Jesus and the Farm Bill

Jesus came from farming country in the northern part of Palestine. The land is fertile and crops grow well there. I remember sitting on a hillside once looking down on some farmland up in the Galilee, and thinking how much it looked like some parts of the Midwest! And, while we think Jesus grew up in a town, perhaps not far from the “big city” of Sepphoris, he would have been surrounded by farmers and farm land.

That undoubtedly accounts for the frequency of agricultural images he uses – such as those in today’s Gospel – about scattering seed (“broadcasting” as it is known) and about the mystery of life and growth which all good farmers understand. Farming is not all about technique and expertise. A lot of it depends on geography and on the cycles of weather – God’s grace…or Providence…or good luck (depending on your theology!)

– From the blog “ecubishop” Bishop Christopher Epting, Staff Officer for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations for the Episcopal Church.

Bishop Epting continues with how all of us can be involved with the feeding of the nation and the world:

But we can be involved in agriculture. Even here in the city. And we can make a difference. Our church is trying to make a difference. According to a recent ENS press release: “As Congress begins the work of reauthorizing the US farm bill, more than a dozen Churches and faith based organizations, including the Episcopal Church, have come together…to urge major changes in US agricultural policy aimed at reducing hunger and poverty, and promoting the livelihood of farmers and rural communities in the US and around the world.”

“The ‘Religious Working Group on the Farm Bill’ which includes Christian denominations, major faith based organizations and the National Council of Churches…has developed a statement of legislative principles for farm bill reform.” According to those principles, the 2007 farm bill should:

*Increase investments that combat rural poverty and strengthen rural communities

*Strengthen and expand programs that reduce hunger and improve nutrition in the US

*Strengthen and increase investment in policies that promote conservation and good stewardship of the land

*Provide transitions for farmers to alternative forms of support that are more equitable and do not distort trade in ways that fuel hunger and poverty

*Protect the health and safety of farmworkers

*Expand research related to alternative, clean and renewable forms of energy

*Improve and expand international food aid in ways that encourage local food security.”

Read it all HERE.

To find out more on what you can do to support this legislation go to The Episcopal Public Policy Network, A Farm Bill to Feed our Nation and the World.

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