In 2004 I married an amazing woman, my wife Sarah. At our wedding we vowed to push our specific love ever towards the universal love of others. Little did we know that six years later we would be living, working, and praying with many other folks on a daily basis. We had spent years working on farms, trying to figure out how to grow a beautiful life.

Wendell Berry writes that what we do and what we consume “are questions of the highest and gravest religious significance. In answering them we practice, or do not practice our religion.”

I had spent years farming because I could think of no other way to practice my faith. I could not and cannot ignore the fact that our food and fiber are procured by disregard for Creation, by violence, and the suffering of others. I wanted to reconnect people with their food source and reexamine how we make our fractured lives whole. After spending 12 years on and off farms, I felt I was failing miserably.At the same time we were struggling with these questions, the words of the gospel and the practice of liturgy began to weigh heavily on me, “sell what you own”, “give up ourselves to your service”, “love your neighbor as yourself”.

I felt called, and I knew countless others struggled with figuring out the same call. I wanted to see the Church respond to an often oppressive world with Christ’s uncommon force of truth and love. I wanted to know how to express a language of repentance which, without paralysis, honestly assesses our corporate sins and literally turns us around. Ultimately, I wanted to find a more intentional discipleship, one that responded to tradition, rooted us in the soil, and preached the poverty and joy of Christ. Since I failed to find that combination of values, Sarah and I and many others have set out to do just that.

Articles written by Paul for Altar & Table.

Koheleth and the Good Soil 

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