Hey! Are you a Christian who eats food? You are? Then stop what you’re doing and read this book: “The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs” by Joel Salatin. It’s 257 pages of truth about the beauty of God’s creation and how we as Christians are responsible for taking care of it. It’s probably going to smack you between the eyes. It’ll probably smart a bit to read. I’m sure parts will make you squirm with discomfort or scoff because you don’t want to hear what he has to say. But please, please read it.
This book embodies everything I have been learning through personal experience and from all of the research I have been doing over the last 9-10 years. It’s everything I know and then some. I’m not saying you’ll love everything he says. I’m not saying you’ll even agree with anything he says. But if you’re a Christian, you’ll either feel a visceral, negative reaction to it or feel a bit of shame. Either way, you are reacting that way because the truth can smart when we are not living in truth.
The further we’ve journeyed through homesteading, the more convicted I become about what we’re doing. This is by far, not an easy path to take. We’ve had many people close to us try to talk us out of what we’re doing. They poo-pooed the chickens. They laughed at the organic gardening. They said we’d lost our minds, and couldn’t understand why we’d work so hard to do what the rest of the world already does to take care of our needs. “Life’s too good? Why would you do that? Isn’t it just a bunch of extra, unnecessary work?”
After all, Scott works a full-time job from home. He gets paid a good salary. We could be living a lot differently. But from the time I was a kid, I understood that in nature, there is a deep and unmistakable connection to God. I’m not quite sure how I came to know that… if it was just an obvious truth to me, or if it was something that I learned through my parents or my grandparents. I mean, to be sure, we didn’t really garden, and my grandparents stopped doing anything “homestead” related before I was ever born.
But watching a ladybug fly through the spring sky, catching a ladybug, climbing a tree, marveling at the grass, watching the earthworms crawling out after a rainstorm… it fascinated me. We watched the geese and ducks come and go every year, and I was awestruck by the beauty of autumn leaves. I was amazed at a yard covered in dandelions, and I even remember saying “Isn’t it amazing that there’s a whole field of flowers out there?” I saw God’s had in everything, and it was beautiful, and I deeply wanted to be deeply a part of it all.
Over the years, I’ve learned about why ladybugs are so important, how intelligent trees are, I’ve grown to understand the value of grass and even dandelions. I know why earthworms crawl to the surface during a rainstorm, and I know where the geese and ducks nest and where they fly to. The autumn leaves are far more incredible than just changing to brilliant shades of fiery reds, golds, and oranges… they return food to the tree, and the tree will be fed, and in the spring, it’ll make sap which can be turned into syrup. The cycle of life is beautiful and amazing, and we should marvel at it and it should bring us to our knees to worship the One who created it all.
We are a part of this cycle, and we have been asked to help it be fruitful and multiply. We were given dominion over the earth, but that comes with a great amount of responsibility, and I think as a society we have really, really lost sight of that.
This book might be really hard for some of you to read. I think for me, my reaction to it about 10 years ago would have been one of a lot of pain, because I would have recognized how far I still had to go. I possibly would have wanted to resist a lot of what he says, but then again, I think he hits the nail on the head so well that you can’t possibly walk away and say that you completely disagree with everything he said. Somewhere, deep inside, you’ll be able to hear that he’s telling the truth.
I’m not saying you’ll totally agree on absolutely everything he says. I’m sure you’ll find some things he says that you are not totally in agreement on, and that’s okay. But the essence of this book is that something has got to change, and we as Christians need to open our eyes in order to make that happen. If you’re already living a life in alignment with what he talks about, then you’ll probably find it refreshing to hear somebody speak to what can be so hard to express sometimes.
If you want to get yourself a copy, check out his website, Polyface Farms. If you don’t want to put down the cash (the book is about $16), see if you can borrow it from the library. If the library doesn’t have it, you might be able to talk them into purchasing a copy.
If you know me personally and want to borrow my copy, let me know. It might be passed around a bit after this, but I’d be happy to lend it to you.
Please know that I know and Joel knows that changes like the ones that need to happen aren’t going to happen overnight. Nobody expects you to be perfect or change everything all at once. That’d be incredibly burdensome because we’re so far from what has once been and where we need to be, and unless you’ve already begun this journey in some way, it’s going to take small steps to get moving in the right direction.
I want to add that this book is not just for homesteaders and farmers. It is for every Christian. I say every “Christian who eats” because we all eat, and it does matter. What we eat matters because of how our God-given bodies react. What we eat matters because of how it relates to our God-ordained stewardship of this world. What we eat matters because it shapes our communities, and a healthy community can bring more people into the fold, and as Christians, isn’t that what we should want? If you garden, raise animals, or just love nature, if you farm, if you homestead, if you live in a big city… this book is for you. It’s for everybody.
As for me, I’ve got a lot of work to do. I needed this reminder, and hopefully, it will help shape our plans this year and bring us closer to the vision God has for this place. I’m not perfect, and we have PLENTY of room for improvement, but now the how and why feel clearer. It feels manageable and attainable, because we’ve been laying the groundwork for this for years.
Love and Blessings~ Danielle
P.S. I’ve got a bunch of posts in the works, and I’m doing an odd writing project at the moment on top of my usual busy schedule, but one day I will get my posts finished, and when I do, I may just dump them in your inbox all at once! I mostly need to add pictures, but I’ve been having computer issues, so it hasn’t been happening. Oh well! That’s life!