Love flowers, hate dirt

by Christine Berglund

Have you seen that viral video labeled “Hate Religion but Love Jesus?” There have numerous responses since early January, but I’d like to give you my gardening view on this philosophy.

We hear so much about people who want all the benefits that Christ has to offer, but none of the responsibilities. My little garden patches out back are no different. I have given away countless bouquets to people who admire the flowers, but do not want the work of growing them. Sometimes I give live plants to these people, but they die from neglect.

What happened?

What we are observing here is a wish for instant gratification. This could be true in any hobby or pastime. Gardening just happens to be the hobby that I love, so please don’t take this personally if you are one of the people that have ruthlessly murdered my babies….uh, accidentally neglected a few plants until they died. Some people can, and do, purchase fully grown and blooming plants and full-size trees. There is nothing wrong with that, or in buying pre-baked pies and cakes.

I really do avoid dirt. I keep my nails manicured and clean, with fresh polish at least weekly. Since cooking is another of my hobbies, I like to have hands that look clean and that are clean. So I wear garden gloves whenever possible. That’s not the only reason. There are icky, disgusting bugs out there in that dirt! I’m not touching worms! Eww! Worms and grubs and slugs. Oh, my!

Do I hate dirt, really? I don’t want it on me, with all its ickiness, but in the course of my gardening lifetime I must have purchased tons of it, literally. Not only do I value dirt enough to spend money on it, I value dirt ingredients.

One Valentine’s Day I made all my garden club friends jealous by bragging about my husband. He had just gifted me with a load of manure. Not figuratively, but a whole truckload of cow manure brought by a dairy farmer. Oh, joy!

If there’s one thind I love more than dirt, it’s dirt enhancer! My plants loved it, too. My considerate husband repeated the gift the next year. I hope I get manure for my birthday instead of some silly old jewelry.

The manure, along with worm castings, peat moss, and other soil “ingredients” has been one of the reasons I have had good success with the flowers that everyone enjoys. Roses don’t grow hydroponically, as far as I know.

I’m glad to be the proud owner of a dozen pairs of garden gloves while I’m working with the dirt, but I really do appreciate my soil. The plants I love and the soil I avoid are inseparable. Cutting the flowers and bringing them in always cuts short their life, although it affords visual pleasure for a while.

Some people want to separate Christ, the Head, from the church, which is his body (Ephesians 1:22-23). While our focus is on Christ, the church is an essential part of Christ. Whether we want to avoid the perceived frailties of those “other Christians” is irrelevant. We cannot avoid our brothers and sisters while belonging to God’s family.

It is said, “Oh, how terrible our sins look when someone else commits them.”

While we might say we “don’t like religion because of the hypocrites,” we must look at ourselves and pray that no one else uses us as an excuse to reject “religion.” We, the church, may be but dirt; but we hold up Christ to you.

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Christine (Tina) Berglund

Christine lives in middle Tennessee with her husband Gary, a.k.a. "The Yard Boy." They have served churches in eight states where Gary has preached full-time most of their married lives. The children have flown the nest, but they "baby" their plants now, and even get to visit grandchildren once in a while.

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