Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2-week visit to Koinonia Farm, Georgia

visiting Koinonia Farm in Georgia for two weeks amidst 68 weeks so far at The Farm in Tennessee.  i arrive before dark something after 4pm Tennessee time, which is likely something after 5pm Georgia time.  my 10-page Welcome packet is in the large Visitors Welcome mailbox in front of the office/storefront, the first structure as you enter the humble un manicured driveway entrance to the 74-year-old community.  Georgia has been very dry and/or poor soil ever since crossing the river from Alabama.  Almost arid, though swampy as well.  There is something of the deep old South more present and current than in Alabama or Tennessee.  Ever more intense around Plains GA, the childhood home of Jimmy Carter, less than 10 miles shy of Koinonia.
         there are a rim and backboard up at the edge of an elliptical concrete patch barely long enough to hold the free-throw line; and a soccer goal; each with several respective balls laying ready and a bit sunbleached; neither with cleared room for anything full court.  [i didn't notice the volleyball net & court, or the very fullest featured and extensive clotheslines! until 2 days later.]
         the earth here is sandy, almost pure sand around the houses and roads between fields.  the winter silhouette of 50-year-old pecan trees in rows are quite exact graceful mimics of young elm trees along Orrington Avenue in Evanston Illinois before we moved there in 1953.  here there are live oaks among others who keep their leaves.  and pine.  cattle, hogs, chickens.  a fresh dozen eggs in the fridge all are welcome to.
         Brandon drove the tractor in, with headlights, just at dark, as i was finishing my walk to shake out my sea-legs from the 9-hour drive, 6 of them in driving rain down the length of Alabama on I-65.  He then went to check on the noisy cattle, haven't yet asked if they're mostly dairy or not.  [next nite: since we had some for lunch, I guess not.]  A very warm hello, seems kinda the way here.  Simple quiet love.
         There are 5 or 4 adults here now who are longterm members for life.  One other here 10 years still in a status toward full membership.  Gotta get to sleep so i can get up for 7:50am chapel Morning devotions, prior to the Daily work assignments & check-in.
         small country church Virginia pastor Wyatt & Kate talked long of their life, influenced by interning some months here 2 years ago; and listened long, first, to my talk long of The Farm's spiritual origins and hard-to-find-to-a-(this)-vistor definition anymore of community.  they leave in the morning after chapel, stopping by on the way home from visiting family.
         g'nite.         12/28/15 8:08 PMmon near Americus GA
12/29/15 7:21 AMtu
about 5am it came to me i am being met in this community in a context of prayer and study.
Wyatt had said it is a demonstration community of true original Christian life & work, a demonstration plot for the Kingdom of God, to quote a revered founder of Koinonia, Clarence Jordan.
And that there are 5 practices: work, study, prayer, service, fellowship.  all at the same time.
12/29/15 7:31 PMtu
Worked the day sorting pecans in Pecan Plant 2 of 2, among 5 + other sorters.  The relatively new sorter showed me the ropes.  Then later I asked the supervisor to look over what I was doing and to explain to me what is an "amber".  She showed me again how to sort, but did not answer or even mention the question I asked.  Both demonstrators just went ahead and sorted, as if it was their task to do, quickly tossing, but not showing me the ones they threw in the "trash" nor telling me why.  This is very common also on The Farm, persons telling you what to do, but having no sense that you might not know how, and no sense to show you what they are doing, or explaining, when they demonstrate, I guess to model without modeling ....  It occurs to me that our species does not know how to teach in any socially savvy, sensitive, or gracious way.—and that I must be born to know how best to teach, and to remain frustrated as a student, kinda like a selfie "who died to make you king?" 
         anahow, it is remarkable, right off, how similar the two communities are in this.  Often when I give my name to an old time member, or even when they ask it of me; they appear very interested, saying "Hi, then Marty." and "Thank you." and it never dawns on them that I might like to know theirs.  When I do ask for it, they tell me, fresh abruptly, as if a sudden thought comes to them that oh yes, they do have a name too.  This occurs I'd say over half the time in both communities.
         I say this only as something that strikes me as odd, I have no idea what it may mean.  Except possibly how old the community is, how long the member has been a member, and how dreadfully many new people/visitors they have encountered over those years.  A kind of staid cloistered and not wanting to come out?
         the daily devotionals, morning, lunch, & dinner, are pretty simple & cursory, entirely sans pomp or circumstance.  readings from the (perhaps their (Southern dialect)) Bible, announcements, prayer.  hymns in the morning + a wee sermonic message.  besides the sermonic (male), stonefaced & dutifully carried out as if by officers (female (so far)).
g'nite.  tomorrow i'll find where i need to be to get wi-fi strong enuf for e-mail and to post this on muh blog.


  1. Good to hear from you brother. Enjoying the tour/experience of your ever-enlightening words. Bless.