This past weekend on an out of town trip we decided to attend a megachurch. The kids were wowed by the TV cameras. I was wowed by the music. Then the lights went low and the sermon began. Who would guess they would talk about farming? And that we were probably the only farmers sitting in the sanctuary?
Here are three things I learned:
1. I learned that people are being taught that farmers today don’t have a connection to the land and instead are intent on destroying it. I was one of few in the congregation who caught the pastor’s reference to “monocultural farming” saying growing one crop is sinful and that “God delights in diversity”.
This pastor doesn’t know that farmers do nurture the land. That’s why we till it as little as possible to let the residue from past crops hold in the moisture and nutrients. That’s why Tom gets out of the tractior ten times a day to kneel down to check how deep the seed is being planted and what the condition of the soil is.
As for diversity, we’ve got 1000’s of different foods in grocery stores. Just like other countries depend on rice, ours depends on corn, soybeans, sorghum and wheat staples. It’s not evil. It’s feeding people.
2. I learned that some people think we are one with the earth. We are made from dust and to dust we’ll return, you know. “We are part of it and it is part of us” I have in my notes from the sermon. Some people take the verse -“How majestic is your name in all the earth” literally. This pastor said it was man who destroyed the world with his evil before the flood. The land takes on a spiritual quality in these people’s minds.
I agree God made the world and all that is in it yet it is still humankind that he promises heaven to. We love our land and our lives are centered on enriching the soil for future generations. Still, buckets of it are not sitting at the table with us at Christmastime.
3. I learned that it is taught in some churches that a garden in an urban area is a literal picture of heaven. This pastor taught that since there will be a Tree of Life in the new Jerusalem, putting in a garden is putting heaven on earth. This guy can plant all the gardens he wants. He is not going to make a heaven on earth. A nicely weeded garden is a beautiful thing to behold but it’s not heaven.
Earth Day means a lot of different things to a lot of people. Now I know that for some people Earth Day is almost right up there with Christmas and Easter. We’ll be back to our mini church this Sunday led by a pastor who puts people in God’s world first rather than elevating God’s world to people status.