Called to the Dirt

“We are animated dirt. Soil and life joined. From living ground we were made; to living ground we will return.” Diana Butler Bass in Grounded

We were at a family birthday party several years ago when TBC told me that she had discerned her life’s work:  “I’m called to the dirt,” she said.

As the great granddaughter of farmers, she would be joining a family trade,  but in a way that would be unrecognizable to her 20th Century ancestors.

It occurs to me that – upon the birth of Jesus for which we prepare this season- God was called to the dirt.  God became dirt.  For a more eloquent & complete breakdown of this, please read Grounded– Diana Butler Bass’ most recent book- especially Chapter One.

I love Diana’s insight that spirituality as we have experienced it has been a horizontal endeavor marked by tall steeples and elevated pulpits.  But the marks of a God known as Emmanuel- God with us– is a wholly different concept.  This God not only became dirty by engaging in earthy, gritty human life.  But this is a God willing to die in the thick of human imperfection and injustice.

All of us – farmers, preachers, clothing designers, baristas- all of us human beings are called to the dirt in order to nourish the world with all that is good.  It’s the most basic of Advent messages.

5 responses to “Called to the Dirt

  1. AMEN. Two great posts today – this one and “Choosing Church.” Well done. And I am loving how GROUNDED is sparking all kinds of connections for me and others.


  2. Yes, Grounded is a must-read, the latest of many insightful takes on church and life by DBB. Timely, as the Paris Conference is in its’ early days, to be thinking about our place in the church as a grounded people.


  3. I haven’t read Grounded yet…but this post reminds me of Thomas Jefferson and his dream that we would be a nation of educated farmers–keeping our hands in the soil and being connected to the earth, while also discussing greek philosophy.


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