Drugstore Christians

 

I was in the cow business full time for almost thirty years- still am after a fashion, but only because I cannot imagine a life without stock. There were and still are countless lessons to be gleaned from running cows and raising feed. These lessons can be applied to life in general- and I dare say that a few of these lessons that parallel High Theology.

When you are in the cattle business, it is crucial that your raise cows- and those cows must reproduce in order that you can keep on in the business. One might even say that you are intent upon the fruit of your labor—i.e. your cows have calves, and then there is a calf crop to sell. Round the clock, 365 days a year you are out in all weather: caring for livestock, feeding, checking pasture conditions, fencing, doctoring, repairing machinery, supplying minerals and salt, seeking lost or missing livestock among other tasks. This is due to the fact that your responsibility is the health and well being of the animals under your care. If you have enough of them it becomes a full time occupation (indeed there are times when it is more than full time).

In all of this there is a great amount of faith- will it rain and how much, can they survive this bad storm, will prices get better, will the bank keep on believing I can pay off my loans, will I have enough hay this winter, will they get eaten or stolen? Faith that the natural course of events will continue, and/or improve because an agricultural enterprise is founded on primarily this fact: faith that the sun will rise tomorrow and the moisture will come when you need it most.

To people not involved in agriculture, this type of faith in the system that Our Lord set up seems simplistic and a bit well, hokey. To those of us however, who have been intimately exposed to the mercy of God through His natural world this simple faith is an inescapable fact- we must through faith depend upon Divine nature in order to plan, execute, survive and perhaps even prosper.

Being a rancher involves this faith- yet it also involves works as well. One is not a cowman if one does not produce cattle- through faith and works; a rancher produces fruit, just as the man of Faith is not truly a man of Faith unless he takes this Faith to the level Our Lord demands- producing fruit from it in combination with hard work.

On a ranch, a cow that does not reproduce is not a cow- she is a highly temperamental, expensive lawn ornament. A saddle horse is not a saddle horse if it will not carry a rider- it is a glue pot. A cowboy is not a cowboy if he is not up to the task of demonstrating a particular skill set needed to care for cattle. Lastly, on a ranch, a man of Faith is a drugstore Christian, unless he demonstrates the unique skill set needed to do the work that Christ commanded.

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About john spizziri

I am a retired rancher who sold his ranch after 30 years of cowboying, and now spend my days teaching high school in rural montana. I have a lovely wife of 35 years, and ffour grown children who have scattered to the four wings of the world. My family is all active members of the Catholic Church, and We are all Faithful, Evangelising followers of the Magesterium. My love for Our Lord and His Church has evolved into these feeble attempts at spreading the Good News. The rest of my life involves grandchildren, students, and when the time permits, mour horses. View all posts by john spizziri

4 responses to “Drugstore Christians

  • katieequinn

    I have never thought about faith (or ranching :)) in these terms, but it does seem rather straightforward now that I have read this. Excellently put!

  • Jann Elaine

    I think I remember reading that St. Patrick learned alot of his faith while be a shepherd, spending time amongst the lements and relying on, trusting in, and talking to God.
    I really like your point about a Christian bearing fruit…unfortunately i don’t think enough people take their faith seriously and recognize that something this important must be shared. One is not a Christian if he or she isn’t evangilizing in some way. And alot of people talk about “actions not words”…but Jesus himself was called The Word…how can you share Him without using any?
    We must all bear fruit. Or else this vine will be cut off.

    Although, i don’t get the reference of “drugstore christian”…?

  • Gabriela

    Is drugstore christian supposed to show a christian who only comes when he needs something? For example if he needs a favor of God, he will come to the “drugstore” and get what he needs and leaves?

    • john spizziri

      no!… its like a drugstore cowboy looks like one, talks like one and acts like one on the surface- but instead of being out on the range, working cows, he is sitting in a drugstore just talking about it.

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