I want to discuss a claim that, "In America 1% (+/-) of the people feed everyone else plus a bunch of the rest of the world." The thought first came to me Sunday as I listened to the pastor's sermon. The text was Christ's discussion of the church being a vine and how God maintains that vine (the gospel of John chapter 15). My thought may or may not be related to the text.
John 15 (New International Version, ©2011)
The Vine and the Branches1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
My thought is that the 1% are being a little arrogant and short sighted in their claim. We in agriculture couldn't do what we do without the other 99% doing what they do. We are all dependent on each other as a society for food, fiber, and energy.
Don't we all have one very basic need in common? Food. The most basic question each of us asks, at some level, everyday is, "What is there to eat". Throughout history the strength of a society has always been determined by how well they could answer that question. Society says, "We must have food before we can do anything else." If everyone must spend all day, every day, trying to get food there is no time for education, science, philosophy, art, construction, etc.. Think of the TV show "survivor", or a PBS show about the adventurers (Doner, Greeley, Pilgrims, Jamestown, pioneers, etc.). The first job is "Find Food". The history of war usually pivots on this issue. The medieval siege was about food. Napoleon in Russia was about food. The battle for the Atlantic was about food. The Berlin airlift was about food.
In the U.S. we are blessed with a societal system that has been able to "free" enormous numbers of people from the task of "Find food" to do other things. Some, I would argue, all, of these things contribute to the production and availability of still more food. I can not think of a job field that does not impact agriculture. Manufacturing is absolutely essential for the machines. Petroleum is essential for energy, fertilizer, and chemicals. Electronics power everything. The list is endless and I can't begin to realise the connections.
The point is that we, every American, should be, and can be, involved in the answer to society's most basic question, "What is there to eat?" because we are all part of the same vine.
I am of course overlooking that part of the sermon that deals with those parts of the vine that are not helping. That would be another point for Oprah (and her staff) to ponder.
Thank you for your thought.
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