"I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history." -Cardinal Francis George

Friday, June 29, 2012

Of chimp poop and men

[What follows is a exchange I had with a friend by email. After patting myself on the back after reading my excellent use of the term "chimp poop' in a sentence for the first time in my life, I figured I would share this]

[My friend:]
"Joe S [Soucheray] doesn't have much to do with it, but I find his complaints ring hollow because he is always blaming 'liberals', without seeing that his belief system leads to similar outcomes."

I agree. I stopped listening to him years and years ago because his Republicrat country club psuedo-conservatism was retarded.

I want to make 2 points to you.

1) Look, I understand wanting to see the "fruit" of a religion. There is nothing wrong with wanting to see how members of a religion live out their lives and judging, to at least some degree, their religion by their actions. So I agree with you to a point there. So does the Catholic Church. The marks of the Church to us are different than for Reformed. One of those marks is that the Church is Holy, along with One, Catholic, and Apostolic. So yes, holines does have to be a mark of the Church. But even in the new Testament we see poor behaviour even among the Apostles. So of course when we say the Church is holy, that does not mean impeccable, and if that impossible standard of impeccability does not apply even to the Apostles withing the writings of the New Testament, they we can't expect it to apply now.

2) Follow my train of thought. I think we can agree on the following points:

1. All people in all religions sin and do dumb stuff.
2. Catholics are people in a religion.
3. Angicans are people in a religion.
4. Presbyterians are people in a religion. Etc, etc.
5. These groups not being impeccable does not disprove the validity of their religion, unless their being impeccable is a doctrine of their religion.
6. None of these groups have a stated doctrine or dogma that they will be impeccable.

Ok, so I think we can agree on those points, right?

So, why all the fuss about Catholics being sinners from you? And not only that, but connecting it to the validity of Catholicism in general? I can see if you decided to leave Christianity because of hypocrisy and sin among Christians, but to sit over in the Anglican/Reformed corner of the Christian room and throw your chimp poop on the Catholics for being sinners is just shameful. Take a look in the mirror dude, we all suck.

So I see a big inconsistency in your problem/argument with Catholicism. If sin disproves Catholicism in the way you seem to think it does, then it should also disprove Christianity in general. But yet you do not reject Christianity in general. So do you see where it seems to me you are inconsistent?

In the Catholic Catechism, check out 823 to 829 and read for yourself what we believe about the holiness of the Church.http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p123a9p3.htm#II

Particularly 828 and 829 explain it well. And most of the whole section could be afirmed by me before I was Catholic (other than the bit about canonizing saints). The saints are how the Church exibits the holiness promised it by God. Again, this is not really disagreed upun between Prots and Catholics. We both agree the Church is holy, and we both agree the Church has sinners in it. So again, I just don't know what you think you acomplish by pointing out Catholic failings (or percieved failings as sometimes you have done)? Yes it is a scandal for Christians to sin, but this does not disprove the holines of Christ's Church, however that Church might be concieved of in it's organization.

Along with this point, I want to also say that you are really being one sided in your pointing out the faults of Catholics. Yes there are sinners, but there are saints too. Many thousands of saints! There are great and holy reformers like St. Francis who revolutionized the Church and really cleaned house, bringing much needed renewal. And St. Catherine of Sienna who boldly stood up to the pope and cowed him into doing the right thing. Both of these reformers didnt change any dontrine, they just helped the Church to live up to what it already believed. These are two examples among many. Waht about all the monestaries filled with quiet people spending a life in prayer and solitude?

Ever seen the indie film Into Great Silence? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUYjqp5PDdc
These men arent sinless, but please, they are holy people who have given everything for Christ and exibit the holiness of the Church! Even in modern times, who can bring a charge against Bl. Mother Teresa or St. Padre Pio? These are holy people who exibit Christ to the world. And yes, I would include many Protestants I have known too who are just visibly holy people. You can almost feel it being in the same room that they are so full of Christ they are bursting. This is the holiness that is a mark of the Church. I believe the Catholic Church has that holiness, and I wouldnt argue with even my Pentecostal brother if he were to say that his denomination was the true Church based on some of it's holy men and women. I have seen Pentecostals that looked like they had a halo they were so holy. I have seen a few Reformed women that did as well. And I have seen more Catholics like that than any. Perhaps because Catholics are more numerous, whatever. My point is that the Church is holy, and if you atack the Catholic Church for it's sin, you are proving too much, because you are atacking whatever Christian group you are a part of too at the same time. If Catholicism is false because of it's sinners, then your denomination is false too.

