Pastors and Possibilities…

I recently attended the Florida Winter Pastor’s School at Stetson University in Deland, Florida to hear farmer and author Wendell Berry. My friend the Reverend Enoch Hendry of Trinity United Methodist Church in Savannah invited me to attend, reminding me that I introduced him to Berry’s writing more than 25 years ago. There were about 200 pastors in attendance from 18 states and Canada. Ages ranged from 30 to more than 75 years old, with the majority looking to be within 10 years of my 58 years. The time was useful for several reasons…

 

Wendell Berry’s presentation about economics – home economics- is built on more fundamental understandings of the long cycles of life than anything I read in The New York Times, or Commentary or The Wall Street Journal. This long view puts the day’s headlines in perspective.

 

In Berry’s view, local is essential. Local food growing and consumption, local banking with investor, banker and customer being seen as part of the same weave of community and local responsibility, including people trying to care about and for one another.

 

Berry believes and articulates the notion that affection for a particular place and people creates community and that community is, in the long arc of things, the fundamental building block of a culture capable of sustaining itself and its people.

 

Two questions we ask in citizen advocacy – What can people come to mean to one another? What can people come to mean to the greater good?- are questions that freshen and strengthen the soil of community. Berry’s deep understanding of the connection good land use, what is now called sustainability, and good community life builds a wide and strong bridge between our work and the great young people of Savannah who consider sustainability an important issue. Berry’s world view link pulls us up under a big good umbrella.

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