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Remembering Brian Ollman

A Farmer's Search for a Theology of the Land

We are driving today to the farm of John Riddell in Petworth, England. John says we can stay there for the next week and use his barn for some meetings tomorrow. Cool!! John Riddell is a Christian farmer who has done a lot of thinking about a theology of the land.

john riddell.png"Did the Bible offer a sound theology for agriculture? My search for answers reminded me that God created the heavens and the earth, that his creation is good and that we human beings are part of it and have some responsibility for it. But then, as a farmer in North West Sussex, I looked at what we and our forbears had done to it. I saw the damage caused by neglect, bad stewardship and agronomic practices, injustice and the displacement of people. This surely was never what God intended but it did help to explain what Paul meant when he talked about healing and bringing wholeness not only to persons but to the entire created order (Col 1: 19-20). I discovered a gospel which went far beyond personal forgiveness to the transformation of whole communities (2 Cor 5:17). I understood how God’s kingdom cried out not only for a renewed relationship with the Creator, but also for renewed harmony and justice between all peoples and the entire created world order (Isaiah 55:12). "

John and his friends have started the Petworth Stewarship Forum which has managed to put some thoughts down in writing.

"We have a Mission Statement (‘Working together for the land and its people, towards a just and ethical practice’) and for the last three years have been working to develop relationships between landlord, tenants and the local community, ‘joined-up thinking’ in stewarding the land and local resources, diversification projects which serve the local community, opportunities for people to access land to grow their own food linked to local markets."

You can read more of John's thoughts at Together, Together, Together, Together (PDF). Sounds great. I am looking forward to seeing how it all works. Anyone else done some thinking about agriculture and theology?

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