I'm not by nature a person devoted to creeds and confessions, but every once in awhile something will strike me as particularly meaningful in one of those documents. At this Christmas season, some of the words found in the beginning of the Heidelberg Catechism strike me as appropriate. The question is asked "what is your only comfort in life and death?" And the answer is "that I with body and soul, both in life and death am not my own, but belong to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ..."
That, in a nutshell, is the whole rationale for the existence of the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. Because our lives belong to a Saviour who has a claim on our lives, we confess that his desires for the world have become our desires for the world. And we believe that He has desires for how farming is carried out, both in the practices used by farmers and in the policy environment that supports them.
How we make those desires a reality is very much an exercise in freedom, rather than according to a blueprint. Our members strive to be both entrepreneurial and collegial and use their freedom to make diverse choices regarding their operations and the policy choices that support them. Accordingly, the CFFO spends a good deal of time working with its members to clarify their goals and values and to work towards concrete expressions of those ideals.
That being said, it's never been an easy task to build an agricultural system that expresses values. For one thing, farming is incredibly dynamic and continually changing due to weather patterns, new technology, husbandry practices, trading patterns and generational expectations. And then there's the sheer difference of opinion that can take place regarding the choice of marketing systems, the amount of government intervention in the farming economy, and food choices by consumers.
Over the CFFO’s history, we’ve had several moments when we’ve been influential in persuading others about better ways to support farming. At the very least, we’ve been a witness to the fact that our farming needs to be conducted as stewards acting on behalf of another owner. And we see that as the practical application of the difference made through God’s actions at Christmas time.
Whatever your perspectives on such matters, I wish all listeners and readers a blessed Christmas and hope that after all the gifts are unwrapped that the central message of the season will find a place in your heart.
John Clement is the General Manager of the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. The CFFO Commentary represents the opinions of the writer and does not necessarily represent CFFO policy. The CFFO Commentary is heard weekly on CFCO Chatham, CKNX Wingham, Ontario and is archived on the CFFO website: www.christianfarmers.org. CFFO is supported by 4,200 family farmers across Ontario.
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