Early Wendell Berry Essay at The Nation
On Wendell Berry at Hall of Fame Induction

Wendell Berry Influences Doctoral Dissertation

Eric J. Kregel has made available his D. Min. dissertation, "Of Time and River Flowing: A Narrative Approach to Post-Christian Ministry in a Rural, Canadian Parish," in which the thought of Wendell Berry figures prominently. Here is a small sample:

For Berry, the American farm is a metaphor for life. In Postmodernity, there is a movement to reduce our neighborhoods into mere real estate, the human mind into a consumer, people into numbers, ideas into information, and vocation into employment. Yes, exploitation happens on the farm in northern Canada, but it also occurs in the suburbs of California, if we follow the farm metaphor to our present “post-everything” age. 

In The Unsettling of America Berry explains exploitation as something more of a belief, of an attitude than just an ecological practice:

The first principle of the exploitative mind is to divide and conquer. And surely there has never been a people more ominously and painfully divided than we are- both against each other and within ourselves. Once the revolution of exploitation is under way, statesmanship and craftsmanship are gradually replaced by salesmanship (The craft of persuading people to buy what they do not need, and do not want, for more than it is worth.) Its stock in trade in politics is to sell despotism and avarice as freedom and democracy. In business it sells sham and frustration as luxury and satisfaction.”

Berry further argues that when we seek to exploit the land (whether in agriculture, business, or in ministry), we divide the soul from the body and praise just what our body, our physical selves can enjoy. This idea of exploitation, if sold properly, robs individuals of work: the very thing that ties one to the land, to the setting. The rewards are labor- saving measures devoid of humanity. 

To read and/or download Dr. Kregel's full dissertation, please go HERE.


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