Highlight – Winnowing Worldwide


Uncle Water’s (and his father’s) barn

Winnowing grain can be done one by one or by a community working together. Neighboring farmers came with their wagons to my Uncle Walter’s fields to haul the sheaves of wheat to the barn.  As a youth, I joined them.  I used a fork to pitch the sheaves to a man on the wagon who placed them to the best advantage.The loaded wagons were pulled to the barn where the sheaves were fed to the threshing machine.  Eight or ten neighbor men were involved.

Not only the neighboring men.  Their wives came, too, to help Aunt Ada prepare the meal.  After working so hard the men were hungry and needed a thresher man’s meal.  They ate heartily, stretched prone on the front lawn for a few minutes of rest, and then went back to their work. Men and women joined energy and skills in a communal harvest day. The next day the men and women moved down the Warm Spring Road to the next farm.

As a child I played in the chaff and chewed wheat and as a youth I joined the neighboring men in getting the grain to the barn and into the belly of the threshing machine.  Then I left farming.  But what am I doing on these days in 2013.  You have a right to know since I have missed writing blogs for several days.

I have been winnowing.  Not winnowing wheat, but winnowing evidence for truth. With many others I have listened to the Zimmerman trial in Sanford, Florida.  Six jurors are charged with sifting through the evidence and the arguments to get to the truth of the charges against the defendant.

Also, I am reading books with winnowing on my mind.  One book is of special interest to me because the author wrote that he was not writing for scholars but for the curious and the open minded.

This reminded me of a blog I wrote in the myth category that described the curiosity of Eve, the mother of all living.  As happened so often, God’s curses turn into blessings.  So it has been with the ban from the garden.  According to this myth as I understand it, God trusted the men and women of the earth to use their curiosity to understand and preserve the earth.

I do not winnow alone.  Our pastor’s sermons and his blogs, the Sunday School Classes, such curious groups as New Perspectives on Faith and  Borderlands, other congregations, conferences and assemblies,  denominations and faith groups are all a part of the universal winnowing machine of humanity driven not by a steam engine, but by curiosity.


About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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2 Responses to Highlight – Winnowing Worldwide

  1. Harold Bauman says:

    Winnowing on the farm on hot days was hard work for the body!!! Winnowing today with the mind may be tiring for the body if one sits too long. How to check one’s winnowing in our individualistic and fast paced society is not easy. If one calls a friend I discover that two minds are better than one. And a small group is better yet.

  2. Miriam says:

    Since this is not Facebook, I add this as a comment: 2 “likes” for the post and for Harold’s comment. 🙂

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