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From Rottleben to Lancaster County — The Stoltzfus Family Heritage

by Nic Stoltzfus, Plain Values

I first moved to Pennsylvania in the fall of 2018 to become caretaker of the Nicholas Stoltzfus Homestead in Reading. I was also nearing completion of a coffee-table book I was working on: German Lutherans to Pennsylvania Amish: The Stoltzfus Family Story. I was unsure about how it would go—although my father Elam was born Amish in Lancaster County and grew up there, I was a stranger to this region. I had never spent more than two weeks in Pennsylvania my whole life and didn’t know much about Amish culture and way of life. After all, I was a Floridian who was raised on grits and sunshine, not snow and scrapple.

I made it my mission to learn as much as I could about my Amish and Stoltzfus heritage, and this past year I learned a great deal.

Voting with Your Purchasing Power: A Potent Weapon in the Culture War

In today’s clown world people are seeking effective means to express their beliefs and fight for causes they hold dear. While protests, social media activism, and political engagement are common approaches, a lesser-known yet powerful weapon in the culture war lies in our purchasing power. The ability to shape corporate behavior and culture through our consumer choices can have a profound impact on the direction society takes. Our purchasing power has a profound impact and we need to start using it more. We can no longer support brands that promote worldviews that are diametrically opposed to Truth. We need to continue making examples of brands who do these things by refusing to purchase their products and services.

Storytime is the Art War

by Kilts Khalfan

We live in a planetary Art War. Want proof? Look at what is paraded in front of children in the name of Art in 2023. I am talking of course about the Drag Queens that have invaded public libraries across the Western Hemisphere. Why is this concept of drag queen “story time” so important to sexual revolutionaries? They seem to want to turn public spaces into the kindergartens of an androgynous cult. And it is a cult, as Russell Kirk would have defined it. Kirk outlined that the central cult practice of any group creates its culture, as worship informs the destiny of culture and civilization. For Apostolic Catholics, the central cult practice is the eucharistic liturgy as given by Saint Mark the Levite. We face the altar as Israelites and receive the story of our salvation in Christ, otherwise known as the Gospel. Yet the West has abandoned this Storytime for another cult promising its own good news of absolute freedom of expression.

Great Books of Christianity: The Medieval Period

by ThinkingWest

Christianity is no stranger to the great books of the West and stands out among the great books as the inspiration for many of the foundational works of philosophy, literature, and science. Thus, there are a subset of great books in the West that aim to study Christianity itself. The Medieval period (~600 AD – 1500 AD) is perhaps the richest time period for Christian writings, as it was during this period that Christianity grew from a fledgling religion only recently tolerated by Roman rule into the most dominating power Europe has ever seen. The Christian rise in Europe is special in many ways, in that (perhaps for the first and only time) a religious power displaced tribes and nations in the hierarchy of power.

Though many might (perhaps mistakenly) call the early part of this period the “Dark Ages”, many illuminating writings emerged for the consumption of Christians  or their curious acquaintances. Ranging from neck-deep philosophical treatises on theology to practical guides to prayer, the great books of Christianity of the Medieval period built on the foundations laid by early doctors of the Church. The Medieval writers then strove to dig deeper, look higher, and paint with more colorful strokes the Christian picture that, quite literally, would inspire the art and imagination of later Christian generations. Here are those Medieval works of Christian genius belonging to the “great books of Christianity”.

Flying High — Roots + Wings

by Rory Feek, Plain Values

April is my birthday month, which is always interesting for me. Each year, although I physically turn another year older, my mind never seems to age. The voice inside my head seems to stay forever young and stuck in another time, convinced that time stands still. But the face that I see in the mirror tells a different story. The lines around my eyes are like chapters carved in the book of life that I have lived, the life that I am living still.

When my wife Joey passed away in March 2016, and we came back home to the farm after being gone for five months, I had to find a way to keep living and somehow find new life. I had to find a way to take where we’ve been and all we have learned and carry it into where we are going. I had to find a way to go where God has been leading us all along.

Christian Nationalism and the Most-Abused Verse in the Bible

by Pastor Andrew Isker

There is currently no verse in the evangelical world more abused than Galatians 3:28. Only recently did this newcomer knock off the decades-long world champion, Matthew 7:1 “judge not, lest ye be judged.” But today, in the context of intense propaganda that seeks to demonize those of European descent and a ruling class that intentionally seeks to demographically replace them in their native lands, the Apostle Paul’s admonition to the church of Galatia is used as a battering ram to manipulate well-meaning Christians.

Elon Musk’s Compliance with Turkish Censorship Demands: A Dangerous Precedent for Free Speech

Recent events involving Twitter and Elon Musk complying with the Turkish government’s request to censor political content during their elections have raised concerns about the potential consequences for free speech.

Late Friday evening Twitter released a statement noting “In response to legal process and to ensure Twitter remains available to the people of Turkey, we have taken action to restrict access to some content in Turkey today.” On Saturday some journalists picked up on this statement and noted that “free speech” Twitter was complying with foreign government demands for censorship.

Great Books of Christianity: The Early Church

by ThinkingWest

Perhaps no other topic has been written about in the West more than Christianity. In the past 2,000 years, tomes on the faith have been written by kings, monks, prophets, and laymen alike. One might conclude that no other faith has inspired, and been inspired by, great literature quite like Christianity. Therefore, in our next series of articles, we aim to highlight the most prolific literature of Christianity. These works were written to lead and inspire the faithful through practical application of teachings or by theological and philosophical exploration of Christianity’s mysteries. In this first installment, we will focus on the years 0-600 A.D. to investigate the earliest Christian works. 

Let’s explore the most important works of the early church. 

Spring on a Traditional Family Farm — The Healing Land

By Nic Stoltzfus, Plain Values

There’s no time like spring for seeing how bountifully God provides for His creatures, and that’s especially true here in central Appalachia, where young, green grass and blossoming fruit trees are everywhere we look. Our seven dairy cows put gallons of rich, creamy milk in the bucket every day. Their calves race around the pasture or lie in the soft grass and nap in the sun. Chicks in mobile pens scratch and forage, new feathers pushing through their baby down. Pigs are growing fast on skim milk and forage. We’re never more grateful for our small farm lifestyle than now when life is so beautiful and abundant.

Confessions of a Steward — Carbon Development on the Farm

by Joel Salatin, Plain Values

Last month I introduced the concept of the carbon economy for soil fertility and the numerous ways God designed soil fertility and development to run on sunbeams converted to biomass. From bison on the prairie to wildebeests on the Serengeti, perennial prairie polycultures pruned by herbivores chased by predators built the deepest and most fertile soils on the planet.

That’s the big picture, but how do we apply it to our gardens and farms? How do we catalyze on-site carbon development and utilization to build the organic matter by cycling biomass into the soil?