I recently attended a conference featuring Joel Salatin, well-known speaker and agrarian. I have heard him speak before, read some of his books and even patterned my farming practices after his models.
I came home with his newest book, “The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs,” and have begun my journey through its pages. I am being challenged once again. Each time I read one of Mr. Salatin’s books I am freshly challenged to re-examine various life choices and practices. But, this book is truly challenging me on a different level. This book is written to Christians – an audience he’s never specifically targeted before – and delves quickly and deeply into many spiritual discussions.
Food and faith and inherently connected. Inseparable. I’ve known this, but never thought about it quite this way before now. I’ve experienced the beauty of God’s creatures in my garden and watched in awe as the bounty of produce grows seemingly out of nowhere each summer. I feel God’s presence as I garden and often pray as I work and thank Him for His provision and abundance and creation.
But this book is tying things together and raising questions in my heart that are new. Does is matter how I grow food? Does God care? Does it matter where I buy food? He even cuts deep with questions about sickness, disease and diet. These are discussions we don’t really want to have, don’t really want to think about or take responsibility for the answers that follow.
Basically, do my food choices bring honor to the Lord? Am I showing His love to others and representing His glory when I plant, eat, prepare, shop and purchase food? These are tough questions!
To be transparent. . .We raise pastured chickens for meat and eggs. That’s a decision I can stand behind and know it’s honoring the Lord. Those chickens provide my family and a few besides with quality, wholesome nutrition and also honor the way God designed chickens to live and eat. We plant a huge garden and eat lots of produce all summer – asparagus, green beans, cucumbers, peppers, onions, tomatoes, spaghetti squash, watermelons, radishes and more. We preserve tomatoes, pickles, potatoes and squash and eat them throughout the winter and have plenty to share with others. This is good.
We also make choices that are certainly questionable. I allow my children some convenience foods, pizza, hot dogs and sugar or worse yet the corn syrup that creeps its way into so many things! These are obviously poor choices, but hard to change and I certainly think the occasional indulgence is acceptable.
In his book, Mr. Salatin discusses creation worshippers and Creator worshippers. . .making the fair point that so often the creation worshippers do a better job of honoring God with food choices and animal care than the Creator worshippers. Ouch! But true. How much more should those of us who claim God as King be about the business of stewarding His creation well and healing the land through our use of it than those who don’t even know Him? Do we look at food choices as an extension of our worship, our faith, our trust in God’s wisdom and God’s way? Or do we use faith as an excuse to eat poorly and farm poorly and then ask God to bless it anyway?
Heavy thinking. But needed and good.