5PM (PST) on Monday the 19th.  Here is how you can have multiple entries:

  1. Leave a comment on this blog post.  
  2. Placing a link to the giveaway on your blog and leave a link to your blog post in a comment here.  
  3. Sharing this post on Facebook, or share the post that is already there, and mention here or on Facebook that you have done so. 
  4. Share this giveaway on Goolge+ and then leave a comment here, or on Google + that you have shared it.  
That makes 4 ways to enter.

Again, make sure to leave a comment here, on one of the Facebook posts or on the Goolge+ posts letting me know the methods you have used to enter.

**This giveaway is limited to the US due to shipping costs**

Here is a link to the second giveaway, two copies of The Last Pilgrims.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Technology Fast Update

I had been meaning to write about our “Technology Fast” for some time but things have been very hectic around here.  With the sale of our home, looking for where God would have us move (a post of its own) and work being very busy there has not been much time to write.

We took part in our “Technology Fast” the week of January 23rd through 29th and I would say it was a success.  While I had to use the computer and some other technology at work, the rest of the family did a great job of cutting way back.  As a family we only used the computer a few, times to fulfill some obligations, but in general did not use the computer and thus email for the week.  We also, except for using the stove, used very little electricity even relying on oil lamps and some battery powered lamps at night.

So how did things go?  Well I can tell you we as a family played more games than we ever have and some family members read more than normal.  Also, I learned that my face had grown wimpy by using my electric shaver because the first time I used a razor, which I had not used in many years, was somewhat painful.  We also found that we, out of habit, just turn on lights as we enter a room and kept finding ourselves having to turn around and turn them off or catch ourselves reaching for the switch.  In not using the lights we also found that we had to reschedule what we do as showers needed to be done earlier rather than later as well as getting dishes washed were better done in the morning so you could see what was being cleaned.  It was noticeable that due to technology we do much less planning and while that is convenient that is not necessarily the best practice.  These are just a few of the things that we learned.

What was most important about this fast was what we learned about technology and our interaction with it and not necessarily the technology itself.  When I first wrote about the fast most comments I received were positive but a few people thought that it was a misplaced focus as the issue was not technology but man’s use of it.  To that objection I mostly agree but that does not give technology a free pass.  We need to look at technology and judge it not just on the benefits it may bring but also the issues it may create and the dependence it may garner.  So while technology itself is not the issue we do need to evaluate how we deal with and often gain an over reliance on it.

Due to our comfort with all that is around us we too often think we can take or leave technology but that is not necessarily so.  Regardless of how discerning we may think we are, if we are not careful technology will end up owning us and not us it.   As an example, while I see that good can come from such things as Facebook I also think that the dangers are downplayed far too often.  What we tend to do is look at a technology and find some good and camp on that without asking how things would be without such technology.  Would communication be more difficult? Would it be slower and also lead to not meeting some people?  The answer to both is yes but that does not mean that is a bad thing.  We judge too many things by where we are now rather than where we might be without a particular technology.

Being that I am using technology to question it, I guess I need to be careful how I approach this subject in not wanting to be a hypocrite.  The issue truly is that we need to seek to be more discerning with our use of technology and if we were more discerning I probably would not feel the need to use this technology to write this article.   I should add that I also am employed in such a manner that I use technology every day, and some quite advanced technology at that, so what would happen if some of the technology I use did not exist.  That is easy, God would still be sovereign and I would do something else.  Man existed for along time without the technology we have today so, as I already said, we need to be careful when judging technology not to start where were we are but instead look at where we would be and where we can still go with the correct use of technology or lack of it.

We cannot get rid of technology since the clothes we wear, the tools we use to cook, the paper we write on and so much more are technology.  No, I am not for becoming a Luddite but I would encourage us to ask many of the questions the Luddites have asked.  We could learn from the Amish and others that have taken the simple path by asking questions about the technology around us and by applying biblically derived principles to all that is around us.  We may arrive at different answers than others have reached but we would be better off due to the process.

At the heart of all of this is the heart.  It is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jer 17:9) and when faced with using technology our flesh will use it as those at Babel did in the bricks they created, to reach God, or at the heart of it to be as God.  So we need to be discerning, critical and wise in our development of technological advances.  There may be things that are in and of themselves harmless but when judged as how they will be used, or abused, may be better left undeveloped.  For other things we would be wise to minimize their use and develop lives that are not so tied and dependent on any particular technology so that we cannot live without it, which is often not realized until it is too late.

We as a family will be doing this again, even though our date of when will change due an up coming move.  As before the goal will be to learn how to live apart from the technology we are so used to if God should lead to a time when we will not have it at our disposal.  We all think we can get by without much of the technology we use daily but I can assure you when faced with the actual prospect of not being able to use it if you are like us and many others you will find that it is not as easy as you may have thought.

I would encourage you to have your own technology fast and it can be as big or small as you like.  But remember to make sure the focus is not simply to get by but learn what it is we really rely on; the stuff around us or the God that supplies and allows for that stuff to exist.