"step around it"

Troy, NC

While we were visiting Tom, he showed me an interesting article about Anathoth Community Garden, written by a friend of his. It's a community gardening project that has offered healing and hope in Cedar Grove, NC.

One of the parts of the article I found most interesting was the author's understanding of how their work was part of a broader way of life (he's commenting on Jeremiah 29):

Jeremiah teaches us that the way to get along in this world is to skirt Babylon altogether. Don’t waste time fighting the empire, or trying to make it a little less evil... Step around it and go about your business. Grow your own food, for instance.
I've often thought of Jesus' "kingdom of God" similarly, as a life lived right in the midst of the empire, but free from it. Uncontrolled by and independent of the powers of empire. And I think we can still live that way; I trust Jesus' promises of that.

I'm just not sure it's as easy as "step around it and go about your business." Even living on the food you can grow yourself is very difficult, with taxes on the land, and the time required for labor, and money for materials and means of preserving food, so that very few can actually do it (Anathoth operates on a grant from Duke University). Small farmers are growing fewer and fewer, much less subsistance farmers. And in other areas of life, it's just as hard or harder to get free from the overwhelming economic and political powers of empire.

I think it takes a miracle. Jesus called us to follow his example, and promised we could, but it takes a miracle to actually do it. It's not just a matter of commitment or technique or cooperation. There has to be the constant influx of God's help—grace—or it won't work. (Which means it also has to be done in obedience to God.)

That's not meant to be discouraging, but it should be sobering. And keep us from relying on our own idealism or communalism and turn us to God in faith.