Tuesday, August 13, 2013

No more GMO church - Part 1

We recently decided to take a break from "attending church services" with some of our local brethren. Even saying that sentence feels so wrong - as it should given it's so loaded with scriptural misunderstandings and errors. Better said, we've taken a break from being involved in what we're going to refer to as "GMO Church". More on that below...

Taking a break has caused some speculations, worries, grievances, curiosities and more. While we seek to address those in ways that unfold truth, but conveys love for The Body of Christ and no judgement for others is tough. Misunderstandings abound. Many will have hurt feelings simply because they cannot help but feel judged personally along with the system(s) they're involved with. We see the basis of relating as a person - Jesus - not a common meeting place, time, or event. Though we're willing and used to being misunderstood, we'd still like to know we've tried to offer some rationale to those who are sincerely interested in understanding our hearts and intentions.

And so, we're doing a series of blog posts for those interested to read. Below is the first part. It would be best to read these in order :)

Part 1
We're gardeners... not very good ones, but we enjoy gardening, or at least the hope of growing healthy foods that will sustain and nourish our family and others too. As we've gained experience and knowledge in gardening, we've come to understand some things about growing - especially in a sustainable, repeatable fashion - one that anyone could do and teach to others.

This means growing things in a way that requires little intervention in the growing process. We do see involvement in growing as necessary, however, the difference in labor between these two terms is substantial!

Consider this... most agriculture in western culture is heavily dependent on non-sustainable technology and practices, It frequently employes an intervention approach. If you just let most modern produce sit in the field, it would not grow beyond one season. It's so technically dependent on process, engineering and technology, that it doesn't stand much chance of ongoing life without intervention. Further, it often tends to endanger any natural, organic produce growing nearby. More on that in a sec.

Ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, bringing upon them a curse on the ground among other things, mankind has devoted substantial efforts towards overcoming that curse. One of the outcomes has been the ideas that if we tinker with the genetic make up of plants (and animals), we can grow more crops - better, faster, cheaper and with less effort. In our efforts to do so, we've realized certain small victories, but perhaps at great expense - especially in regards to the natural world and created order of things.

The process of tinkering with the genetic makeup of plants produces what are referred to "GMO(s)" or "Genetically Modified Organism(s)". Some GMO efforts are quite harmless and little more than speeding up the process of selecting the best attributes of one kind of cucumber and the best attributes of another cucumber and combining them to make an awesome cucumber. This has been done for millennia by gardeners hand-pollinating plants, keeping the resulting seeds and repeating the process to develop good quality seeds. However, many GMO efforts change the very DNA of a species often by inserting foreign elements into the DNA in order to take attributes from one unrelated species and combine them to produce outcomes not naturally possible. It would be like inserting mouse DNA into a cucumber because the mouse had some attribute that would be especially helpful to a cucumber.

The most famous examples are corn, wheat, and soy that are immune to pesticides such as "Glyphosate" (Roundup). Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide. It kills just about any kind of plant. Corporations have used GMO technology to produce plants that are immune to this herbicide. It would be equivalent to creating people who could resist poisons. That means a farmer can bypass the normal labor of farming, spray the entire crop of living plants with Glyphosate  and only the weeds will die. Another example is often "BT Corn" which is corn with "Bacillus Thuringiensis" baked-in to it so that it basically contains it's own pesticide. On the surface these might sound great to some. But are they?

This is almost the stuff of science fiction and produces "frankencrops". These crops initially appear to save time and labor - overcoming the curse God placed on the ground in Genesis - attractive to someone looking to bypass the labor of weeding, no doubt - but those ingesting these crops are eating pesticide-laden food as a result! Though this process may have started with good intentions, it has become the bane of many a farmer - even leading some to commit suicide!

Many will say "it's impossible to feed the world without these GMO crops and process!" Friends...that's bullshit... People suffer for lack of understanding, not because they lack herbicide-resistant crops. People have gotten their sustenance from growing things without GMO since time immemorial. They still can today. However, that's a topic for another blog post another time...

Needless to say, experienced GMO farmers might tell you that the price hasn't been worth it. Many feel stuck and are slaves to the intervention approach. They do produce crops, but they've also got a system that cannot move forward with ongoing intervention in increasing measure - they very opposite of sustainable.

Stay tuned for Part 2  where we'll discuss those consequences and begin to explain what that has to do with "church".

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