As a long-time organic gardener turned subsistence farmer and local clean-food producer, I was particularly interested in this interview. Having considered recommending Wendell Berry as an interview guest, it was exciting to hear that some of his poetry would be part of this article.
Ellen Davis's insights and observations are delightful and inspiring, especially to a guy who is an amatuer bible student that has long recognized that our Creator takes our treatment of this planet very seriously. Afterall, He will "...destroy those who destrioy the earth" one scripture warns us. And one need only to stroll among contented cows in the pasture, or in the thick of abundant harvest from the vegetable field to recognize that truly "the whole earth is full of His glory...". The majesty of our Colorado mountains, or the grandeur of a seaside vista certainly have an inspiring and transcendent quality, and speak to our hearts that "the firmament is His handiwork". But I find that there is a much deeper quality to natural settings where they involve the sources of our sustenance; of our Creator's loving provision.
There is a tremendous "magic" to the cycles of seed time and harvest, of life and decay that involves the whole spectrum of organisms from our own bodies and other vertibrates to the insects, bacteria and fungi that form the incredibly intricate food web where nutrients are continually cycled through the bodies of billions (really, trilliions) of living things. And when we involve somewhat intelligent living creatures that will die and shed blood to provide life to us, the spiritual ramifications quickly become obvious.
Farm animals clearly know and recognize their keepers, even seem to display some level of affection for those keepers. To see them as merely masses of protoplasm to be manipulated like machines (yes, I borrowed this verbiage from Joel Salatin, concerning whom it is good to see your acknowledement on this site) seems somehow psychopathic, sociopathic. We develop primitive relationships with these animals which we fully intend to kill and use as food; animals that clearly have the divine spark of life that cannot be explained through mere scientific or biological means. This should be a deeply spiritual process, infused with sincere humility, gratitude, and respect for life and for the Creator's goodness toward us and them. Again, the scriptural connections are abundant.
Your interview with Barbara Kingsolver comes to mind here.
Interestingly, it was easy to hear Wendell Berry's thoughts in much of what Ms. Davis shared during your interview with her. Some of my most favorite essays of his are from his book titled "Culture & Agriculture". Many of his thoughts were reflected in the content of the discussion, aside from the poems he read for us. I believe he would make for a great guest on the show. Joel Salatin could also prove an interesting one...
Thank you for this program. I hope you have more opportunity to pursue this topic as well as the many related areas of thought. I will throw some suggestions to the appropriate spot on this site.
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