Living Off the Grid

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Living Off the Grid

Post by Sakhaiva on Sat May 29, 2010 6:01 pm

I came across an interesting article on CNN about Christians Living off the grid. You can read the article here:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/05/27/christians.unplugged/index.html?hpt=Mid

Excerpts from the article:

"We are following a different path that we think is healthier, promotes better families, and better communities."

He doesn't believe a church needs four walls and a roof. Rather, a church is people who believe in taking care of each other -- living under the biblical principles of faith, hope and charity. "Christians should be looking for a way to take care of one another without forcing their neighbor to contribute to their welfare. In essence that's coveting your neighbor's goods through the agency of the governments you create. And that is a sin."

"Making the government an idol is the problem. That's what stands in the way of Christian sanctification," Humphrey says. "It's hands off mainly things like our family, our children, our bodies, our health, and even our money, the fruits of our labor. These don't belong to government."

"Personal secession are things like homeschooling, house churches, home gardening, home-based economics, just regaining privacy and a sense of community rather than worrying about what's going on in Washington, D.C... What's the latest thing from the Supreme Court? "You know, who cares? I don't care about what they're saying in D.C. because they don't represent me hardly more than Pyongyang."


............

I must admit that this is a very tempting lifestyle for me; a minimalist, natural and rugged lifestyle is not only simpler, it's healthier as well. Consider, two generations ago my family built their own houses, raised their own food and drilled for their own water. The conditions were rather poor and the work was hard ... and my family tended to be very long lived and happy.

Also that last quote resounds loud and clear within my soul.

So, since I posted this on the Christian Debate board, let me ask: is living away from other people truly a *Christian* way of life, or are Christians called to live among others (be an example, evangelize etc etc.)

Any other thoughts about the article?

Peace to all.
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Re: Living Off the Grid

Post by TigersEyeDowsing on Sat May 29, 2010 8:12 pm

Very interesting article!

I think His Church is way different from Christian Exodus, since Ex. doesn't really promote a more natural lifestyle really - just create the governmental schizm.

It is very tempting. I swear I was a monk in a past life; I've always been very called to that, like I miss it or something. I always say it's no fair, my faith doesn't have a monestary option outside of Missouri. And I ain't in Missouri!

When I was a Christian teen I closely followed The Prayer Foundation, http://prayerfoundation.org/category_5_monks.htm The only group of Protestant monks/nuns I could find online. I found it quite appealing.

My only qualms with a formal and living community is that it needs leadership, rules and law (including spiritual since it's faith-based) and heads are going to CLASH over those every time. The only time these places succeed outside a mainline monastic faith is when there's a very pursuasive cult leader involved who can convince EVERYONE to believe and act exactly as he commands, or else there'd be too many personalities in the mix.

That's my take anyway.

I agree that Christianity is nothing like the Christian movement started out to be. Of course there were a lot of sects even then, but I don't think any of them would recognize the mega-churchgoers in their 'church clothes' each week. I agree with the shepherd guy. And I think that ALL people, of all faiths, including myself, need to regularly take a step back and look at where the 'treasures' are laid up.

/endsermon

My mother is an Exodus woman... she was all about the SC move, and did the homeschool/backtonature thing and still is like that.

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Re: Living Off the Grid

Post by AutumnalTone on Sun May 30, 2010 11:52 am

When somebody starts speaking of this or that as an idol, that serves as a warning to me that there's something dysfunctional going on below the surface. As long as they truly keep to themselves, though, I've no problem with it.

As for whether it's better for Christians to live separate from the world or among it, I guess you could look at the Amish experience. It'll only be partially enlightening, however, as most Christian groups don't live Christian virtues in the same fashion that the Amish do.
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Re: Living Off the Grid

Post by DotNotInOz on Sun May 30, 2010 2:56 pm

Yeees, well, maybe that back-to-nature lifestyle is healthier.

It might not be if you don't run a water sample from your hand-dug well in for testing every so often to make sure it's safe to drink.

How are you set up to dispose of human and animal wastes? If you don't know where the water table is and are intent upon having a good ol' natural outhouse, YOU could end up polluting your own well.

And will you get regular vet checkups, vaccinations and treatment for your animals, particularly food-producing ones?

I think people have to work out a happy medium. We'd like to think that living naturally is healthier, but most of us are too soft to do all the extremely hard physical labor it takes to live without things like electric or gas ranges, tapwater and refrigeration.

I remember asking my mother how my paternal grandparents took a bath since they didn't have indoor plumbing until I was in high school. She explained that they had to make sure the old wood-fired cookstove's water reservoir was full with enough coals in the firebox to keep the water hot for things like hand and dishwashing. Doing that entailed working the hand pump at the kitchen sink. And then, you had to lug the old galvanized metal tub into the kitchen and dip hot water into it or into a bucket that you carried to the tub. It would likely take a half dozen or more good-sized bucketsful of water to put a few inches of bathwater into the tub, and it would cool off pretty quickly.

