Saturday, December 03, 2005

Well, here it goes.
This is my very first blog! Where do I begin? I only really found out what blogging was this past Thanksgiving. I was in the house and doing some searches on the internet and came across a bunch of bloggers talking about a subject called Christian Agrarianism. I had never really heard the word agrarian put in such a context. I am thrilled to have found a discussion on the things I’m passionate about and from a Christian perspective.

I do a lot of journal writing and most of my thought’s and idea’s lay closed away or hidden inside the computers internal workings to pretty much just waste away into electronic nothingness. Perhaps someday my kids might come across them and get a kick out of what old Dad used to think about back then. Other than that, if I don’t discuss any of it with my wife, that’s about all there is to my writings. It’s just for my own satisfaction and perhaps it is a little therapeutic. Of course in my journals I often times do a lot of ranting and raving which I would never want to broadcast across cyberspace in a forum like this. So I will attempt to make this a little more reader friendly than what I do in my journal writings.

I reckon, since this is my first blog I should introduce myself. I don’t imagine I should get too personal since after all this is on the internet and only the Lord knows how many people will be looking at this.

My name is Russ. My wife’s name is Kelli and we have three children, 14, 17 and 19. We homeschool and live on a 120 acre homestead in northern Wisconsin. When I say homestead I have to mention that we aren’t homesteaders in the truest sense of the word. We have been experimenting with it and have dabbled in a multitude of homesteading practices. We homeschool, garden, and raise animals. However we are not really all that self-sufficient. It is more like a hobby with the eventual goal of becoming more proficient at it.

When we first moved here we made a serious effort to raise all or most of our food. I had found a proverb that said " plant your crops first, after that build your house". So we planted a garden first. After that we put up a 30' by 30' commercial green house that we had purchased from a florist who went out of business. We used that for growing plants and for raising poultry. Within the first year we had acquired all kinds of livestock. We met many nice and interesting people in the process.

We co-own our property with my parents and my Dad had already built a garage which we moved into. There wasn't any water or septic. Eventually we have made the garage into a house and are still living in it. We built a log cabin which we rent out as a getaway for city people or anyone looking for a quiet relaxing place to stay. Our main income however, is that we have our own business picking up peoples trash and hauling it to the dump. Actually, the garbage business goes along alright with homesteading since it is kind of a home based business which is something that fits with the ethic of being self-sufficient or self-reliant.

That being said, I do want to mention that I have come to the realization that the idea of being “self-sufficient” is really quite a myth. God never intended for us to be an island unto ourselves. He made us to live in families and communities being interdependent on one another for both emotional and physical needs. Not that we should be dependant on each other but, that we should serve and love one another with Christ being our prime example. The goal instead of being self-reliant should be to obey the biblical exhortation to work with our hands so that we might have something to share with others.

I like the term agrarian but, I’m not entirely sure of the exact definition. It will take me awhile to get used to using it. I tend to get hung up on the meaning of words and how we use them. I’ll have to study it some more. It took me some time to get comfortable calling what we are trying to do, homesteading. After all homesteading was what they did back when the government was giving away land way back in them olden days. So it took a little bit to get comfortable with that. It seems to me Jd Belanger from Countryside magazine is the one who has popularized the modern usage of homestead. Actually agrarian is probably a more accurate term for going back to the land. Agriculture conjures up images of Big Ag. but, agrarian seems to give a broader sense of getting subsistence from the land or really having anything to do with the land be it growing crops or grazing animals on it.

Well, I don’t suppose I should make this introductory blog too long or in-depth lest I bore you with useless jabber. I am looking forward to communicating with other Christian, homesteader, agrarian type folks out there. There is so much to talk about and so many things to discuss. This could go on till Jesus comes back. Actually, I hope it does.

8 Comments:

Blogger Northern Farmer said...

I would like to say welcome to this merry cast of caracters on the web. Looks like it's going to be a very good blog.

Tom

5:44 AM  
Blogger RL said...

Tom,
Thanks for the warm welcome!

Russ

4:36 PM  
Blogger TNfarmgirl said...

Welcome Russ, I am enjoying your blog!

6:09 PM  
Blogger RL said...

tnfarmgirl,

Thanks for the welcome! And welcome to my blog.

I have read some of your blog and I enjoy yours also.

I'm still trying to figure out how to work all this blog stuff. My daughter has to rescue me from time to time. Young folks just seem to have a knack for computers.

Once I get through the introductions I'll be sharing more on this blog about our experiences here on the farm.

Russ

10:07 PM  
Blogger Herrick Kimball said...

Hi Russ,

You said...

"So now I have come to the point where I believe what I believe but, I’m not going to be too dogmatic about it because I could be wrong. There are a some things I would die for, like my belief in Christ that he died for my sins, but everything else I just take a wait and see kind of approach."

I can relate to this comment. The Lord has taken me along a path that, at times, has left me confused as I sincerely tried to understand who was right and who was wrong about certain points of Christian doctrine. I still am trying to sort it out, but I stand rock solid in my faith regarding who Jesus Christ is, what He has done, and how a Christian should live before God.

If you ever hear me being dogmatic about much beyond that, please let me know. Re: dispensational eschatology, I just came to the conclusion that it bore bad fruit, but I'm not prepared to defend any end times interpretation, at least not right now.

Interestingly, I try to shun a dogmatic approach to agrarianism too. While I can clearly define what a Christian is, and I know what agrarianism means to me, I cannot clearly define an agrarian for everyone. Whenever I have tried to put a clear, precise definition on paper, I have looked back at what I've written and seen the dogma and just put the thing aside.

But I can define Christian agrarianism... It is Christianity lived within an agrarian paradigm. :-)

The bottom line here is that I'm convicted that I must live my life in submission to His lordship, with humility and a healthy fear. And if my belief is pure and right, it will bear good fruit.

Yes, indeed, there is a real draw in the hearts of many of God's people towards agrarian life. Like you said, though, many of these people have never thought of it as Christian agrarianism. I think it is an appropriate term. He has a plan and I believe He is working in a small way through this little assembly of internet Christian agrarian bloggers.

It's nice to discuss these things with you!

5:16 AM  
Blogger Herrick Kimball said...

Oops.... I posted my previous comment in the wrong place. It was supposed to be posted in response to your response to me in your blog entry titled "Homesteading Influences."
:-(

5:20 AM  
Blogger Scott Holtzman said...

As Tom said, "I would like to say welcome to this merry cast of caracters on the web. Looks like it's going to be a very good blog.

I had to find myself laughing quite heartily this morning as I made my coffee and tell the wife I would email her your link for later viewing. If I had to consider my ways and some of the options my wife and I have looked at and considered ~ well to put it succinctly, if you we're a football coach I would have accused you of 'reading my playbook'! Right down to the "refuse collection option", which we have considered and placed in our "Options" folder along with several other similar items you mention in your post. Two steps ahead you are, fine fellow, we look forward to hearing more...........

Ps. The Proverb, I belived mentioned, is 24:27. Much wisdom in that book!

10:33 AM  
Blogger RL said...

Herrick, I posted a comment on your comment on the other post. :)

Hello Scott, I'm glad you enjoyed what I wrote. Let me know if you would like to hear more about our "refuse collection option". :) We've been at it for over 5 years now. I'd be glad to pass on what I know on the subject.

I've been down with the flu for the past few days so I hope to get back to blogging soon.

Thanks so much for the welcome!

Russ

1:27 AM  

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