|This note from our sister Paige Weston makes me want to slow down and read Wendell Berry’s poem again and again. I hope it blesses you as well. -Renée|
I think often about the instruction in Romans 12:2: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—God’s good, pleasing and perfect will.” Over the years I’ve put a lot of energy into nonconformance with the pattern of my world. Often so much energy, I haven’t had any left with which to listen for or test, let alone act on, God’s will for me. And what happens to me when I surround myself with other nonconformists? Do I just conform to my community’s nonconformance? I worry about stuff like that.
So this week when I encountered Wendell Berry’s “Manifesto” from the Mad Farmer Liberation Front (the MFLF), I got goosebumps. Ask questions that have no answers? Check. Be joyful though I’ve considered the facts? Check. Make more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction? Check and check. In Renée’s absence, may this poem bless you as it has blessed me. pw
“Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front”
by Wendell Berry
Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion — put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Order of Service: 3/31
Sermon: Celebrate Crossing: Church Clarity Verified