Monday, September 26, 2005

Turn Nursing Homes into Feed Stores

Someday, when Biblical Agrarianism come of age, I hope one of its accomplishments will be turning nursing homes into feed stores. A community that embraces a biblical multi-generational vision will not have a use for the "county death camps".

The fifth commandment demands that we honor our father and mother. Sadly, like the hypocrites of old, God's people are not taking this command to heart. If abortion is our nations greatest sin, the nursing home mentality comes in a close second. Sometimes I wonder home many prolife protesters and anti gay marriage protesters have parents rotting away in a nursing home. While its always easy to attack the sins of others (which we should do) it is always harder to see the one that we are engaged in. We live in a culture that has no respect for anything old or outdated, and we have seemed to lump people into this wicked philosophy.

I remember well the morning my dad came in for breakfast and told us the news. They were going to put the old farmer we knew in a nursing home. He said that old Don was pretty upset and my Dad found him crying in his house. Dad announced that he told Don he could come stay with us if he wanted. Don jumped at the chance and he came to live with us that week. We fixed up a spare room for him and he became a member of the family. That experience stuck in my mind for years. I was just a little kid and even I could see how sad it was that they wanted to lock this man away for no other reason than his age. The old boy died several years after he came to stay with us. Those years were filled with stories of old and advice from someone had done many things. After Don passed on my family would go to the local old folks prison several times a year. We'd take them cookies and pies and sit around visiting with the old timers who all had the same one ever came to see them. We used to take a baby goat and a lamb for them to see. Many of them grew up farming and loved to see the animals. They would spin yarns of working with draft horses and shipping milk in cans. There is a lot of knowledge locked up in those monuments to the stupidity men we call nursing homes. While taking care of the elderly can be taxing, we are commanded to do it. Much like the jews who gave more money to the temple in exchange for not taking care of the old, we are engaged in much the same mentality. At least they tried to justify it by giving more to the temple. I don't think most Christians even think of it as sin, therefore they don't even see a need to justify there actions.

Let us be different. Let us be the ones to end this crime against God and our parents. Someday while picking up feed, maybe your child will ask you what the that building used to be used for. "Gee, Dad. Whats a nursing home?" You can spend the ride home telling him about a wicked generation that would not turn their face to God.


At 9/26/2005 5:29 PM, Blogger Herrick Kimball said...

Hi Scott,

Another great post.

One small correction..... I'm pretty sure the second commandment is "Thou shalt not make unto theee any graven image." The 5th is to "Honor your father and mother"

Also, sounds like you have been listening to RC's Basement Tapes?

Best wishes.

At 9/26/2005 5:29 PM, Blogger Herrick Kimball said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 9/26/2005 5:30 PM, Blogger Herrick Kimball said...

Oops......Sorry for the double post. :-(

At 9/26/2005 6:17 PM, Blogger Favorite Apron said...

A great post. Martin Luther writes in his small catechism, "We should fear and love God so that we do not anger or despise our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them."

I wonder why so many older folks choose to move thousands of miles away from their children into the sun belt?

p.s. - the 2nd commandment is "Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God." The 4th is "honor your father and your mother" and the fifth, you shall not murder.

At 9/26/2005 6:55 PM, Anonymous Scott said...


OPPS, That was embarrasing! Don't know what I was thinking. I'm sure the session will call me out for good ole fashioned stoning :) Sometimes my brain and my typing finger are not on the same page. Yes I said finger.


I'm a big Luther fan and I'm sort of a closet Lutheran :) You make a good point about the older folks moving to the sun belt. Joel Salatin wrote in one of his books some thing like this....The American goal is to get a job thats good enough that you can make enough money to send the kids to a good enough school that they can move 1000 miles away to get a job good enough to make enough money to put you in a really good nursing home. God save us all!

BTW I think Herrick was right. We should both copy Exodus 20 100 times before bed :)

At 9/26/2005 6:56 PM, Blogger The BadgerMum said...

This is such a frustrating situation - most of the older people we know would rather go to a nursing home. They "don't want to be a burden" or whatever, but sometimes I wonder if it's pride (not wanting to be cared for that intimately by their own family members), or maybe it's just what they think of as Normal.

We've told our parents (and Mike's grandmother) that we want them to move in with us when they aren't able to take care of themselves any more, and most of them just don't know what to make of that offer!

At 9/26/2005 9:16 PM, Blogger KSmilkmaid said...

Fantastic post. I have felt for many years nursing homes were evil. I visited and just felt huge heaviness in my heart for the people there. What's worse is knowing how much drugs they pump into their bodies often without asking family.

We too would love to take care of my husband's parents. They don't want to be a burden and would rather live in a independent living home. Sad, so very sad. We are working now to change this whole thing within our family. The funny thing is to hear the comments from those outside of our family. "You mean you expect your children to take care of you when you are old? You just can't expect them to be weighted down with your burden." It is a similar response to the building a multigenerational legacy in farming. What child would want to stay on a farm? Sometimes we feel so alien in this culture.

At 9/27/2005 5:23 AM, Blogger reformed farmer said...

Kelly and Milkmaid

It has become the cultural norm. We can turn the tide by teaching our children their biblical calling to take care of us and then we can do our part by letting them. American individaulism and pride tend to work against the concept of biblical community.


