Seeds, society and stewardship, oh my!

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“A man will reap what he sows.” — Galatians 6:7-9 

SPO_103113_gardenIsn’t that such a timeless principle? It doesn’t matter what faith background you come from; this is a simple truth that endures through all generations for every person on the planet, and it can’t be altered.

No one can plant a potato and expect an apple to grow. It just doesn’t work that way.

In light of this timeless principle, what if we considered the values of our society as seeds planted in our minds and hearts? Have you ever considered a correlation between the fruit of our society and the values of our society? What do you notice? I see broken relationships, poverty and greed, abuse and neglect, addiction, dishonesty, apathy and depression, obesity, fatherless-ness, inequality and consumerism. If these are things growing in our society, what kind of seeds are we planting? I think the four things our society values most are: ease, comfort, efficiency and effectiveness. While these are not the only things our society values, I find them to be most prevalent.

So, how does all this “societal seed talk” relate to environmental stewardship (the real topic I was asked to share about)? Well, let me tie it all together with a story.

This year I’ve been blessed with a double lot in the West Central neighborhood. Upon acquiring this little gem, I could see its potential as an urban homestead. Everything in me loved the idea of digging in the dirt, composting our kitchen scraps, growing plants from seeds, harvesting my own vegetables, raising chickens and rabbits; it was dreamy! With great ambition and zeal I began to implement the vision, and then reality showed up on my porch like an unpleasant skunk. Growing food and moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle wasn’t like a Pintrest board; it was hard work! Cultivating land takes time, effort, energy and great patience. Most of all, there was no guarantee or promise of results, at least not instant ones (which are the results I like the best!).

Growing a garden, raising animals and moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle goes against everything our society esteems. Sure, it’s trendy. But when it comes down to it, cultivating my little plot of land is difficult, uncomfortable, inefficient and on occasion, ineffective. But as I have embraced these four odd and foreign values as dear friends, and they have produced great fruit in my life.

I think environmental stewardship is crucial in our holistic development as a community. It starts with what we have. But I am not sure we’ll be good at stewarding anything until we recognize the cheapening effects of ease, comfort, efficiency and effectiveness on our society.

I’ll leave you with this proverb from the Cree tribe to think upon: “Only after the last tree has been cut down, the last river has been poisoned, the last fish caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.”

Join Spokane Faith & Values at 10 a.m., Nov. 2 at Indaba Coffee for Coffee Talk, where panelists will discuss Environmental Stewardship. Brown is a panelist. 

About Annie May Brown

Annie May Brown is a passionate and joyful soul who moved to Spokane in 2011 with hopes of pursuing, creating and cultivating rich and authentic community. Within a year of being in Spokane, her hopes are budding.

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