starting at the beginning, part 1: take dominion

Since I vented a little last week, I’ve been struggling at where to begin my newly acquired, long list of posts. Today I just decided I would start where it makes sense: at the beginning.

As homesteaders and Christians, we turn to the Bible to instruct us on what we should do in all parts of life (or at least we should). So what does the Bible first say about homesteading? To the very first man and woman, who he created in a garden full of vegetation and animals, He gave this charge.

Genesis 1:27-28 (ESV)

“So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Then God destroyed the earth with a flood, preserving one man and woman and their progeny. Again, He charged them,

Genesis 9:1-3 (ESV)

“And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered.  Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.”

Later on, the Psalmist, David, would sing in praise of the mandate God has placed upon mankind.

Psalm 8:3-8 (ESV)

“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
 what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?

 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
    and crowned him with glory and honor.
 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under his feet,
 all sheep and oxen,
    and also the beasts of the field,
 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.”

The prophets prophesied about what manner we are to respond to the creation, fellow man, and the Lord.

Micah 6:8

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

What can we learn about homesteading through these verses?

“…subdue it, and have dominion…”

When we think of the words “subdue” and “dominion,” several thoughts may come into your mind. You may be thinking of “dominance,” which may in turn cause you to think of “abuse” and/or “slavery”. I believe this is a very toxic way of viewing this mandate. God did not charge mankind with abusing and enslaving the earth, men, and animals. However, since sin entered the world, it seems as though that is exactly what mankind has done.

We have seen how barbaric some of mankind has been. Over the course of history up until present time we have seen slavery in many forms, and toward many people groups, along with various kinds of abuses including prostitution, human sacrifice (both child and adult), fighting to the death, warfare, etc. Testing, fighting, and other kinds of abuses in the name of both science and entertainment have been inflicted upon animals. Finally, there is earth abuse which we can see plainly from landfills, oil spills, air pollution, radiation, nuclear warfare, etc.

This is not dominion. This is sickness.

Christians should be the remedy instead of contributing to the problem.

Dominion comes from the latin dominus, ‘lord, master.’ In other words, humankind is to take charge of the earth and all that dwells therein. Furthermore, God destroyed the earth with a flood when men became corrupt and wicked, preserving the one man, Noah (and his family), who still obeyed Him. God wants His people to obey his mandate; to be benevolent caretakers of the earth He created. “Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly…

It’s sad to say that the tree-hugging hippies and environmentalist pagans are doing a better job advocating for “mother earth” than the Christians who were given this charge.

Jesus told this parable:

Luke 12:35-40

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

Do you think Christ, at His return, will be impressed at that you were waiting at the door of your house reading the book of Revelation? Or do you think he would rather return to His people who are working hard at obeying all the commands of His Father who sent Him.

Love God above all (obey him, not man)

Love others (do justice, love kindness)

Take dominion

Be fruitful and multiply, filling the earth
(have sex and babies! make sure there are more babies than parents – this is how multiplication works in case you forgot. if you can’t make babies, adopt!)

Make disciples of all nations (not just witnessing, but training)

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From the Kitchen: Ashley’s chicken alfredo (gluten-free & THM – S)

This recipe comes from my friend Ashley who always makes such yummy foods! I have been wanting lots of good fatty foods with this current pregnancy (yep, #3 is in the oven!). So without further ado, I present….

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Ashley’s Chicken Alfredo

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts cubed (you may also use ready cooked chicken in the equivalent amount)
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 c. chicken broth
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/2 c. parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 c. heavy cream
  • salt, pepper, basil, paprika, and a pinch of cayenne to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. xantham gum (or enough to get desired thickness)

Directions:

  • Fry up chicken breast in coconut oil until cooked through
  • Add chicken broth, butter, parmesan, heavy cream, and seasonings and stir, letting the butter melt.
  • Add xantham gum and let thicken.

Serve with GF noodles/pasta, or zucchini noodles (aka zoodles).

more to homesteading.

So far as this blog has been concerned, I haven’t talked a WHOLE lot about my spiritual beliefs. For the most part, I wanted to keep those kind of things off the blog to make it more accessible to to the masses. I haven’t shied away from talking about my faith completely (I did have Thursday Thanks going for a while), I just chose not to make this the forum for talking about faith.

I didn’t want to offend people by my beliefs and get hate/controvercial comments. I was afraid I would end up making enemies of the people who like me based on what they don’t know about me.

I believe this was a mistake.

For a while I was able to make this blog work. Talk about farmy things, talk about family things, talk about kitcheny things. Blah, blah, blah.

