Sometimes in my book, God Is Just Love, Building Spiritual Resilience for the Sake of Our Children and the Creation, I talk about preparing for the future. That has led to some readers asking me, “Are you a prophet?” I also expect to be asked a question like this someday by a radio interviewer or during a Q & A after a live presentation.
First of all, let me define “prophet.” The prophets I honor from the Hebrew scriptures, including Hosea, Micah and Amos, or from contemporary history, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Junior and Bill McKibben, are not prognosticators. They do not predict the future; they are not fore-tellers. Their special gift is telling the truth, or to say it another way, they are forth-tellers; they speak forth words of truth that people in power and people in denial do not want to hear.
As a preacher, teacher and now author, I have always strived to speak forth the truth. That determination compels me to engage in long and laborious study, reading, listening, observing the signs of the times and prayer prior to speaking forth what I hope is the truth. God Is Just Love is certainly an end product of such labor in pursuit of the truth. In that sense I am a prophet. But it is definitely not the end of the product. The truth that needs to be spoken forth is still emerging. I still am often confused about how and when to speak forth the truth as I am discerning truth.
At least a few people have been reading my book to the end. I know this because of the questions they have asked. There is a unique “prediction” of sorts in the last chapter. It is not prophecy or prediction, just goals that I hoped would be soon achieved. After giving a long list of specific skills any of us could learn in order to be more self-reliant, and to demonstrate to ourselves and others that we can adapt and live well amidst changing circumstances, I wrote in February, 2020:
“Those are enough ideas to get us started and more than we can afford now. But check us out this summer. Something will be different in our world.” (p. 138)
A curious reader asked me what exactly, six months later, was different in our world. Had our goals been achieved? Yes. Here are some illustrations:
We extended our back yard by building a campfire circle off the patio. We gathered the necessary tools and began learning to cook on an open campfire, including baking bread.
The first loaf from the campfire, cooked inside the Dutch oven.
Kathy began learning to weave cloth and rugs.
We had a hearty first season in our organic garden; popcorn, beans, tomatoes, squash, thanks to Kathy’s hard work and support from experts in Hide-A-Way Hills. At the end of the season the family gathered at the garden for a ritual of giving thanks and to bless the soil as it began its winter rest. Similar to the ritual of Native Americans, the children sprinkled tobacco on the ground.
Kathy also began canning. This year she put up tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, salsa, applesauce, and we froze corn. The garden will me more than twice as big this summer, adding strawberries and raspberries.
Ken and the grandchildren learned how to make topsoil. We bagged about 800 pounds made from household garbage, grass, leaves, sawdust and horse manure and had it evaluated by OSU Extension. We plan to quadruple our production this year.
For us, these are all new skills and projects. There is a learning curve for such skills. It is best to start learning before they are needed.
If you visit this summer or next winter, what else will you see and try out for yourself? An archery range? Bring your muscles and we will let you practice using only hand tools for cutting firewood. A wood stove for heating and another for cooking. (That green contraption below is really an antique wood cooking stove, rescued from a basement where it had sat gathering dust for 6 decades.) Will Ken finally get his act together for teaching the grandchildren to fish? Could there possibly be…couldn’t be…a sawdust potty? Who knows? Come and See!