I think about that every time I start getting nostalgic for the "good ol' days" when people weren't dependent upon so many conveniences and gadgets. I'm not so sure it was a simpler life...unless you call having to do a helluva lot of backbreaking work just to take a bath "simple."
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Re: Living Off the Grid

Post by DotNotInOz on Sun May 30, 2010 3:06 pm

And I won't even get started on how many idiot parents I had to try to help find materials for their homeschooling when I worked at Borders...

The prize among those went to the woman who came in wanting to buy a "kirklum" so she knew what to teach at each grade level. And then wanted us to order her one along with all the books she'd need to teach four kids. Never mind that she had no idea whatsoever which books she'd want other than her "kirklum." We were supposed to know which she'd need and just order them all for her. (I suggested she go to the nearby school specialty store, shamelessly foisting her off on them.)
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Re: Living Off the Grid

Post by TigersEyeDowsing on Sun May 30, 2010 3:58 pm

Darn you for not carrying a good stock of kirklums. How're these parents supposed to be qualified to teach without a kirklum?

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Re: Living Off the Grid

Post by Sakhaiva on Sun May 30, 2010 4:34 pm

DotNotInOz wrote:And I won't even get started on how many idiot parents I had to try to help find materials for their homeschooling when I worked at Borders...

The prize among those went to the woman who came in wanting to buy a "kirklum" so she knew what to teach at each grade level. And then wanted us to order her one along with all the books she'd need to teach four kids. Never mind that she had no idea whatsoever which books she'd want other than her "kirklum." We were supposed to know which she'd need and just order them all for her. (I suggested she go to the nearby school specialty store, shamelessly foisting her off on them.)


DOT, I'm laughing and crying at the same time... oh man.

Well, at least her kids were getting a kirklum; she could have simply done without. There isn't really any accountability in the homeschool world; when I homeschooled Zach people simply took my word for things. Sort of disconcerting.....


Oh guys, I rented the saddest movie... and I didn't know it was going to be sad, I thought it was going to be profound. The movie was 'Into the Wild' directed by Sean Penn, based on the true story of Christopher McCandless. From now on, when I become nostalgic, I'll just think of this movie.

Balance is a good thing.
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Re: Living Off the Grid

Post by gillyflower on Sun May 30, 2010 4:39 pm

*wince* Yes, frequently the education is only going to be as good as the teacher, I'm afraid, and in many cases the teacher, good ole mom or dad, is sub-par.

We get those homeschooling moms and dads in the library and they see nothing wrong with their kids writing reports on countries from a book that is 30 years out of date, for example. (We've tried to weed them lately.) Sometimes they bring us lists of books that they need for reference/reading material and it is difficult or impossible to find the books even drawing from the state library system because they are so out of date. For the non-fiction, the hypothesis and conclusions are Christian based stuff that went out of fashion and/or were disproved 50 years ago. Because of that, the books are only held in Christian college libraries. It really makes us librarians sad and mad to see these kids fed garbage, and of course, their parents feel they have every right to keep their children ignorant and give them bad or biased source material. Which I suppose they do.

Don't get me wrong, there are children who get superior educations from homeschooling and we've had several of those as pages, mostly though from the same family. On the other hand, I've known some mothers who have decided to homeschool and they are crazy. It is kind of sad thinking their kids won't get a daily break from it.

I posted after you did Sak and I'm sure that you are not crazy and did a good job as a teacher for your children.

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Re: Living Off the Grid

Post by DotNotInOz on Sun May 30, 2010 6:29 pm

gillyflower wrote:
Don't get me wrong, there are children who get superior educations from homeschooling and we've had several of those as pages, mostly though from the same family.

Oh, precisely. I still remember one girl who was probably about 10 when she and her mother began coming into the store to select auxiliary reading for her. She had some kind of degenerative disease as about two years later, she began coming in only in her wheelchair. Brilliant young woman who was reading Hawking and trying Darwin.

She looked somewhat ill the last time I saw her before I left the store. I've often thought there was likely a much too early loss of a stunning intellect.
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Re: Living Off the Grid

Post by DotNotInOz on Sun May 30, 2010 6:45 pm

Sakhaiva wrote:

DOT, I'm laughing and crying at the same time... oh man.

Well, at least her kids were getting a kirklum; she could have simply done without. There isn't really any accountability in the homeschool world; when I homeschooled Zach people simply took my word for things. Sort of disconcerting.....

