The Christian Prepper’s Dilemma

Once again sharing portions of a dialog from the Village’s private board, “Friends of Sewanee Creek”.  Commenter, John (name changed), is a friend of the Village, but not yet a Villager.

Grant Miller shared an article on 01/31/2012 10:57:49 am.
I don’t like labels, but I guess I’m a prepper. My parents were preppers before there was such a word. Back then, they just called it frugal, hard-working, forward thinking and innovative. I’ve been a prepper all of my life, but really got intense about it 6 years ago when I started this project. Being intense always risks burnout, so this blog hit home. You can read the original here.

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Avoiding Prepper Burnout

Ever look at your efforts in preparedness and think to yourself – “Self, is this all just a waste of time?” Ever think about the hours spent reading blogs, visiting preparedness forums, and making plans and consider that all of that time could have been spent doing something more “important?” I mean – that awesome AR-15 that you finally got off of layaway could have afforded the family a nice vacation to the beach.

Is it really worth it?
If you think this way, guess what? Your human and not alone. It’s OK. It’s called “prepper burnout” and it happens to the best of us.

Prepper Burnout can arrive for several reasons:
1st – Nothing happens. That’s right – all your planning and food storage and the world around you just seems to not collapse. Of course that is good. It is absolutely fortunate however it gives non-preppers a lot of ammunition to poke fun and insinuate that your preps are a waste of time.

2nd – Money. Maybe would better stated as “Not enough money”. So many of us are struggling to not just pay bills, put food on our plates and gas in our cars – but we are also trying to stock up on preparedness supplies at the same time. When times are especially tough it is easy to redirect priorities and the corresponding funds to other things and say, “screw preparedness”.

3rd – Lack of Time. In many peoples lives so many activities and distractions take up valuable time and challenge many to find more time to spend on “prepping”. For many of us – prepping is easy to push to the bottom of the priority list and sweep under the rug.

There are many more reasons why some people just get sick (and tired) of prepping.

So what can be done about it? Take a break!! Yes – just take a break from prepping for a week or two – the world won’t come to an end (at least we hope not). Spend time with the family. Do something fun like bowling or go to a couple movies. If you have a hobby that maybe you have not had done in a while – go for it. If possible, have a family meeting and ask everyone else what they would like to do. Money does not have to be spent to relax and have a good time. Visit a park and bring a picnic lunch. Make Saturday a “vegetable day” – meaning that you will become a couch potato and watch movies all day. Invite some friends over and have a cookout. Whatever is chosen – have fun and forget about prepping for a bit.

Preparedness Goals?

Often while taking a break from prepping your mind will start to come back around and preparedness goals will begin to come into sight. It is at that time to throw in your favorite apocalyptic movie – get out a pad of paper – and write. Write some preparedness goals that you want to accomplish. Possibly you may think about getting ready for spring gardening. Start a list of gardening “things to do” to start in early spring. Get it out of your head and on paper.

If money is short do some things that are inexpensive or free. Go to your local dollar store and stock up on some really inexpensive but valuable preparedness supplies. Spend a day scouring the Internet for good info and maybe print some out to place in a “survival information binder”. Ask a friend who has a particular skill that you want to have teach you. Maybe even perform a complete inventory of your stockpile and enter everything in a spreadsheet.

We all get burnt out sometimes. Just realize that it is OK and take steps to refresh, reload, and regenerate. Often you will come back re-energized and better focused on your preparedness goals.

Take care all –
Rourke

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John – 01/31/2012 10:04:35 pm

Prepping is a bit like subscribing to same type of logic that underlies Pascal’s wager on the existence of God. From what I have read on this forum though, prepping has become an opportunity for exploration and discovery. Sounds exciting to me…not a reason for burnout.

I have seen a lot of prepper shows on TV as well as websites and I wanted to ask a question related to something you wrote above, Grant.

“that awesome AR-15 that you finally got off of layaway could have afforded the family a nice vacation to the beach. ”

A large proportion of preppers seem to be people of faith. On this site I have come across Christian references so I assume that many in the community take Jesus as their lord and savior. I also have noticed that the majority of preppers are well armed and are prepared to protect themselves and their families from any potential dangers that might confront them.

But, what is the plan if a prepper community is not confronted by a band of marauding ne’er do wells, but rather a large group of starving families? Would these Christian preppers unleash the hounds and machine guns on a refugee population of starving children to save their food stores? What would Jesus or the values of the New Testament suggest the appropriate plan of action be?

There is a concerning amount of violent undercurrent which pervades many prepper networks and communities that is of great concern to me. There is almost a perverse desire in certain cases to welcome the coming of the apocalypse, or so called cleansing.