You are right. I stole the feed store idea from the boys in Virigina. However, my plan is more comprehensive. Since in my perfect world we would not have standing armies, we would use the old school buildings for local armories. Each towns milita would need their own.

At 9/27/2005 3:13 PM, Blogger Herrick Kimball said...

That's a fine plan Scott. The idea of decentralized power is very agrarian.

This concept of taking care of the parents brings to mind The Waltons. Remember that television show? I loved that show. Now, as I watch the old episodes, I see that it comes from a worldview that is not in line with my own. Nevertheless there are many good messages that come through.

One of those is that of taking care of family. Walton's mountain and the Walton home had been in the Walton family for generations. Grandpa and Grandma lived in the same home with their son (John) and his wife (Olivia), and all the grandkids. The home was, I assume, passed down to the next generation and the next generation cared for the parents. What a wondeful example.

At 9/28/2005 8:21 AM, Blogger wjg said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 9/28/2005 8:29 AM, Blogger wjg said...


This is a much needed reminder for all us Christians. Our parents were there for us when we were born so we need to be there for them as they decline in vigor. We need each other and that is a good thing. Inter-generational dependence keeps us free, temperate, and sustainable. I have never heard this proclaimed in my mainstream Evangelical Church. The ways of the world are completely embraced. I can see circumstances where nursing homes may be the least worst option but they should not be normative for Christians.

Mrs. Cumbee,

My Mom has said the same thing - that she wants to keep her "independence". I don't doubt that but I also know at least part of her thinking is that she doesn't want to be a "burden". Being a burden is just part of the cycle of life: in the womb, in infancy, in sickness, in infirmity, and in dotage. The alternative to being a "burden" is the sickening, utilitarian world of today that worships at the altar of youth. She is still on her own and likes it, actually living several states away close to my sister, but I wanted her to know that I never wanted to outsource her care if it came to that. But, what are we to do if our parents refuse our care? If they still are competent their wishes must be honored.


My hope is that I can try to reclaim a legacy, like the Waltons, where our family is kept together rather than scattered in search of mammon or self-actualization. Right now my wife and kids and I are separated from all our remaining parents by vast distances. It's hard for us to rely on each other under the circumstances.

At 9/29/2005 4:42 AM, Blogger reformed farmer said...


You know what my favorite Waltons episode was? The one where the Feds were trying to take Martha Corin's land and they had a shoot out. Of course "John Boy"---my least favorite character---screwed it up, but it was a good one none the less.


Thanks for your thoughts. It is a shame that most churches have traded a biblical worldveiw for a worldly one. Together we can turn this thing around.

At 10/03/2005 4:14 PM, Anonymous ~Patricia said...

Hi, Scott!

Amy ( sent me a link to this thread after I had sent her the following email:

"I am deeply disturbed by the trend, even among Christians, to place our elderly in nursing homes, rather than care for them our homes.

In most of my research, even Christian ministries focus their articles for family caregivers on "how to choose the best nursing home." I believe that is wrong...and I know that what I am going to say when I am through is going to step on a lot of toes....some of my very good friends will be offended.
Just as homeschooling has called us into a radically different lifestyle, so does how we see our duty toward our parents and grandparents.

I know...because I did it...and wish I had been better at it. But I can tell you that it is one thing to have children with you 24/7, it is quite another to have the care of the elderly...but I believe that is part of why
God put us in families...and He is clear in Scripture about our
responsibility to do so.

Growing up around our parents and grandparents, as you expressed in your vision for your family, is the perfect way to ease into that transition of providing for the elderly.

My husband and I have talked a lot about this in recent months. Two of our boys were married this summer, both of them to young ladies who live in the same rural community...despite the fact that one of our sons spent 4 years
away in a service academy...he still came home to marry a "home-town gal"....and we could not be happier. We are praying that neither of our sons will venture far so that they will have the help and support of all of us as they grow in their marriages and have children. They, in turn, will provide for our needs and the needs of their wive's parents in the future.

Besides the fact that we have become a transient society that moves away from family, another major reason that we have bought into the whole "nursing home" option is our entitlement mentality.

Add to that our tendency to live self-absorbed selfish lives.....well...I am
sure you get the picture!"

Scott, I have been trying to position myself to address this very topic for months, and am thrilled to find others who are like-minded.

Praise God! He is so good to me!
Blessings in Christ ~ Patricia

At 10/03/2005 5:38 PM, Anonymous Scott said...


Glad you stopped by! Its good to know that there are other folks out there who are troubled by the whole nursing home thing. The road toward building biblical culture will be long and hard. The best place to start is in our own homes, from there the seeds of change will take root, and one day bare fruit. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts---and feel free to stop back often.

At 10/04/2005 7:44 AM, Blogger The Bradshaws said...

Good post, Scott, and we agree. When we presented my parents with the idea of selling our homes, buying land, and building one home for all of us, my dad jumped at the chance: he's a pastor, and having visited many folks through the years at nursing homes, he said he'd do anything to stay out of one!

And now we are blessed to have him and my mother at home with us at a time when we can all enjoy each other and they can share and their wisdom, and teach us gardening and canning knowledge, etc. They are a blessing!

At 10/05/2005 6:47 AM, Anonymous Scott said...

Hello Bradshaws!

I've been wondering how you guys were doing. Thats great, you and your folks living together. Thats the way it should be. Christians have really got to redifine our consepts of family and of caring for the elders of our families.


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