Putting faith in two inches of humus

In some ways, I want to be a pastor the way Wendell Berry is a farmer.

I wrote that sentence so I could decide whether it is true. Reading it now, I think it is. At least no part of me rises up to resist that statement as my own.

I admire the way brother Wendell found a place and worked it and let it work him. I admire the way he writes. I admire the way he says standing by our words is the test of who we are. I admire so much about him that I can forgive him for being from Kentucky.

All these thoughts came up today as I was reading his mad farmer manifesto.

These thoughts probably come up because I am at seminary, and being here with so many other students from so many different places and traditions always shakes up what I think I know and sends me back to the places that feel solid and true. This also happens because I’m contemplating commissioning as an elder next year and the always on the move, never setting down roots kind of ministry we do. How do you love and cultivate the land when you are barely there long enough to break up the soil once or twice?

I’ve been writing this week about national headlines and denominational politics and the thoughts of our best and most glittering pastors. It makes me long for some small, good work to do, a few acres in God’s kingdom and the confidence of knowing that spring will follow winter and the apple blossoms are hidden there waiting for rain.

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One thought on “Putting faith in two inches of humus

  1. Ah, brother…You hit me square on this one. I find two models of ministry at war within me. There is the model in which I’m the parish pastor who buries deep roots, who plants a harvest in the same place year after year, day after day. And then there is the growth culture to which I so easily move toward. My love is in the first, but most of my training and experience are in the second. I do wish I could find a bit of resolved peace.

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