I’ve been thinking quite a bit about dirt recently. And I’ve been thinking about hungry people, sick people, and poor people. And naturally, with all the political campaigning going on these days, I’ve been thinking about the government’s role in feeding, healing, and caring for hungry, sick, and poor people.
Maybe I just lost you there. Which is fine. No one’s making you stick around to hear a crunchy hippie talk about politics. But this isn’t really about politics. And yet, it’s all about politics.
Politics and dirt.
Hear me out . . .
Some friends of mine have started reading a book and they come over a couple times a month to discuss it with my husband and I. Red Letter Christians it’s called. A serious look at the teachings of Jesus (often printed in red letters in many Bibles) and the author’s stance on how that should affect the political involvement of followers of Jesus. At this point, I’ve only read the first two chapters. So this post isn’t meant to be a complete book review. But I just wanted to give you some background as to what sparked my most recent musing.
It started with my thinking about what kind of compost method we should start in our new backyard. We don’t have bins of any sort and I’d like to get started as soon as possible, so the heap method seemed to make the most sense to begin with. I’d also like to make a worm compost bin in the coming weeks, which I plan to name Wormwood Estates II (after building the original Wormwood Estates on a permaculture farm in New Zealand). Fun, right?! But I digress . . .
Composting. The concept is really fascinating. You take all your leftover vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, grass clippings, and fallen twigs and branches, add the proper conditions and some time, and you end up with this amazingly nutrient rich soil which you then spread onto your veggie garden. Then in the veggie garden, you add the proper conditions and some time, and your veggies grow and flourish. Bam. You have food. Which you then bring into the kitchen, chop up for dinner, and add the scraps back to the compost pile. Repeat this cycle ad infinitum and you have a completely sustainable system with zero waste.
Fast forward from my musing on dirt and kitchen scraps back to the book. I read a sentence about universal health care in America and feeding the poor of the world and I started to twitch just a bit. The point the author was making was well-intentioned. He was stressing the importance of Jesus’ mandate to bring His Kingdom to earth by feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, and clothing the naked (see Matthew 25:31-46) and how that should influence my political involvement as a Christian. But I still twitched, and here’s why.
You see, the earth will give us food – if we only provide the right conditions and a small amount of work. The kindness of God in this way is so wonderful and extravagant! This cycle He has designed and set into motion is such a brilliant and sustainable model! And yet, instead, we think we are taking care of the poor and hungry in Third World nations and in urban settings here in the States by sending them handouts of our processed crap. It’s well-intentioned, well-meaning charity (for the most part), but do you see that it only teaches people to rely on cheap handouts? The food we send is void of nutrition. In fact, it leaches nutrition from the bodies of those who consume it. It only encourages more strife in those places. More reason to be lazy and wait for handouts to arrive. Handouts that rely on a wasteful amount of unsustainable energy to produce and on chemicals that devastate the soil and bring death in the long run.
You see, the blessings of the LORD only ever bring good – never harm. In any way! It’s only ever good, all the time. (Check out Proverbs 10:22) No industrial food conglomerate or pharmaceutical giant can make that claim. Not even close! Chemicals concocted in a lab will ultimately bring death and destruction, but I want to choose LIFE when I care for the poor and needy and hungry and sick.
And yet, it’s a difficult topic to bring up when you’re discussing the problem of world hunger or universal health care. Because most people don’t want to address the one caveat that throws a monkey wrench in to the plan. It’s called personal responsibility.
It’s called work.
It looks like individuals in crappy situations making a personal choice to unplug themselves from the matrix, so to speak, and to take their food and their aid in their own hands – with the help and care of genuine people with the means to educate and assist them. They first have to have a reason to get up off their asses and make a compost pile for a garden of their own, for example. They have to be willing to not rely on cheap handouts anymore. We all need to learn that not only will this food be mostly free (other than the work required), but it will cause us to be healthier and more alive. Now we don’t require the same level of universal healthcare and an overpriced pill for every ill. It’s an upward spiral of life instead of the downward one our current model propagates.
But people need to know these things and truly believe them before they will take it upon themselves to act. And how will they know if no one tells them?
You guys, this is something that has been growing inside me for quite some time now. I believe it’s the Voice and the Message I’m supposed to carry. So, will you help me out and spread this message too? You can start with the social icons below. Like this on Facebook, tweet it out, pin it, email it to your friends, family, & co-workers.
Then look into volunteering with a garden-based organization that serves the hungry and needy in your city. If you’re in Nashville, you can check out The Nashville Food Project or Good Food for Good People.
It’s time to see some serious change in the way we care for other people! True charity and service brings LIFE!