The problem is that my faith is the essence of who I am. The way I look at farming, family, food, my entire world is based on what I believe (or don’t believe) about God. Without connecting my life with my faith, my world seems duller to me; uninteresting. When I connect my life to God, my world becomes beautiful and alive. By disconnecting the two, I ran out of things to write, and the motivation to write.

My apologies to those who like to read my blog. I will be writing more, and the content will become skewed to my moral biases. You can continue to read if you like. If what you read offends you, makes you mad, and you don’t like it, well… 3 things. 1) You can talk to me in a kind way about it, and my mind may change, 2) you can talk kindly to me about it and my mind may not change, but we can agree to disagree, or 3) you can stop reading this stuff that upsets you so much.

The things I will talk about:

  • This is a homestead blog after all so I will write about the earth, and what we believe our responsibility is to it from our Christian perspective
  • The home, and what we believe our responsibilities are there. Homeschooling, housework (cooking/cleaning/playing),
  • Marriage
  • Gender roles, which I believe are equal in importance, but different.
  • Eschatology (how we view the future)
  • Probably other related stuff that I can’t yet think about.

People will get a good look at how abnormal of a person I am. But you know what? Who wants to be the same?

I met my husband on the internet.

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A friend asked how I met my husband, because we lost touch over that period of time and just recently connected. So instead of having a conversation like human beings did in a world without social media, I have decided to share it with the world. After all, the whole way I met my husband was through blogging, so it only makes sense to tell about it that way.

Once upon a time…

…way back in the early 2000’s when social media consisted of much more superficial forums such as livejournal and myspace, some friends persuaded me to join xanga. Oh the days when you would make your diary public, exploit your heart, and let all your friends and strangers comment on it. Anyway, I jumped in with both feet. I planned out my color schemes about 3 times a week, joined blog rings, stalked my friends, and when they were too boring, I stalked strangers who had also joined the afore mentioned blog rings.

I always ended up unintentionally reading this one boy’s blog that kept getting bumped to the top of the “I ❤ Norma Jean!!!” blog ring. Not because this boy loved Norma Jean so much, but because he posted a new post 2-3 times a day. He was pretty interesting. He wrote a lot about theology, and I was into that. He was in college and was majoring in graphic design, and while I know very little about graphic design, my dad also majored in graphic design in college. So I would comment on his art posts from time to time, and eventually he would start to comment on my own posts.

It happened slowly, and after 7 years it’s hard to remember all of the how or whys, but we did eventually start talking to one another. First on myspace and facebook, then on AIM (which was before facebook messenger). It wasn’t too long before Joe’s mom, sister, and brother (also xanga users) noticed some strange girl talking to him and started following our conversations. Then he went home to Kansas for the summer and they started gathering around Joe’s computer whenever he would talk to me. My siblings also started to talk to him via AIM. And at some point a conspiracy was hatched behind our backs that Joe and Nicki needed to get married.

One day Joe’s mom, who had somehow acquired my phone number, gave me a call, and then after a few moments of conversation handed the phone to Joe, insomuch forcing our first verbal conversation. After we started calling one another once or twice a week, his mom suggested that I fly out to meet them.

Let me not forget to mention that in the midst of this ridiculous friendship that was starting, I had already kind of given up the idea that I would meet someone. As much as I was amused by Joe’s family, and yes I was curious about him, and I very much enjoyed having conversations with him, I wasn’t about to set myself up for disappointment. Realistically I didn’t expect anything to happen with a boy who lived halfway across the country who I had met on the internet. I had real plans for my life.

I had just been to visit Sarajevo, Bosnia on a week long ministry convention for homeschoolers, and was preparing to go back indefinitely. While there I would take the responsibility of heading an English language library and work along side a team who was working to translate the bible into Serbo-Croatian.

So of course, Joe and I made a plan to meet one another! Why not.

In January 2008 I was to fly to Orlando, Florida to be appointed as a missionary with an organization, and from there I would work to raise the support I needed. His mom’s plan was to make my return “home” flight to their home in Kansas, and then after my visit, they would fly me back to Maine. Good plan, horrible idea.

I thought to myself, “I kinda want to meet, but what if they are super creepy, not what they seem people ready to kidnap me!?” SUCH a bad idea. Then I thought to myself, “My parents would never go for this! Perfect! I have my out. My parents will say this is a bad idea, and then I can tell these folks no without feeling bad about it.” So then I ask, and I say, “Mom, this guy I’ve been talking to on the internet…well his mom wants to fly me out to meet him and his family.”

And then my sister immediately butts in and says, “Yes! Do it! Mom, you have to let her go. He is awesome!”

