Maybe by now you have heard enough about Pope Francis’s visit to the United States. But, alas, I have to have my turn to comment on this historic event. So, you’ll have to indulge me… (as usual…)
The first thing I want to tell you is that someone asked me the other day, “so, what do you think of the Pope?” I have a feeling the question was asked to toy with me. I suspect this person thought that because the Pope is Catholic, and I spent 15 years as a Lutheran pastor, that I would be at odds with the Pope for that reason alone. Well, I may have surprised my inquisitor when my answer was, “well, I don’t know what he says about everything, but of the things I have heard him speak about, I tend to agree with him.”
This puts before us a larger question – “How do we make decisions?”
In agriculture, many decisions are made based on “how it’s always been done.” Or, possibly, “how is everyone else doing things?” There is certainly a place for those factors in making decisions when it comes to care of the land. But, they can’t be the only standards we use. We need to be able to back up enough to explore if our practices make sense on a variety of levels.
And this line of questioning applies to much more than just agriculture, or whether or not I like the Pope. It has to do with how we make decisions every moment of every day. Do we base our decisions on who we align ourselves with? Or, do we decide who we align ourselves with based on what they say, do, or think? Or, do we make our decisions looking at each circumstance individually?
There are many ways to make decisions in life. Be them small decisions or large ones. But, we do well to understand exactly how we come to the conclusions we come to. What influences us? And why? And, is it possible there is another way of looking at something? Can I agree with the Pope and still be a Lutheran? Can I practice minimal till on my farm if grandpa always had to plow the soil until that dirt was black? Why am I doing what I’m doing? Might there be more to every story? Maybe a different way of seeing things?
It’s worth wondering, every moment of every day.