I did something yesterday that was contrary to normal sheepherding. I went into a 20-acre field on my ATV and drove about 50 April-born lambs out a gateway into an adjoining field. Without a sheepherding dog to assist me or a few older sheep in the group to provide direction my task was very difficult. It probably took me five to ten times longer to move the sheep than it would have otherwise. The primary problem was that the group had no sense of direction, with one small group going this way, another going the opposite way, others going somewhere different.
The experience was not exactly a new revelation; it was more like confirmation to me that young people, like young sheep, cannot lead one another. Let me be more specific. A typical day for school-age children puts them among their peers for most of their waking hours. Mom and Dad have little direct contact with children who attend public or private schools. We complain that teens know practically nothing about current affairs while they spend time with one another learning very little in school, but quite a bit about pop culture. Quite frankly, kids in America are lacking spiritual leadership, and part of the reason is because they spend too much time isolated in a pasture with their peers. Homeschooling…bring it on!
Yesterday a logger began harvesting some of the hardwood trees on our property. It has been about 60 years since some of that land has had trees harvested. Yesterday’s entry on this blog mentioned a focus on the future. No occupation like the farmer, and no group of people like those who are farm families have looked to the future with such devotion. Family farms are almost a thing of the past, and that “looking to the future” mentality seems to have vanished as well. While grown men now stand in line to purchase via credit card the latest version of some electronic toy that will be obsolete in six months, his great-grandfather was perhaps a farmer who carefully managed his land so there would be a good harvest 60 years later.
I have been to Central America on several trips and the lack of trees on the mountains is one of the first things I noticed. The lack of trees is the result of mismanagement of the land. While the wacko tree-hugging greenies in America get a lot of face time with the press, those people, compared to the American farmer in a family farm situation, know nothing about conservation of our natural resources. My parents and grand-parents were not wealthy, but they were frugal. They didn’t cut every tree and sell every stick of wood just because they owned it. In fact, the house I live in was built by my Dad and the first rooms he built came from used lumber that was acquired by tearing down another old house higher on the mountain near a spring. We had an abundant harvest of some very good apples last month. We have enough of those stored in the cellar to last all winter. They came from a tree my parents planted when they were in their mid-70’s.
Why has the American farmer been so unique in his conservation of natural resources? The short answer on this blog entry is that this nation was founded by Christians and was founded using Christian principles, and more than 90 percent of the people were farmers at that time.
It seems Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback church in California is stepping in a fresh pile every time he turns around. The man, one of America’s poster boys for church growth, appears to have gotten too big for his pulpit britches. High tech gadgets follow people all over the world these days, and some video put on the Internet a few days ago caught Warren in lies concerning his comments as to how Syria is a good place for Christians to reside. It seems one pile was not enough since he has two feet; he scheduled an AIDS conference in his church later this week and invites as speaker Senator Barack Obama of Illinois. Pro-life people jumped all over that news since the Obama is a hard core abortion advocate.
Rich Warren has built one of the largest church congregations in America. His book, The Purpose Driven Life, has sold millions and millions. Some call him a false prophet. Whether he is or not, his fruit of lately is of the wrong type.
Meanwhile here on the farm I mowed the lawn yesterday, which has to be a record for cutting grass late in the year. At 7:30 a.m. today I was out repairing some fence. Later today I will select about 40 lambs to go to market. I don’t do these farm chores in a complete vacuum; I keep pinching myself wondering when Christians in America will wake up, focus on The Good Shepherd, and get over following celebrities. If we have a strong one to one relationship with Jesus Christ the charisma of some man will not sway us. Of course, in the case of churches like Saddleback, one has to wonder if the Warren followers are goats or sheep.