Parker Palmer says most people view the world through the predominant imagery of warfare.
While the Bible is replete with warfare imagery (and there’s nothing wrong per se with this), Palmer says it’s not the most helpful metaphor for life.
Why? Because people are good at self-fulfilling prophecy.
If you imagine the earth as a battlefield, then it’s only a matter of time before you type-cast others as your enemies
There’s a better way.
What’s the alternative?
As much as we see warfare imagery in the Bible, we see farming imagery even more.
Here’s why farming is a better, primary image for the world we live in:
- In warfare, enemies don’t belong, and you must resist.
- In farming, there’s a season for everything.
- In warfare, we must fight to the death.
- In farming, death precedes life.
- In warfare, we control our destiny through strength.
- In farming, we surrender to powers outside our authority.
Farming becomes a self-fulfilling metaphor for surrender and faith — which helps us learn to hold everything the world throws at us patiently. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
Are you a warrior or a worker?
Don’t mishear me.
There’s a time to fight. There are injustices in our world worth dying for to protect those who can’t defend themselves. And unrelenting fighting leads to collateral damage.
Both are true.
The question is, which metaphor governs your life?
Here’s a warning:
- Warriors burn out on warring.
- Workers wait with patient endurance for the harvest.
Let’s care deeply about the world, and let’s work hard to cultivate a better one.