Brad Belschner's Reviews > The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays

The Art of the Commonplace by Wendell Berry
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's review
Dec 02, 2009

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Read from March 03 to September 03, 2010

I love Wendell Berry. He writes beautifully, carefully handcrafting each sentence. He is an inspiration.

That being said, I can't agree with him completely. True, modern technology and factories and over-specialization have produced much evil. We must beware. But they have also given us much good. Berry is great at identifying the bad, but not quite so great at identifying the good. For example: we are blessed to have machines that can help us make hay better, quicker, and easier. Tractors are amazing inventions, even though they break down and need repairs (Proverbs 14:4).

I believe men will eventually explore the stars and colonize other planets....but even if we don't, specialized labour is here to stay. It just works better. You can't grow vanilla or coconuts in your backyard no matter how hard you try; certain products only come from certain regions. You wouldn't be reading this right now on your computer screen without the benefit of specialized work all over the globe. Christ's body is divided into different "specialized" parts, and we shouldn't ignore that fact. We just need to heed Berry's warnings, and figure out a way to keep specialization from becoming de-humanizing. The solution? We need to keep it personal. I'm not really sure how. But I know we need to read Wendell Berry, and learn what we can from bygone eras.

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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Tami (new)

Tami Very true, Brad. I wish I could grow coconuts, raise chickens, enjoy my computer, have a vineyard, olive trees, anad have a miniature cow....but!!!

Wise words, Brad.

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