Having been a certified English and speech teacher, I had to bite my tongue more than once when a homeschooling parent pitched a fit because she (invariably a she) wasn't going to submit to the "evil" state licensing division and register her homeschool.

Borders offers an educators' discount to teachers who provide proof of employment such as their school I.D., letterhead attesting to their position with the school, etc. It's a nice help since so many teachers buy a LOT of materials with their own money. Anyway, homeschoolers could get the teacher discount card if they brought in their original state-issued license (raised seal and all that.)

A lot of them in Kansas won't apply because Topeka's zip code ends in 666, and they actually regard that as an indication that something akin to the anti-Christ controls Kansas state government. Apparently, some postal peon with a warped sense of humor assigned that one.

We actually had some of them explain that they weren't about to apply for homeschool licensing because of Topeka's zipcode...but fully expected us to grant them the discount solely on their say-so that they were homeschooling, of course.

I really came to detest most homeschooling parents. Complete morons, the majority of them.

Main reason I sent Mrs. "Kirklum" over to the school supply store (which wouldn't have had curriculums to suit her, I'm sure) was that she refused to believe me when I told her that the companies selling them often charged as much as $200-$500 for one for a single grade level. We'd had so many requests for them that we'd investigated which companies were the major producers and had found that to be the case. Most of them didn't believe us and flounced off to Barnes & Noble. Fine by us...
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Re: Living Off the Grid

Post by TPaine on Sun May 30, 2010 8:14 pm

Now they can order their Kirklums and Christian based textbooks straight from Texas. I certainly feel sorry for the public school kids of Texas. They'll have to compete with students from states that actually teach real facts.
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Re: Living Off the Grid

Post by TigersEyeDowsing on Sun May 30, 2010 8:24 pm

To get back more to the topic at hand, those of us who are/were Christian at some point in our lives, do you think the off-grid objective is the Christian thing to do? I think the Amish was a good allegory, earlier.

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Re: Living Off the Grid

Post by gillyflower on Sun May 30, 2010 10:27 pm

I think maybe Jesus would have approved of communal living but I don't think that many Christians would be willing to follow his lead in giving away everything.

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Re: Living Off the Grid

Post by Sakhaiva on Tue Jun 01, 2010 3:06 pm

gillyflower wrote:I think maybe Jesus would have approved of communal living but I don't think that many Christians would be willing to follow his lead in giving away everything.

Especially when sharing with people who are not just like themselves.... this is, in my opinion, the most challenging aspect of Christianity.

Heck, it's the most challenging aspect of backpacking too! Sharing space and resources is tricky stuff.
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Re: Living Off the Grid

Post by DotNotInOz on Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:18 pm

Now, there's a basis for a new Christian denomination, The Church of Jesus Christ, Backpacker.
< heh heh >
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Re: Living Off the Grid

Post by Sakhaiva on Tue Jun 01, 2010 9:14 pm

I'd join that church.
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Re: Living Off the Grid

Post by DotNotInOz on Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:45 am

Backpacking, not so much for me.

But I'd join the Church of Roughing It (Tent or less). As far as I'm concerned, RV's are a wussy form of camping.

I spent two weeks living in a portapotties-only campground before I could get into my apartment when starting grad school.

Personal hygiene in a backpacking tent pitched in a campground gets rather acrobatic, that's for sure. Sure wish I'd known that since I was accepted at the college I could have gone there to shower. Oh, well...made me appreciate the shower in my apartment that much more when I first got to use it.
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Re: Living Off the Grid

Post by Sakhaiva on Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:33 pm

DotNotInOz wrote:Backpacking, not so much for me.

But I'd join the Church of Roughing It (Tent or less). As far as I'm concerned, RV's are a wussy form of camping.

I spent two weeks living in a portapotties-only campground before I could get into my apartment when starting grad school.

Personal hygiene in a backpacking tent pitched in a campground gets rather acrobatic, that's for sure. Sure wish I'd known that since I was accepted at the college I could have gone there to shower. Oh, well...made me appreciate the shower in my apartment that much more when I first got to use it.


One of my hiking buddies uses a hammock instead of a tent. It's much lighter, but you need good knot skills. The good side is that it's comfy and has zero footprint. The down side is that I don't think they make a hammock for 2.

Oh man, after being in the wilds....that first shower feels so luxurious!

I like primitive campgrounds too (pit toilets/no showers) I don't take my kids backpacking yet; car-camping is enough of a challenge. Once I took my kids to this lovely place just outside Yosemite (much less crowded and more privacy; larger spots) Since I heard that a bear had been visiting the campground each night, I made sure to put all of our food, utensils, water, toothpaste et al in a bear-proof bin. At 2am my daughter (3 at the time) stood up, started walking all around the tent barfing. I tried to grab something ..... a bag, anything. I did the best I could to settle things down and take the smelly stuff to our car (which was not very close, btw) but our tent was no longer odor free.

