End times conversations rarely captured my attention.
Going back the better part of a decade, what caught my attention was anything with the word “Peak” in front of it. It started with peak oil and my desire to insulate my family from the system and then grew from there. I spent a lot of time and fed a lot of energy into the idea of systemic collapse and how we could position ourselves to come out ahead on the other side.
Some good developments came out of this. I became more aware of the old-school skills I had and the ones I lacked. I became reasonably prepared for moments in the future when not everything goes as planned.
Maybe the most important thing I became aware of was the power we all have to honor our environment while shaping our surroundings to reap bountiful, sustainable harvests. While my prepping focused on how to survive regardless of what went on around me, something called “permaculture” showed me how to survive in tandem with everything around me. I’ll come back to it in a second.
In the middle of this transformative journey, I was introduced to the preterist view of end times theology. It shook me. I had cared so little about the “end times” before, but the context provided by teachers of various preterist views caused me to inspect aspects of my spirituality that I had taken for granted. Teachers like Dr. Jonathan Welton, Dr. Lynn Hiles, and Dr. Martin Trench have several thought-provoking and challenging teachings that reoriented my beliefs.
When the smoke cleared, I had even more motivation to move beyond being able to weather a storm and towards creating a sustainably abundant future because a Biblical apocalypse no longer lurked on the horizon like a thief in the night. In fact, it seemed like the real thief was a theology that threatened destruction around every blood moon and turn of the calendar year.
Whether you are focused on urban prepping and urban survival gear or you are simply interested in prepping for beginners, getting a grasp on ecology – how things work together – is one of the most valuable tools you can possess.
When we begin to understand how things work together, it becomes easy to see that nothing in our lives exists in isolation. It may not be a full-on butterfly effect where a horse snorts in Botswana, causing a wild chain of events which results in a hurricane in Florida. However, everything on our planet is hanging in a balanced web, with diversity providing stability.
One of the reasons I’m drawn to permaculture is that it honors the intelligence of nature’s design. We don’t need to recreate the wheel. We can look at the blueprints nature has provided and adjust according to our needs.
I first learned about permaculture through Geoff Lawton and his greening the desert project. Geoff is a great communicator of not only the permaculture system but in regard to so many of nature’s systems and cycles. Geoff taught me how to see so many more functions of nature than I had previously seen.
It’s a lot of fun to be able to look at a tree and not just see a tree. To instead see it for the beauty it provides, the roots it uses to secure and fertilize soil, the windbreak it supplies, the food it provides for pollinators, the fruit it creates for foragers, the timber that can be harvested from it, the shade it provides and the microclimate it creates, among other things, puts the world in a fresh perspective and allows it to be honored in a new way.
As I dug in and tried to deepen my knowledge of soil and all the related moving parts, I came across Paul Stamets. Paul is a passionate and brilliant researcher in the realm of fungi. Fungus used to creep me out a little. Spending time listening to Paul preach about fungi’s role in saving the world changed that. It didn’t hurt that he wears a hat made out of a mushroom.
I used to think fungus was gross, but worms made me squirm, no matter how bad I wanted to bait a hook. It wasn’t until I learned of all the beneficial things they do that I was able to honor them. I started a worm farm in our basement and began vermicomposting. This led to me hosting a workshop to introduce others to the wonders of worms and eventually earning a B.S. in freshwater science and sustainability.
I didn’t intend to get my hands so dirty. I just wanted the best for my family, regardless of what happens. This rabbit hole, however, caused me to see the world in a whole new way. Learning about all of nature, including the lowest parts of it, led to a desire to honor the least among us.
So while I still enjoy keeping a keen eye on resources, environmental quality, and economic trends, I do so with an intent to honor every aspect of the equation. I no longer aim to isolate myself from a decaying society. I am one part of that society and I’m one part of the overall equation.
Now we aim to bring heaven to earth, and because soil is so important, into the earth.
If the world isn’t ending any time soon, perhaps you can find a moment to be inspired by Geoff and Paul. The world won’t look the same if you do.