|By Norma Boeckler|
Joel Salatin, Creation farmer, has a great statement in his book, The Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer. He pits himself against the chemical and high-tech agricultural experts by saying, "It's not the how but the why."
|Creation Garden roses - from asking why.|
Salatin pursues the why, which is rooted in Creation. If God created the plants and animals to live and prosper together, why would we not follow that plan? American soil became fertile in ancient times from the deep roots of grasses and the manure of grazing animals. So we switched to grains and began forcing production with nitrogen fertilizer and other chemical marvels. The result - soil is depleted and blows away in the wind - or runs off in the growing menace of floods.
|Larry Olson only answers questions in class when|
the students address him as "Dr. Olson."
A Church Growth DMin is precious in WELS, but the
Means of Grace are despised.
Donald McGavran's How
Some of you are wondering where this is going. The key statement of Church Growth is probably from Donald McGavran, the sultan of self-serving statistics. "We all know that a plane flies. But how does it fly?"
I trembled when I read that statement - not from excitement, but from holding back my belly-laughs in the monastic serenity of the Trinity Seminary Library.
The Church Growth argument is this - All we need to do is reverse-engineer the large congregation to duplicate the results. Thus the now-bankrupt Crystal Cathedral of Robert Schuller, and his generic celebrity bully methods, became the Final Solution for the Church Growth gurus.
The raging question is always - how? - and not why? So if someone asks, "How can I build a large congregation? - the answer is cell groups. Long before I knew John Lawrenz was a founder of Church and Change, I challenged him on authoring a Bible study for cell groups. I told him, "You know that is basic to Pietism? Why promote Pietism?" He had no answer for that.
Lenski began and ended with why? He said something no other church leader would say today, although I once heard a liberal LCA bishop say almost the same thing - "Fads come and go, but only the Word builds up the church." The bishop said, "It all depends on the Word of God."
We can reverse-engineer the why. God clearly teaches, in His best-selling book, that He only works through the Word. To show how true this is, and to engrain it in our hearts and minds, He gave us the analogy of rain and snow.
The rain and snow come down from Heaven and they never return in vain. If you would try to tell farmers or gardeners that snow-melt is nothing, that rain does not change anything, they would write you off as incredibly dull, lacking observational skills, or high on loco-weed.
Rain and snow create seed for the sower and bread for our meals. I just had some bread for breakfast, and Sassy asked for her share, buttered with cinnamon on it. No crust - she spits that out.
Rain is so powerful for gardening that I gather as much as possible in barrels and ration it o the special plants between rains. Some are favorites and others are ICU cases. The tallest Crepe Myrtle twig I have is the one I give rain-water to, almost daily. Transplants are weak at first, so I give them rain-water to boost their roots and feed the microbes in the soil around their roots.
Thus the analogy is perfect. The Word comes from heaven, from God, and He has attached three specific Promises to His Word:
- My Word will never return void, accomplishing nothing.
- My Word will always accomplish My purpose - not man's.
- My Word will prosper My will.
|The lop-sided smile betrays his unhappiness.|
We should not overlook the Promises being three-fold:
- It shall not return unto Me void,
- but it shall accomplish that which I please,
- and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
|The two presidents are laughing about their royal salaries and benefits: "I wonder what the poor are doing tonight?"|