The Catholic Church is the largest charity in the world. Period. Does that say anything to you? Do you know the bishops conference in the US (USCCB) has a "Fortnight of Freedom" going on right now in every diocese in the US for Christians to show their displeasure with government removal of our freedoms? Have you seen Cardinal Dolan recently in the media talking trash on Obama? Do you know that ALL ~188 bishops in the USA, yes, every single one of them, came out personally, publicly and in writing AGAINST at least the abortion/contraception mandate and most against Obamacare in general? That is not bad.

Not a clipped haired lesbian in the bunch.
Did you know Communism, according to oficial Catholic doctrine, is not a valid form of government, and that John Paul 2 was instrumental (with Reagan) in bringing the beast to it's knees? Do you know that the central, underlying principle of Catholic economic theory that must be present in any governmet is privatye ownership of property? That is not negotiable for Catholics.

This pic has nothing to do with this post. Now back to your regularly scheduled rambling.
Did you know that many of the Catholic politicians you have criticized are already excommunicated, either by decree or by latae sententiae excommunication? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latae_sententiae
Kathlean Sebalius herself has been excommunicated in her home dioces and in D.C? And Nancy Pelosi was recently denied a photo op with the Pope and instead he privately lectured her for 15 minutes, giving her an excommunication warning.

Do I wish the bishops did more? Yeah. But they are doing some things, and they are getting better and more faithful as each year goes by and the hippie ones die off. The members of the Church arent perfect. But the Church is holy.


Will you please admit that bringing sins of Catholics to light does not show the Catholic Church to be false?

Sorry you didnt get your job. Perhaps you should learn some farming skills and head out to the hills somewhere. That's my plan!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI on Agricultural Work

"It is essential to cultivate and spread a clear ethic that is up to the task of addressing current challenges: Everyone should educate themselves in more wise and responsible consumption; promote personal responsibility, along with the social dimension of rural activities, which are based on perennial values, such as hospitality, solidarity, and the sharing of the toil of labor. More than a few young people have already chosen this path; also many professionals are returning to dedicate themselves to the agricultural enterprise, feeling that they are responding not only to a personal and family need, but also to a "sign of the times," to a concrete sensibility for the "common good."

Let us pray to the Virgin Mary that these reflections can serve as a stimulus to the international community, while we give our thanks to God for the fruits of the earth and the work of man."

Pope Benedict XVI

NOV. 14, 2010
From an address titled:
On Agricultural Work 
(His full statement here)

Monday, June 18, 2012

A new Christendom by connecting to the soil

Great thoughts from Kevin Ford at the Catholic Land Movement:

"...we need families to return and nurture her [the land] for the sake of future generations. So it is that we need others who see, as Pope Pius XII saw, that "The farm is the ideal nursery for the family."

A connection to the soil is a connection to our beginning and our end. It is a constant meditation on the first and last things. It is a connection to the reality of our own powerlessness in the face of life, and leads us to a greater trust in Divine Providence. Here we learn to number our days aright as season leads to season, and we begin to see that it is God who is in control of all things. When things don't go right we look up to God and say with Job: "I have received good things from the Lord and ought I not to accept evil things as well? " This connection to the soil is vital for any civilization and is one that when lost leads to catastrophic results. Such was the case with every civilization. With the degrading of the soil comes the degrading of society. We must seek to rebuild a new civilization by returning to the soil. There we see that from which we are made and that to which we will return. There we will work out our salvation with fear and trembling, and earn our bread by the sweat of our brows. It is a humbling and difficult task, but one that many more are called to."
Build the farm, to build the family, to build the culture. With God's grace going before our efforts, it really does seem this simple folks. Keep it up Kevin.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Baby Steps Towards Christendom: Step #5: Plant some food

Here are some pics of my garden as of this morning:

~36 bags. ~30 different veggies and herbs.

Notice the irrigation timer in the corner. I zip tied it to a cheap plastic fence post. The town home does not have water out back!!! So I had to run a hose through the house from a shower head through a window- no simple feat.

Front row here has broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts. In the back you see a big Jalapeno plant I got for cheaper than the value of the jalapenos that were on the plant... so sad. Also cukes, Japanese eggplant, echinacea and black cherry toms in the back.