Great.

Mom said she’d talk about it with dad, and then they LET ME GO! WHAT!?

So I went.

We met.

I left.

We were both sad.

It felt like I was leaving my best friend, never to be seen again.

The following weekend was my birthday and that same weekend Joe went out hunting with his dad to ask for some man advice on what to do about me. His dad told him to be a man and do something about it. So Joe wrote 3 letters. One was to my parents, one was to my siblings, and one was to me. My parents and siblings got theirs first. They were letters thanking them for trusting me into the care of strangers and that I was a joy and a delight (my own adjectives added). Well, my dad was super impressed by this so Joe was earning some points.

When I finally got my letter it was telling me how much he had come to value our friendship, that he respected my decision to go to Sarajevo, but that he would like to pursue a more serious relationship with me if I was on board with it. By the end of the day I had told him yes, and he was emailing my parents to ask their permission.

In March, he flew to Maine to meet my family.

In May, he moved into our basement, got a job, paid off his student loans.

In October we got engaged.

In March 2009 I left to serve in Bosnia i Herzegovina for 7 months.

I came home in October.

We were married in September 2010.

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The End.

I’m not normal.

Today, after reading various online articles in my facebook feed (maybe I shouldn’t have done that today), I came to a conclusion. I have come to this conclusion many other times over the past 15 or so years. The more my life goes on, the more my values, morals, and worldview are sculpted, I seem to feel firmer in this conclusion.

I am not your normal Christian woman.

But what is normal?

Christianity, like every other religion and belief system is full of hypocrites, legalists, and just a bunch of flawed people. Because no matter how fake or sincere a person is, no one is perfect. Because human beings are flawed and don’t follow through, even the best intentioned, there are those just waiting in the wings to cast stones, criticize, slander, and gossip.

All these things make my heart heavy.

So as a result of flawed thinking and getting stuff wrong, normal Christianity is a whole lot of crazy. You have all kinds of factions. Some are loose and liberal. Some are nothing like what the Bible teaches Christianity to be; heretical yet still tolerated. Some are legalistic and uber judgmental. Some are downright cult-like.

Why would I want to keep identifying myself with all this crazy?

Well…because I love Christ.

What is Christianity at its core, except believing in Christ, that He is God, that He died for my sins and rose again to save me from them, and that He will one day return for His elect. Because I believe this, I follow Christ and do my best, fail, and try again to be like Him and do what He instructs me in the Bible.

Yes. If this is not what you believe, this sounds absurd. But. If at the end of my life this turns out to be wrong, who have I hurt more than the next person? Perhaps I have done a little good in the world and made a small fool of myself. I think I can live with that. Because I’m not perfect. Just like you.

So why am I not normal?

Who am I?

 

I am a Christian.

I am Reformed.

I baptize my babies.

I do not send my children to Sunday School, and won’t send them to Youth Group when they get older.

I am a woman.

I am a submissive [as possible for an imperfect] wife.

I do not believe in divorce or remarriage while my [former] spouse is still alive.

I believe in temporary separation (if necessary) and reconciliation (even if it takes a lifetime to accomplish).

I believe in women being treated with love and respect, and sticking up for themselves.

I believe in restraining orders.

I do not believe that to be feminism.

I am a mother.

I am pro-life.

I believe children are a blessing, not a limitation.

I will not use birth control, and therefore will screw up population control.

I have my babies at home.

I do not vaccinate.

I homeschool.

I may let my children date.

I will expose my children to beliefs, lifestyles, and religions other than my own.

I will teach them love and respect for those who they do not agree with.

I am a conservative who believes in social activism and environmentalism.

I will try not to disrespect my leaders (family, church, gov’t, etc.), even if I do not agree with them or did not elect/vote for them.

Sometimes my political and moral beliefs conflict with one another.

I don’t think America is a Christian nation.

I don’t believe in “dieting.”

I do believe in eating healthy, God-made food.

I don’t believe in going to the gym.

I do believe in moderate exercise and taking care of the body God gave me.

I can be very judgmental and unknowingly rude, but I feel remorse deeply, hate to disappoint others, and forgive quickly; never bearing a grudge.

I am a loyal friend to the point of taking abuse and being used.

I hate gossip, and will always try to get my information from the source.

I use less than savory language, but am trying to get better for the sake of my kids.

I drink alcohol and I’m not an alcoholic.

I listen to secular music and it hasn’t rotted my soul.

I am not ashamed of who I am.

I’m sure this is a short list. But…I’m not normal Christian, who happens to be a woman.