Wendell Berry, America’s farmer/poet and advocate for peace and justice, met with Centre College Professor Eric Mount at the Crescent Hill Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky May 18 with over 200 people in attendance.
Berry and Mount engaged in a rambling conversation in which Berry explained that when we abstract important concepts that are critical to the real lives of people, we loose their interest in solving real problems that the world faces.
An example of such abstractions is the idea of environmentalism.
People understand their relationship with the air they breathe and the water they drink and the weather events that are destructive.
“Environmentalism” is an abstract concept, something that academics discuss and argue over, but real people want clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and weather patterns that one can plan for and live with.
As the conversation progressed, Berry read a prayer from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer entitled, “For Every Man In His Work.” The prayer, in part, reads as follows: “Deliver us, we beseech thee, in our several callings, from the service of mammon, that we may do the work which thou givest us to do, in truth, in beauty, and in righteousness, with singleness of heart as thy servants, and to the benefit of our fellow men.”