I had a really strange experience recently that I will relay in a bit. The net-net of it was that it got me to thinking about how Christians and homesteaders need to put their squabbles aside and join forces, as do most Americans. JWR talks a lot about finding “like-minded” people, and there’s a good reason for that. People who think alike and do things similarly, tend to get along better, and are therefore more productive. In our modern day, that is often referred to as “tribalism”, and some folks are for that idea and some are not. “Diversity is our strength” is an oft quoted phrase and means different things to different people. Diversity of foods and ways of creating things is absolutely wonderful. But opposing core ideologies in close proximity is not a good thing. My mind will not “expand” or embrace or accept a culture that chooses to do things that are in direct conflict with my religious beliefs. Enough said there – you can use your imagination to conjure up some examples.
I don’t want to “trigger” anyone into defending their position – not what I’m after. Nor do I want to use a forum to defend mine. You are free to do things your way, and I mine – at least in America this is one of our core principles. It also is a biblical principle.
A little background – I was born into a very legalistic and fundamentalist church family. Both my parents had been raised similarly, but since they were both students of the Bible they had the knowledge to challenge certain “rules of the church” based on Scripture. One thing led to another, and my family left that particular church culture when I was young. They did not leave their faith, but instead chose to worship at a “non-denominational” church. Whenever we had to move due to my father’s work, a first priority was to find a non-denominational church family that was biblically based rather than based on narrow and long held beliefs. We children were very lucky that our parents believed in educating us as to how others worshipped God. We got to visit various Christian and Jewish denominations and would enjoy conversations about what they believed and how they did things. It wasn’t a judgmental exercise, but an educational one. For examples, I rather enjoyed the joyous worship of the Pentecostals, and admired the solemn services of the Catholic Church, and was fascinated by Jewish practices. We visited all the major Judeo-Christian denominations over time. It was always very interesting to me and as a result, I did not grow up thinking one denomination had it nailed and the others did not. It demonstrated to me how people are very different and emphasize different things, for whatever reasons. My personal belief is that God the Father is much bigger than all our constructs and basically humors us because he is endlessly Merciful.
That being said, I avoid people who try to force their belief system and culture upon me as the “Gospel truth”. I avoid them because I don’t want us whipping out our Bibles, as if they were swords of death, and pointing to various scriptures to justify our positions. That saves no one. That brings no one to the life-giving salvation offered by Christ Jesus.
Just as a funny note – at least I find it funny. In the “Bible Belt” of the Southern United States, there is a church on just about every block. And the joke is that since no one can agree on simple things like how to worship, they all have to build their own buildings. Now in a lot of cases, that is not true. Many communities like the atmosphere of the neighborhood or country church so the families get together and build one, or remodel an old house to be a church. Some, like the Amish, meet in their homes and take turns hosting services. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’m just a bean counter who wonders why there has to be a dedicated building every block rather than everyone just gathering into one larger building (Oh, the horrors).
There are plenty of denominations in the South. There are a couple of times that I have been approached by an “evangelist” of various denominations and it appears that there is a funny, to me, practice. I am aware of a Scripture, excerpted, that says, “His Word will not return void” (Isaiah 55:11 for the whole passage). Some people take that to mean that if they print pages and pages of scripture in 6pt font, double-sided, cramming as many Bible verses on a piece of paper as is humanly possible, and hand it out, that they are somehow fulfilling God’s calling. I tried very hard not to burst out laughing at this practice. Can you imagine any practice so ineffective? There’s a local church that has it in its budget to produce similar documents and mail them out to everyone in their zip code. I own several Bibles – easy to read! I felt guilty throwing the mailer in the trash. I wondered if I should pray over the paper just because the people who created it might need some blessings. Anyway, I’m not really trying to poke fun at sincere people, just pointing out that legalistic approaches are not necessarily fulfilling “The Great Commission” of “Go ye into all the world and proclaim the Gospel of Christ”.
The point: As “preppers”, “homesteaders”, as Americans, and as a free people who love God, can we just stop with the nitpicking and get on with it?
Now for the strange experience I mentioned: A fellow Christian homesteader that I became acquainted with began ranting about how anyone who raises pork, or eats pork, is going against the Word of God (i.e. going to hell). I gently suggested the Scriptures where Jesus makes a point to explain that we are no longer under the Old Testament laws but under the New Covenant. Oh my. I stepped on a land mine. Next, I offered that we should be able to “agree to disagree”. Another grenade. I quietly, but quickly, backed away. I raise Idaho Pasture Pigs and if anything, this person should have kept their opinions to themselves rather than pontificate on my gross and immoral sinning.
In another example, I have several friends who celebrate the Sabbath on Saturdays versus Sundays because they feel convicted to do so. I respect their Saturdays, as I expect respect for my Sundays. I know people who do not partake in alcoholic beverages – I’m one of those people – but I don’t judge you for drinking a glass of wine. Heck, I don’t even care if you make your own moonshine, just don’t show up at my place drunk. (Shhhhh…. I’ve been known to sip eggnog around the holiday season if it’s homemade with farm-fresh eggs and farm-fresh cream.)
I write all this out because there is an enormous trend, not just in our country, but around the globe, to “divide and conquer” people. The aim is to get people to fight one another and destroy their families and communities, and eventually, their country. It’s the Hatfield-McCoy feud on steroids.
It needs to stop. Divided we fall. Do you hear me??
Eat pork or don’t, drink wine or don’t, stick to your denomination or don’t, but stop with the judgmental, and yes arrogant, legalistic cow pies. When the bullets start flying, none of that is going to matter. Are you stocked up, do you have defensive weapons and plenty of ammo, are you trained, have you worked on your self-sufficiency goals? Can you withstand an extended power outage? Are you prepared to work with your neighbors and form a mutual assistance group? Take in family members? Will your children have food and water to drink?
The Communists, or Globalists, or Terrorists don’t give two cow farts what your denomination of Christianity (or not) is or how you conduct your life. They want a one-world, godless, government. And they are coming for your children. They will take your possessions and persecute you. Are we all going to huddle in our little closed groups and refuse to coordinate with the “unlike” minded? How about we all get on the same page? We have nothing if we lose our Freedoms. Our freedoms are what allow us the discretion to eat this or that or drink this or that. Our freedoms are what allow us to arrogantly claim a “holier than thou” position on any topic.
Ya know, “live and let live” is probably not such a bad idea, as distasteful as that is to some people. I have very firm beliefs that I live by. It’s not my job to put that on you and try to get you to conform to the way I think you should live. I am born free, and so are you. Let’s act like it.
I will close by saying that I urge unity. We are in perilous times. I am not asking anyone to go against their own convictions. I am asking for acceptance of other people’s convictions. It doesn’t need to be said that accepting criminal, murderous or abusive behavior is a form of unity. It’s not. Unity is understanding who the real enemy is and fighting against that. Who is the real enemy folks? Search your heart and mind and make decisions about what the most important things are. Discard the useless arrogance about this or that. Our arrogance only suits our own insecurities about acceptance. We don’t need to be right about everything. We need to be doing our level best at accepting self-responsibility for the coming difficulties.
I leave you to it.