Honey and Thistles. Biblical wisdom for the renewal of farming. Christopher Jones & John Martin, Agriculture and Theology Project, 2015. £8.14 including postage. Order copies. Read what people say about the book.
We live in perilous times; there are more of us than there have ever been, and we make more demands on our earthly home than we have ever made – and this increases virtually day by day. In wealthy countries, many of us (though not all) have a diet unimaginable even to the richest of our forebears until about fifty years ago. This is provided to a large extent by cheap labour and intensive farming. Alas, we live in a fool’s paradise – for this way of providing food is unsustainable. Is it possible to feed the world’s people, and to do so justly and sustainably? Christopher Jones and John Martin believe that it is, but only if our farming (like everything else) is ethically directed (for ethics turns out to be practical common sense).
To guide us in our reflection they turn to the Christian Scriptures, believing that in them we have a clue to the ultimate purposes of the one Jews call The NAME, and whom Jesus called Father, the origin and end of all things, the mystery of the world we familiarly call ‘God’. In these writings we find a guide to all of our human conduct, and this includes farming. Honey and Thistles traces the pattern of obedience to The NAME as far as this concerns food and farming. To follow this is to follow the way of life. To turn away from it, the Deuteronomic authors argued as their world collapsed around them, was death. We need urgently to listen to these authors, who share both a lifetime of farming and a lifetime of discipleship, as they stand alongside the ancient authors and urge us to “choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
(Tim Gorringe, Emeritus Professor of Theological Studies, University of Exeter)