I’ll get this out of the way: lots to quibble with in this interview. Nonetheless, Wendell Berry makes me re-think what the church should be doing like few others can. Some quotes to whet your appetites:
…and meanwhile, we’ll let the churches be in charge of getting people to heaven, and they won’t have to worry about our economic life at all. And the arts will concern themselves with nature but only as subject matter, only as a source of metaphors. That’s wrong, in my opinion. I think all the disciplines gather under the meaning of economy, the making of the household, the making and maintenance of the human household, and that involves everything.
When you’re talking about the land use economies, you’re talking about the fundamental economies. What we are talking about are the arts of life, and the fundamental arts of life are the arts of land use. We have preferred to think of the arts of life as the arts of living, the code of hospitality to guests, good table manners, and so on. But the issue is more economic and more serious than that. So if we began to think about all the arts of life, then we would maybe have the beginning of a real criticism. Are these good arts or bad arts?
And the engineering arts also are economic arts. They are the way that we construct, so to speak, the household of the human economy. And to turn the construction of that household over to a bunch of materialist specialists is a serious mistake.