An ambulance was dispatched for a farmer who was vaccinating pigs and accidently stuck himself. I don’t know what was in the needle, but if an ambulance is involved, there is nothing funny about it. I was reading at the time. I put the book down to check digital mail. The book: The Pigness of Pigs, by Joel Salatin. Made me smile.

The Joel Salatin blog today is about Ecological Exercise. The state of Virginia is going to control burn part of the state’s property. Salatin says…,

These controlled burns are not blazing infernos.  They’re carefully planned and executed to reduce invasives, reduce mountain laurel and other marginal species while opening up the forest floor to a host of diversified vegetation.  The fire also stimulates oak health.

What many folks don’t know is that the oak forests of Appalachia are dying. Right now we’re seeing a rapid and massive die-off of White Ash due to the emerald ash borer. We have thousands of dead ash trees on our farm.  We’re trying to cut them as fast as we can before they fall over, but there are a lot of them.

For the last several years, almost every oak tree I cut has a decay spot in the center. They’re dying. In 200 years, imagine Appalachia without oaks. Why?  Disturbance. No fire, no buffalo, no landscape mosaic. The ecosystem needs periodic disturbance to freshen it up and keep it from stagnation. The worst forest ecology in the mid-Atlantic region is Shenandoah National Park. It’s an ecological travesty.

We are touching fewer than 100 acres with our pigs periodically running through the forest. That’s a help, but it’s hard to cover as much ground as a fire. Wildlife loves fire. Animals return immediately to lick the charred highly mineralized aftermath and even eat the ashes. (W)ild turkeys are especially attracted to a burn because it exposes worms and millipedes.

©2020 Joel Salatin—Musings of the Lunatic Farmer—Blog  8-27-20

Those four paragraphs are important to you and me for two reasons. One. Land management has been abandoned by government listening to their selected “environmentalists.” Australia learned that mistake. Government threw away the management expertise of the Aborigines to which they are deciding to return. Many of the wild fires in the west are result of bad land management choices. So I hear.

The real reason I share Mr. Salatin’s blog is his view of disturbance.

The ecosystem needs periodic disturbance to freshen it up and keep it from stagnation. 

“Students today are being influenced by a 24/7 news cycle covering a pandemic, protests, and panic attacks that will either make them wither or will make them stronger than ever. Generation Z is graduating into a VUCA world: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. They’re already the most anxious generation in modern history and now they live in a most anxious time.” (Dr. Tim Elmore)

Commentary magazine views the current chaos as The Unraveling of America. That’s a good description.

Most of all I don’t want to diminish the anguish or trivialize anyone’s anxiety about the VUCA world. I’m looking forward to reading Tim Elmore’s new book Pandemic Generation. In the meantime, I’m trying to make sense of every semblance of good sense.

This “value of disturbance” idea has been sitting in my head for a couple of years. John Eldredge talked about the vast wild fire in their part of Colorado. His description of looking out a window and seeing green sprigs on a hillside of ashes grabbed me. Resilience is such a wonderful gift, skill, habit. They make a nice couple—Disturbance and Resilience.

I like the idea of change. Generally. But I don’t trust change as it relates to me. A controlled burn is such a good idea! Unless, it is my forest. I’m not so sure there will be any green sprigs. I suspect you feel the same so I’m careful with my words.

I doubt we will return to the old normal. The point of a controlled burn is to get rid of the destructive old normal. Thomas Jefferson thought there ought to be a revolution every seven years—like a controlled burn. I don’t know if he still said that after the French Revolution. The Old Normal was a known commodity. I’m anxious in this “unraveling” that one of the “protesters” will pull that one dangling thread….

I don’t know if Jesus is coming this week. He may. The words—“He is expected imminently” is a good way to approach life. There is comfort in feeling, “He’ll be here by October 15,” but Jesus doesn’t give us that certainty.  Uncertainty breeds with burning buildings and anarchists attacking my favorite Senators on the streets of Washington D.C. to birth a lexicon of emotions. I would rather God and I discern and plan our future than an armed terrorist fixated, obsessed and verbally/emotionally/mentally limited to one four letter word. Jesus is coming soon! But what if soon means 2028?

We need a strategy.

In psychotherapy and psychology there is a practice known as “reframing.” That means to give a more positive description to something that is stressing or angering. Definition of reframing:

Cognitive reframing is a psychological technique that consists of identifying and then changing the way situations, experiences, events, ideas, and/or emotions are viewed. Cognitive reframing is the process by which such situations or thoughts are challenged and then changed. In the context of cognitive therapy, cognitive reframing is referred to as cognitive restructuring.

2020, so far, is one disaster after another. From space, our world must look like devastation: torched by a maniac—or satan & co. Reframing is a huge act of faith.


Ezekiel 34 was yesterday’s scripture reading. New Testament revelation related by a major Old Testament prophet. Yahweh calls Himself “The Good Shepherd,” and calls the bad shepherds to account—literally gives them hell. It is the Good Shepherd—Old Testament and New Testament (John 10:1-18)—in whom trust is to be placed.

The events of 2020 are not just a blip. Can we reframe them as a disturbance which can be used for our benefit? Faith, it seems to me, demands an image. Memories are never stored digitally—0 & 1s. They are stored with pictures. To step in faith requires a picture of what you want your future to look like. (Vision of how your personal burned mountain side will look with green sprigs.)

God and I did a question and answer. I don’t know which of us started. Question: Can my destiny be hijacked? We Q & A’d about nihilism, free-will and strict Calvinism. A “controlled burn” assumes (for me) that my destiny is wrapped up in my “new in Christ” personhood. (2 Corinthians 5:17.) It may be given away, but can it be destroyed? Satan will have you believe our personal and national future will be determined by anarchists and insurrectionists. That is soul-killing.

 Who are you in Christ? YOU? The saved and being sanctified you? What has God placed in your spirit and soul—which includes your imagination, which communicates with images? The strategy is to Q & A until that happens. What dream? What desire? What destiny? What mission? Who to bless? With that in mind, 2020 can be a meaningful disturbance. It demands adjustments and creativity—walking and living by faith. The enemy’s goal is to damage the soul so adjustments, creativity and hope are neglected—because “there is no use….”

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28).

A song from childhood is background track for these words. The last line of the chorus says, “I’m walking by faith and I feel no alarm.” I am feeling alarm! It is that alarm that drives me to take the step of faith to decide what I want the future to look like and how walking by faith in Christ can influence it. If we Determine it. Declare it. Decree it. Live and walk it.

Not merely a disturbance. This can be a controlled and motivating disturbance. By faith.

©2020 D. Dean Benton—Writer, Wonderer, Walker

Walking By Faith    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwJfwYMuZEQ

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