Back row: Alaska peas growing about 6 inches a day, beans struggling after transplant, Nasturtiums in front of eggplant, young tomatoes. Front row: Bug eaten lettuce, 6 kinds of herbs.

Back row: second from left is something I am excited about: Willamette hops. Yes, as in for making beer. The trellis for these goes up to my living room window on the second floor! I hope they get that high. To the right there is a 6ft steel fence post with three hanging bags or strawberries, green peppers, and tomatoes. You can just some of the drip line going to the top bag. This fencepost system is SOLID and works really well for a small space and I will be doing more of it next year. Also putting it in front of the lettuce for shade was planned.

You get the idea. More tomatoes and some chard I just planted yesterday from seed. Oh, and my Bonsai tree hanging out on the right getting in on the drip irrigation action.

From left wall to right wall my townhouse space is only 30' wide. The bags are on landscaping rocks which go out 3' from the wall. So all the usable ground space would be maybe be 100 sqft including the sides. I am using 36 grow bags which are 1.57 sqft. apiece for a total "dirt surface area" of 57 sqft in a total garden area of ~80 sqft. If this were in a raised bed style garden, it would be the equivalent of a 4'X14' raised bed, which is really not all that much. But it sure seems like a jungle to me! (And my neighbors!) What is weird is that there is unused space! And the vertical fencepost system (which I hadn't really planned on doing) is supporting 30 plants in a space of about 1.5 sqft! If I had another dozen of those posts, this garden would be ridiculously space efficient.
Here it is in April. My kids were quite interested in the whole thing.
Filling the bags was probably the most labor intensive thing so far. My mix was 1 part Vermiculite, 2 parts peat, and 3 parts composted manure. 1, 2, 3, easy. I mixed it on a big tarp and measured with a 5 gallon pail. It was nice to do this on cold April days.

Baby hops rhizome from a month ago in back, broccoli or brussels in front. You can see the drip tubing. I have it set to water in the morning. I found that the water in the tubing gets super hot, which would kill plants I bet, so I make sure to water in the morning when the water will have cooled.

Drip tubing half installed.

~month ago

Farmer Dave

What is interesting about this garden (if I do say so myself!) is that I live in a townhome. This means that I have like... no space to garden. I think if I asked the association (who takes care of all the common areas in my neighborhood) they would say I shouldn't even have this garden. Which is precisely why I didn't ask them! ;-)
Also because I don't actually own any of the land, I decided to do something which could be removed. I wanted to build a raised bed, but I knew as soon as the last screw went into the bed that I would be told to get rid of it all. So... I started looking for something more portable. There are lots of options! At first, I thought of doing something like the Big Bag Bed from the Smart Pot company. These smart pots are awesome. They are fabric, so obviously portable, and they breathe, and help regulate heat, but also they are expensive.
I looked at hard plastic pots and all sorts of things, but finally I opted for some plastic grow bags that ended up being about 60 cents apiece!
They are thick, and black on the inside/white outside, and have holes already in them. I am pretty sure I am the first person to grow veggies in these bags by the look of the website (ja know what I mean mon?) but hey, they work great.
Drip irrigation and a timer was the priciest item of the non-essentials (~$60), but I really wanted to do this thing right, and it is something I won't have to buy next year. Soil was expensive, but again, mainly a 1 time cost. And I could have just got all compost for a third of the price, that probably would have worked just fine.

So do a garden. If I can do it in a townhouse you have no freaking excuse! There is absolutely no downside to this. I tried to think of one, and I just can't. My kids love it, I love it, the food is good, it's cheap, my wife loves the fresh herbs, my chubby body likes the exercise, whats not to like? And even the failed parts of it, like dead plants are lessons for next year. Really no downsides at all.

So, tell Monsanto to eat crap and die. Grow some food today!

