I had the rare privilege growing up, working and living on a farm. This provided a deep sense of connection with the land, the seasons and God’s mysterious presence and creativity in them. I left that lifestyle to follow the call of working in the church full time, though I sometimes wonder if I should have stayed. Though probably romanticized, I miss the hours of quiet contemplation on a tractor seat, getting dirty and sweaty, and even rubbing shoulders with cows (though not the never-ending work in rain, cold and heat). I also miss the community that farming can create through shared struggles and experience.
I presently keep a garden for fresh vegetables and fruit, and the experience of hard, sweaty, dirty work, and silent contemplation. But I have also found those rewards along with shared community in cycling. My first extended cycling experience was biking from Astoria, Oregon, to Ocean City, New Jersey. It was an incredible adventure, but also an eye-opening delight in God’s creation: the beauty, power, and variety of nature, but also humanity and the kindness of people we met along the way.
I am troubled by the increase in the speed at which we live, and the resulting disconnection from nature, each other, and God. I am participating in IPL’s ride from Philadelphia to DC, in part for the adventure, but also to remind our over-busy and cynical culture that if we purposefully slow down, there is much beauty left in both God’s creation and in humanity. Creation Care does not have to be a divisive issue, it can be a creative and rewarding, community adventure.
In his vocational life, Eric serves as the Pastor for Youth and Young Adults at Buffalo Valley Church of the Brethren.