Sunday, December 02, 2007


It’s funny how when you “serf the net”, one bit of information leads to another, which leads to another and yet to another. Now I’m not one to actually “serf the net”. I have specific places I go for gathering information, certain blogs I read regularly or semi regularly. I don’t particularly go online for entertainment but, rather for gathering useful information and to gain knowledge. Though sometimes I am greatly entertained by the information I find.

I wish I had more time to relate to everyone in the agrarian blogosphere but it is just impossible to spend that much time to really be that sociable, as much as I would like to be. But, anyway one day last week I was doing some catching up at the Darkwood farm blog and was checking out the links. As I was saying one thing leads to another and I found myself checking out a blog called An Emergent Agrarian were he had a link to a writing by a fellow named Philip Lancaster. It was a piece called What Ever Happened To Families which I thought had some very relevant points as to how our country has degenerated into the mess it has. The social breakdown of this country would seem in large part due to the disintegration of the family, which I’m sure most would agree, not to mention the fact that our country is turning it’s back on God at an ever increasing rate.

This Philip Lancaster describes in length the systematic collapse of the family structure which could be summed up first, with the exodus of fathers, from the home during the industrial revolution, when dads left the home to go to work. Secondly the children left the home with the advent of compulsory education. Thirdly mothers left the home to go compete with men in the factories and offices after the feminist movement and the 1st and 2nd world wars.

With this paragraph Lancaster does a fine job describing the destination these trends have brought us to in the present age. He writes.....

“At the beginning of the 21st century the family is a mere shell of its former self. At its best it is the mere nuclear family, cut off from kin, living in anonymous cities, without productive work in the home, and with both parents working and the children away at school. With each family member feeling the centrifugal pull of out-of-home commitments, they hardly have any time together. The father’s heart is at his job, the children’s hearts with their classmates and friends. Add to this the mind-numbing and soul-destroying distractions of contemporary music, television, and movies — the latest “blessings” of our industrial- technological society — and you round out the picture of the challenges Christian fathers face in attempting to become true family men once again.”

The writing is geared toward the leadership or lack thereof, of fathers.

This ties in well with the Franklin Springs Family Media Movie, A Journey Home that I reviewed awhile back. It is no secret that in this day and age fathers are for the most part absent in the day to day activities of the family. Of course there are the exceptions.

Actually speaking of that movie we recently purchased the Franklin Springs Family Media holiday gift pack of 5 movies including the above mentioned. Last night we watched Inherit The Land which takes you into the lives of a number of Christian families who are living out a life close to the land, trying to recapture the spirit of what was lost from days gone by. I really appreciate the quality work this media company is putting into these movies. They are promoting a great message all the while being highly aesthetically pleasing, really capturing well all that is desirable about life in the country.

But, back to this writing by Philip Lancaster. He brings balanced and thoughtful insights to this question of What Ever Happened To Families? For me Lancaster brings it home with this assessment.
He says…
“I said before that I am not willing to turn the clock back and return to pre-industrial times, but I have to ask: Is it worth it? Has the fruit of the industrial age been worth the price? Of course I realize that what’s done is done, and so it may appear pointless to even raise the question. But my concern in asking it is not so much to evaluate a historical trend as it is to try to sharpen in us the trait of discernment.

The cumulative effect of families having a myriad such tools at their disposal is that we are truly the wealthiest generation to have inhabited the earth. Each of our domestic servants — be it the computer, the dishwasher, or the car — enhances our material quality of life the same or even more than if we had a cadre of human servants. Freeing us from the demands of drudgery, we have more time available for nobler pursuits. This is beyond doubt a great blessing.

My question, though, is whether these blessings are worth the price we have paid for them as a society and as families. Reflecting on the changes industrialism brought, Rev. Abshire comments, “These changes in culture undermined and destroyed the sociological foundations that had held the family together from antiquity.” (Patriarch 22, p. 17) Addressing the same subject, the Hories conclude, “The material rewards were often great, but the price was high: the loss of family ties.” (p. 39) Are the material blessings worth the social and spiritual costs?

My answer is an unequivocal No! If I had to choose, I would rather be in a materially poor society where families were intact and fathers were bound to their children than to be in a rich society with families fragmented to the point of practical dissolution. Material prosperity is not worth the price of family destruction.”

It’s well worth checking out the whole writing so here’s the link again. Click here.

As I stated back when I wrote my review on A Journey Home, we too have found that making the move to a simpler life has brought our family closer together. Even with our business, the thing we do for money, I am in and out of here numerous times a day. We’ve worked hard to keep our business local so even when I’m on the road I’m reasonably close to home and really can run back just about any time, if need be. It’s becoming even clearer to me now just how important it is to keep families intact and functioning with BOTH parents close at hand if at all possible.

It’s funny how when people like the ones featured in the movie Inherit The Land commit themselves to these ideals they are almost looked upon as being strange. Like children who are taught at home or live in the country are some how deprived. This could not be further from the truth. In many ways they are spared from the wounds inflicted by a dysfunctional society, a society which is breeding dysfunctional families.

But, back again to the Franklin Springs Family Media holiday gift pack, I would highly recommend getting that if you are interested in seeing what fully functional God honoring families look like. We need movies like that because the examples we see all around us in the world just don’t cut it.

Until Next Time


Anonymous James Morris said...

An outstanding and insightful essay by Philip Lancaster! Thanks for the link, Russ!


8:02 AM  
Blogger RL said...

Your welcome, James!

3:06 PM  

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