getting angry

The whole creation groans. Me. The poor, the widows, the orphans. The trees, the cattle, the chickens, the cornfields (okay, maybe not the cornfields; corn is king).

I’ve been reading about social justice and food. I’ve had this perpetual pressure in my sinus area — tears ready to burst at the injustice in the world. If being an environmentalist means I care about this world and everything in it, yes, I guess I’m an environmentalist.

It started with reading Justice in the Burbs by Will and Lisa Samson. It’s only been a week, and I already feel the wisdom of that book slipping from my memory. But I still remember the assignments I gave myself: to open my heart and arms (and not just my checkbook) to the suffering people of this world. Why? Because it’s right.

There was an interview on our local NPR station today that made me mad. This lady was trying to convince women that it was too risky to forsake their occupations and stay home with their babies. “Because what do you do when divorce or death claims your husband? You’ll have no way to support yourself!” Well, number one, if women kept their vows to their husbands, divorce wouldn’t be in today’s epidemic proportions. As for the widows, followers of God have been commanded to care for them, so wives shouldn’t be left in dire straits even if their husband does die. I could go on and on, but the point is: the system is broken. This is a broken, broken world. Women shouldn’t be made to feel like it’s risky to be a stay-at-home mom.

Let me change gears.

Reading a book about the history of food — The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan — didn’t seem to be something that would call that slow, dull ache back into my throat. But as I read it, I keep asking, “God, what are we doing to your world?” As for our production and consumption of food, we’re so deep in poisonous cow manure (that literally coats the floors of our super beef-producing factories in America’s “heart”land) that we can’t even find a conceivable way out of it.

I’m so angry with the people who tricked our nation into believing that corn-fed beef is something wonderful, when in fact, it sickens creatures God made to eat grass (the cows, not us). But when you have your plate full of that “prime” corn-fed steak, you’re feeding yourself a long, slow death, too. Beef wasn’t meant to be poisonous.

I’m fed up with the industrialization and materialism in America, with the lie that says that you can have it all. I’m angry I don’t know how to practice the attribute called sacrifice. I’m frustrated that I, who grew up proud to say, “I’m a farmer’s daughter,” feel my agricultural background crashing in on me, slicing away my idealism that my daddy farmed perfectly. I’m angry that he probably didn’t have that option, and I’m angry that I don’t have the freedom to do things the best way possible because of how our nation’s politics work.

I’m tired of standing in front of the display of bread and being upset because all the healthy-looking hamburger buns cost twice as much as the bleached-white ones. I want eating “natural” to come naturally. But instead, it requires research, money, and… sacrifice.

I want to open a farm. I want to grow things without poison and sell them for the prices they’re worth. I want to invite people to work there who need love and a job and someone to pull them up (because they haven’t found those bootstraps everybody keeps talking about). I want to know an orphan; I want to know a widow. I want to stop being a glutton for fast food, gasoline, and cheap relationships.

I want to stop being a hypocrite.

    • Luke
    • August 16th, 2007

    I think my post dove-tails nicely with this. I agree, it is frustrating. So, the question is, how do we check out of this system? It seems overwhelming to the point of impossible.

    It would require more than sacrifice alone. It would require sacrifice in the face of indulgence. It would require a lifestyle earthquake. It would require discipline on a level far above what I’m used to.


    • c.l.beyer
    • August 16th, 2007

    I guess you just start small.

    Since I’m on a food kick right now, I’m going to a farmers’ market tomorrow — one that actually has locally grown produce sold by the farmers who grew it. Why is that be such an anomaly around here? I don’t know, but I want more of it, so I guess I have to support it.

    • Jill
    • August 17th, 2007

    Wow, Carrie. Amen. Amen. Amen.

    Sometimes I want to just chuck this materialistic life and join a self-sustaining commune.

    I’m reading _The Omnivore’s Dilemma_ right now–it fills me with purpose and anger and hope that perhaps I can provide a better, healthier life for my family. I’ll have to read _Justice in the Burbs_. Have you read _Animal, Vegetable, Miracle_? I think you’d love it. Thanks so much for this post.

    • Anonymous
    • August 20th, 2007

    C.L.B – I’m really impressed . . . and nostalgic too . . . reading a few of these reminded me how fun it was to have you and your family as neighbors after you moved out near Morrill . . . fun memories . . . enjoy your sense of humor and your spiritual spirit . . .

    Scott Aberle

    • Rachel
    • August 20th, 2007


    Yes. The older I grow, the more the world weighs on me. It must be the creation groaning, awaiting redemption. May his kingdom come. I want all the parts of my life (my time, my garbage, my kids, etc.) to see his advent _now_. And you’re right: that’s going to take some sacrifice and some real transformation.

    Thanks for writing this courageous post.

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