Koinonia Farm’s vision statement is “love through service to others, joy through generous hospitality, peace through reconciliation.” All of our guest rooms are named after people who have come before us and embodied these ideas. These peacemakers are from all over the world and from all different periods of history. This “great cloud of witnesses” and their stories encourage us to keep pursuing love, joy, and peace in our life and work.
Wendell Berry (1934- ) is a writer, farmer, environmental activist, and cultural critic. He writes poetry, fiction, and essays with themes of farming, place, faith, and community. Berry earned his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Kentucky and went on to teach English in multiple universities, including his alma mater. In 1957, Berry and Tanya Amyx were married. He is a man of faith who finds God in the land and the community he lives.
I take literally the statement in the Gospel of John that God loves the world. I believe that the world was created and approved by love, that it subsists, coheres, and endures by love, and that, insofar as it is redeemable, it can be redeemed only by love. I believe that divine love, incarnate and indwelling in the world, summons the world always toward wholeness, which ultimately is reconciliation and atonement with God.
In his writing career, Berry wrote for publications such as New Farm Magazine and Organic Gardening and Farming. His novels tell the story of the fictional area of Port William, Kentucky. Books such as Jayber Crow and Hannah Coulter chronicle the lives of the members of this community. He has multiple collections of poems including Farming: A Handbook, The Mad Farmer Poems, and Sabbaths: Poems. Some of his best-known essay collections are The Unsettling of America and Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community.
In 1965, Berry began farming on the land that had been in his family for over 200 years. He strongly believes in small-scale farming and sturdy local economies and writes against the large industrial economy in today’s world. He also promotes the importance of community ties. As a full-time farmer, he uses horses and other old-fashioned ways of tending to the land.
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting
with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Wendell Berry’s life and writings inspire generations of Americans to return to their communal ties and remember their relationship with the land. He not only writes about these values, he also puts them in to practice. His call to place and stability in the midst of an uprooted culture echo in the minds and hearts of all who read his works.
So, friends, every day do something that won’t compute… Give your approval to all you cannot understand… Ask the questions that have no answers. Put your faith in two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years… Laugh. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts…. Practice resurrection.