Rich and fulfilling

Rev. Peter Sawtell does reflections like the one below every week, and you can sign up for his free e-newsletter on the Eco-Justice Ministries’ website. You can find a subscribe form at the bottom of last week’s Notes, where he tucks the 6-1/2 billion history of Earth into a year.

Enjoy “Rich and fulfilling,” which for me describes getting back to a more agrarian way of life and mindset. I’m printing it out for my teenage sons to read, and then I’ll be tossing my television (and their video games) out the window…

Rich and Fulfilling
Copyright 2011 – Eco-Justice Ministries

Over the New Year’s holiday, I looked at some old family pictures. One set shows my grandfather driving a Model T Ford along the rutted, unpaved tracks of what then qualified as a major highway in central Nebraska.

My wife’s grandmother reflected to Allyson about the changes she had seen in her lifetime — from hearing the astonishing news of the Wright Brother’s first flight (December, 1903) to seeing live TV images of people walking on the surface of the moon (July, 1969).

When we lived in Iowa farm country, Allyson and I saw home movies where our parishoners were plowing fields with teams of horses, and raising sheep, goats, cattle, pigs and chickens in the diverse ecology of a family farm.

I’ve had a couple of conversations in the last month with folk describing their experiences growing up with party line telephones, and having eight families able to listen in on each other’s conversations.

My, how times change!

Today’s farm fields — frequently owned by corporations instead of families — are plowed by enormous tractors, and livestock are raised in the confined settings of industrial agriculture. Increasing numbers of households are giving up their wired telephones, and exclusively using mobile “phones” that are far, far more powerful than the computers that took Apollo 11 astronauts to the moon. Where my adventurous grandfather spent days fighting across muddy Midwestern roads to get from Omaha to Denver, 50 million people now fly through the Denver airport every year, expecting quick and reliable travel to destinations around the world.