In my opinion, what many prepper communities are doing (especially the undertakings that I read about on this blog) should be a model for the greater country as I believe that they are directly confronting the issues of sustainability which in my mind will be the most pressing issues of our lifetime. The image of preppers should be more open arms and smiles and less AK-47’s and land mines.

At the end of the day, I don’t know if I would be able to reply to a legitimate and honest cry for help with the cold response of a machine gun round.

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Grant Miller – 02/01/2012 07:31:24 am

John, as usual, you go to the heart of the matter.

First, let me clarify. I didn’t write this piece. I shared it from another blog, so I don’t own it. Having said that, I would be dishonest if I did not admit to having invested in self-defense measures.

But, underlying a genuine and realistic need to be prepared to defend oneself against evil forces, there is, as you say, a deeper need to prepare to be a part of the solution for those who are genuinely in need. The answers to this dilemma are not easy.

On one hand, no amount of preparation and industriousness (putting back food and water, growing food, becoming energy self-sufficient, etc) would be adequate if the community is over-run by people in need. Years of work and preparation to feed one’s own family could potentially be wiped out in a day, as would one’s ability to assist others in need through a desire to lovingly share.

On the other hand, there is no indication that Christ was a “prepper”. He lived day-to-day, grateful for His daily bread. Having little in the way of material goods, He and his disciples gave what they could to the poor, which was probably also very little even though it was much relative to what they had. The Bible says that Judas was the keeper of the purse and there are a few references to discussions about giving to the poor. One such comes to mind when the controversy arose about Christ being anointed with expensive ointment prior to his crucifixion. Jesus, in defense of this extravagance replied, the poor are always with you.   Mark 14  It would seem from this that Christ recognized that there are inexhaustible physical needs that are beyond our ability to satisfy and that one must choose wisely how to allocate physical resources. But the allocation of physical resources was not at the core of Christ’s teachings. He repeatedly stated that His Kingdom was not of this world, not physical in nature. The abundance of what He had to offer was spiritual and far more important than the physical. It was the healing of the spirit and the body.

It is difficult to visualize all scenarios a prepper or a Christian might be faced with. I certainly want to be among those who would generously share with those in need. From discussions I have had, I am confident that all others who are invested in the Village feel the same. But I also want to protect and provide for the ones I love most. So, I suppose that, in a dooms day scenario where there is mass starvation, I would try to carefully choose between those who are non-violent and in need and those who are out to pillage. An armed mob bent on taking what I have diligently put back would be met with the best defense I could muster. But I would do my best to “give this day, of our daily bread” to the extent that I do not endanger the welfare of those in my personal stewardship.

My favorite play is Les Miserable, based on Victor Hugo’s monumental novel. The pivotal moment that sets the stage for everything else in the story is when the Priest gives all of the Church’s silver to Jean Valjean who has stolen a portion of it. Through this singular act of charity, the convict Valjean is transformed to a Christian life of giving. This example of Christian charity would seem to contradict my rationale of distinguishing beneficiaries by their intent or level of violence. But there are differences. Silver is not sustenance. It was ornamentation for the Church. It could be yielded up without threatening starvation to the priests and nuns. More importantly, the priest had spent the prior evening feeding and, one could assume, plumbing the depths of Valjean’s soul in conversation. I would imagine that the priest gave the silver for a higher cause than feeding Valjean a few more meals. He sensed the goodness there and that giving the silver would be a wise investment in the well-being of many. How many others had visited the convent prior to Valjean in similar circumstances? How many others had depleted all the silver in the Church? Apparently, Valjean was a special case.

Similarly, it is difficult to say what should be the appropriate response to all future scenarios that we face in life.

Being armed and prepared allows me to make that difficult choice in the moment and under real and specific circumstances. I am not Christ and don’t share His mission nor His ability to lay down my life as a Savior for all mankind. I may be called upon to lay down my life for some within my sphere of influence, though. If such difficult choices must be made, I just pray that I will be spiritually prepared to discern and choose as Christ would have.  Like Him, I hope that my choices will transcend the physical and the consequences of those choices will yield spiritual and therefore eternal benefits.

This is why, for preppers, the most important preparation is spiritual.

Matthew 16
19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

26  For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

I would love to hear more thoughts on this topic from friends and members of the Village.

3 thoughts on “The Christian Prepper’s Dilemma

    • Village members do a fair amount of volunteer work in the larger community. There is a lot of need out there. We always do that as private individuals, not representing the Village. Christ advised that when we give, the left hand should not know what the right hand is doing. Whether being prudent or quietly generous, it’s always a good idea to keep a low profile.

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