Sure enough, a half-hour later I hear this deep sounding *SNUFF...........SNUFF...........SNUFF* right by my head. Being a tired mom, I swatted at the tent saying *shew!* which apparently was enough to send the bear sauntering off in another direction. (Apparently to someone else's tent as I heard screaming ... silly people!!!)

Re: camping with kids; our Statement of Belief would have to be: 'it is what it is' Smile A'men. (We're going to Hetch Hetchy in a few weeks; can't wait to see what happens then.)

RV's = hotels on wheels; I have to agree with you DOT.
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Re: Living Off the Grid

Post by TigersEyeDowsing on Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:33 pm

TeeHee! Camping as a child, my grandmother saved half her candybar under her pillow for the next day, and woke up with a bear trying to pry a paw under it to pull it out. To this day she hates camping

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Re: Living Off the Grid

Post by DotNotInOz on Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:46 pm

Holy Guacamole! I bet you were thanking any power you could think of that the bear decided to go elsewhere. Probably had had a very strict mother and recognized you as nothin' to mess with. Ya think? Laughing

I only camped in a really isolated location a couple of times... It was gorgeous even though I had to haul in my water supply, and those 5-gallon water totes are HEAVY. You really get a sense of how cavalierly you use water that comes out of a tap when you have only that 5 gallons to last you a couple of days or so unless you truck back out to get more.

I didn't worry about a bear bin since my car was parked just off the highway a couple hundred feet below the site in the closest parking area. Anything that food had touched went down to the trunk, dirty clothes that might be harboring food particles included. I figured I'd rather file for bear damage to my car than risk said rearrangement of me!
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Re: Living Off the Grid

Post by Sakhaiva on Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:33 pm

TED:


That sounds like a Far Side comic.


DOT, I'd like to invest in a good water filter for backpacking. Water = extremely heavy and it's so sad to see people who don't pack enough. I like what you said about over-using the tap... too true! Water is something we take for granted (and cannot live without)
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Re: Living Off the Grid

Post by TigersEyeDowsing on Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:15 pm

Good idea Sak! I found a cheap one here. http://campingextras.com/pro1074929.html Of course, they make more expensive ones too. I'm big on water filtration.

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Re: Living Off the Grid

Post by DotNotInOz on Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:03 am

Yeah, a backpacker's water filter is a good option. However, I was near Santa Fe, NM in an area that at that time was among the more heavily infested with giardia, I'd learned. I wouldn't trust anything but the most expensive filters when dealing with that stuff!

On a student's budget, I decided I'd hold off on buying one of the really good filters I'd seen in the gear shops since I'd no idea as yet how much utilities were going to cost me. From what I'd heard about how badly giardia could affect a person, hauling in water was simpler and gave me some fine weightlifting experience. Unless you've hauled a nearly full 5-gal. tote up a fairly steep grade at about 9500 ft., you've no real sense of how elevation can affect your lungpower, I can tell you.
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Re: Living Off the Grid

Post by Sakhaiva on Thu Jun 03, 2010 3:33 pm

I've not gotten Giardia ..... yet. I'm known to shimmy down and jump into subalpine lakes after a long hike so.... ya never know.

I don't have a water filter yet; however it's my next investment and I think I might go with MSR; (and also carry some Polar Pure as a backup as filters are not without their problems)

People totally forget about elevation. Neophytes used to working out at the gym are are often shocked when they hit the trails only to find they bonk (or when there are not drinking fountains along the trail. Yup... seen that one too).

I don't know about you DOT, but I get altitude sickness with anything over 10,000' (on a dayhike) unless I spend a day or 2 at 7000' first. I envy people who do not suffer altitude sickness. Some of my friends in my hiking club can do Mt Whitney as a dayhike.... for me, such things are a bigger commitment.

(btw, I hike the speed of Gandalf when carrying a big load at treeline)
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Re: Living Off the Grid

Post by DotNotInOz on Thu Jun 03, 2010 5:10 pm

Oh, I didn't venture up to the 9500' campsite until well after I'd gotten acclimated. I don't have problems with altitude sickness, but until your number of red bloodcells adjusts (2-4 weeks, the college advised us "flatlanders"), you're smart to take it very easy until you find out how altitude affects you.

I only found that I got tired much more easily for a month or so, but I nevertheless camped at elevations close to those of Santa Fe for a while despite my two weeks of camping prior to school starting.

At nearly 40, I found it took me around 4-6 weeks to get used to the altitude. I never did get to where I could drink much alcohol at that elevation. Cheap drunk in other words. Laughing
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