Gentleman farmers and preaching...

This is funny. I've know a couple gentleman farmers who are a little better at it than P. J. O'Rourke.

The boarding stable where P. J.'s daughter's pony now lives does, in fact, have someone who deals with the (stuff) his daughter preferred to avoid. For several years in junior high school I worked cleaning a boarding stable's stalls. Here's a proverb I love:

Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, But much revenue comes by the strength of the ox. (Proverbs 14:4)

Faithful ministry always gets us dirty. It's unavoidable. Anyone contending for God's Truth should first roll up his pants legs and shirt sleeves...

Which is the reason so much Reformed, Evangelical preaching avoids the conscience and application. Souls might confess sin and that's so very messy. Children might fill up the nursery and that's so very messy. New believers may need to be nursed and changed and that's so very messy.

The preaching and teaching ministry of churches is insipid, so the church's marriage beds and worship aren't fruitful, and that's the point. Souls aren't born or born again. The manger is fruitless.

But it's very very clean.

We must have faith to get dirty. As dirty as motherhood and fatherhood. As dirty as the Apostle Paul.


"This is funny. I've know a couple gentleman farmers who are a little better at it than P. J. O'Rourke."

Wow, I wish I could be one of the ones doing a little better than he is. Sounds like he's doing far better than I ever have! (The time when I cut through our main water supply line while building fence comes to mind. Or perhaps when I planted three cherry trees only to find them the next morning completely stripped of all foliage and small branches by the deer.)

Shoveling horse manure was the first job I got when I moved to Bloomington. I must admit there is something endearing about it--smells n' all; you see what you get. There was satisfaction in making the mucky stall clean and inhabitable through all the sweat and the dirt--then in the end, the muck stains that covered my boots became my joy.

On the other hand, despite the endless shattering of idyllic notions, there are unforeseen benefits in the lessons country kids learn. For example, this week at small group my two year old gave a response which I think is a solid contender for "Small group quote-of-the-week."

Leader: "So when pets die, their bodies rot and they're gone forever. What happens when people die?"

Olivia: "We don't butcher them."

I just judged a science fair, and far and away the most interesting projects were from the farm kids. Something about paying attention to "lookin' at nothin'" all day makes those kids creative as anything. My favorite one was a kid who measured the variance of bullet speed from his .257 Weatherby (put ice on that shoulder, kiddo) when the cartridges were cold, lukewarm, and hot.

Be fruitful and means multiple things, doesn't it?

Another fun story about horses; while on a tour of Mackinaw Island, our guide noted that when the lilacs are blooming, the scent is almost powerful enough to overcome that of horse manure. ALMOST.

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