Friday, May 06, 2011
On the BBC breakfast programme earlier this week they had a story involving a virtual farm in Cambridgeshire. For a modest fee a person with no experience of farming gets to make decisions about what crops to grow, what food to feed to pigs and all sorts of interesting things on a real farm. The idea was inspired by Facebook’s Farmville.
Obviously you are one of ten thousand or more people who have paid the fee, so it is not down to one single person making the decisions. It is a community vote. I am sure that the community will be given sufficient information to make a sensible decision – but even so, the fate of a farm in the hands of a non-farming community doesn’t sound so good to me.
The farm is owned by the National Trust so perhaps they can afford to underscore possible losses where a single farmer can’t afford that luxury.
The farmer and some prospective on-line investors were interviewed. It was all very noble – they both wanted people to get their hands dirty (or just their virtual hands) and learn where their meat comes from and where the wheat comes from to make the bread. A connection to the soil, however remote, would be made. Being involved in the decision making of the farm would make people better shoppers perhaps and more appreciative of the food chain. The farmer promised to abide by the decisions of his on-line community, and encouraged his investors to visit the real farm and see the cows they had fed.
I am glad that I am not a farmer with 10,000 people making my decisions for me about what I plant in my fields. It is all down to trust. Do the investors trust the farmer to guide them towards the right decision? Does the farmer trust the investors to make the right decisions based on the guidance he has given?
I got to thinking about other people making decisions on my behalf - telling me what to do and I do it. Could there be a Virtual Mel?
I don’t have 10,000 people emailing me, or voting on a list of moment by moment decisions – the clothes I wear, the food I eat or the way I spend my evenings. Actually, now I think about it – I could do with a few people at least doing so. They might make a better job at living my life than I do!
It did occur to me that I have one person – not a virtual team – to help me. God helps me live my life the best way that I can. He doesn’t make all the decisions for me demanding my obedience to His orders without allowing me to think for myself. Rather, He works with me and I work with Him in order to make decisions about living the best life that I can. We are in partnership.
He is wise enough to know what decisions I can make without too much supervision – the clothes I wear, the food I eat etc. He also knows that there are some decisions that I need to make where I don’t have all the information I need. He is the expert and in those times He asks me to trust Him.
When it comes down to trust, God is trustworthy.