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Garden Tomatoes and Rocket Ships

If all goes according to plan, in the fall I will be filling in for my colleague on sabbatical and teaching the course “Sustainability in Action” at Point Loma Nazarene University. The purpose of the course is “to equip us as scholars and citizens of the United States, the world, and Christ’s Kingdom to be effective champions of the changes humanity must make in order to live sustainably within the ecological and social limits of earth.”

In preparation for the class I have been brushing up on my agrarian readings. Today I have been enjoying Norman Wirzba’s edited volume, The Future of Culture, Community, and the Land: The Essential Agrarian Essays. By itself Barbara Kingsolver’s “Forward” is worth price of the book.

Yet, this afternoon I took a break from reading agrarian prescriptions for sustainability to watch the livestream of the SpaceX Falcon launch to the International Space Station. It was killer! And yesterday’s news from NASA that the exoplanet Kepler 186f orbits within the habitable zone of its star was awesomeness on a Perelandraic order. Perhaps this is as good a time as any to confess I am secretly writing a sci-fi story.

By now, you are wondering where I am heading with this blog post. Well, it is less a post with a point than an inquiry. You see what is odd about my interest in agrarianism and outer space is that I am completely removed from both. I am a non-astronautical, indoors suburbanite who nevertheless thinks farming and space flight are spellbinding.

What I want to know is, why? Obviously it makes sense to ask rabbits about garden tomatoes. This group of rabbits, however, seem to know a thing or two about space. (“Blast through the glass of the atmosphere.” “Rocket, rocket shooting to the moon.” Leonard?)

What I cannot imagine is Wendell Berry in a cosmonaut suit. What I can imagine, if ever I journeyed to Mars, is kicking back in a pressurized chamber reading Jayber Crow. What I am having a hard time figuring out is how my imagination works.


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