Previous posts in this series: Introduction, Step#1: Quit Pimpin', Step#2: Homeschooling, Step#3: Brewing Beer, Step#4: Question Technology.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Catholics are knaves or fools I guess

1: foolish behavior

2: a foolish act or idea

a : rascality b : a roguish or mischievous act

2obsolete : roguish mischief

As Mike Liccione has said, Reformed people will generally attribute someones lack of belief in the Reformed system to either foolishness or knavery (my summation), with no third option. Wow is this true. The event horizon of online Christianity (where the worlds of Reformed and Catholic meet) has exploded recently with the defection of a bright young PCA pastor named Jason Stellman. Jason anounced he will be stepping down from his pastorate because he no longer can affirm the Westminster Confession on the points of sola scriptura and sola fide. If you want to see Christian love (NOT) peek into the comments bellow his post to see how the Reformed treat a defector.
Anyway, this along with many other defections to Catholicism (Jason hasnt said where he will land yet) in recent years of pastors and seminarians led Michael Horton to write an article wondering why they are defecting.
First thing I found funny... he mentions a Called to Communion article, but not by naming the site or the article and without linking to it. To me that signals that he percieves himself on the defensive. Why is he so afraid to reference what he is talking about if he is interested in the truth?
As for my commentary on Horton's post, let me just say it is a joke. He starts out by saying he wonders why they are defecting, but nowhere actually gives the reasons the people themselves give for their defections!!! This Twilight Zone-like weirdness is compounded by the fact that he then... makes up his own reasons... for why they convert! He gives a mini-conversion story of his own journey from Evangellyfishicalism to Reformed faith, sounding reasonable and measured throughout, then when he makes it to the point where the Catholic convert might depart ways with his story and breach the event horizon, he throws up his hands and pretends it is just a utter mystery why they went to Rome, and then hazzards a guess that they were just looking for Utopia in the Reformed world and didnt find it, so on with the quest. How patronizing! It is as if upon conversion they become charged particles shot into another dimension, where their motives and reasoning become matters for wild eyed physicists, but really can just never be known by the likes of you, me, and Horton. Here's a tip Mr. Horton: instead of attributing the motives of foolishness and knavery to converts, perhaps take them at their word that they actually have come to see sola s. and/or sola f. as unworkable/unbiblical, and at least quote their supposed reasoning. Until you decide to treat people with that respect, I have to conclude your post as mere damage-control/propaganda to prevent more defections at any cost. Even at the cost of the truth.

And listen to this from "TurretinFan" down in the comments of the post. (btw, according to TFan, I am not "satisfied with Christ", that is why I decided to leave Christ for "Rome's gospel"). Listen to how one Reformed guy will peck the speck of blood on the other guys head like chickens when even the slightest deviation from the "Rome is Satan" mantra is percieved:

Dr. Horton,

Some of us are a little disappointed that you did not cast the matter primarily in terms of gospel and Scripture, but in terms of ecclesiology.

I assume you still agree that Rome’s gospel is a false gospel.

If so, then surely on a Scriptural basis the fundamental reason why men – even men educated in your seminary – leave the gospel for a false gospel is a lack of love for the truth, because of an absence of the work of the Holy Spirit in their heart.

Maybe this is so obvious you didn’t think it needs to be stated, but there are many out there who don’t seem to grasp the seriousness of leaving the visible church for Rome.

Like Mike says, to them we are knaves or fools. Knaves or fools. No middle ground for discussion. For TFan and his buds, if you do not believe in imputation exacly like he does, you are pure evil.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Heads I win, Tails you lose.

So let me get this straight:

Reformed conversion story = helpful retelling of true events.
Catholic conversion story = Manipulation.

Go West, it is peaceful there. The city set on a hill awaits! [Warning, manipulation in progress]

In an article entitled CTC Conversion stories, Reformed apologist James Swan criticizes the conversion stories on the website Called to Communion, which is a Catholic website devoted to dialogue between Catholic and Reformed Chrsitians.
(Full disclosure: This website is the reason I am Catholic. Not the only reason of course, but without it, I would not have converted. It is to me what tolle lege was to Saint Augustine. It is a very successful website in achieving its goal of bringing unity to Christians. James Swan critiqued my letter explaining my family's conversion to my PCA congregation. I found the critique something like a year later by chance, which makes me think I wasnt really his intended audience.)
What I find weird is that Mr. Swan seems to view the same activity of... telling a story... as either helpful or manipulating depending on -not the way its told or the content- but on whether he agrees with what the character in the story did. It seems to me that according to Mr. Swan, if I were to recount the religious conversions in my life, that my describing becoming pentecostal would be manipulative on my part, describing my conversion to the Reformed faith was not manipulative, then describing conversion to Catholicism would, again, be obvious manipulation on my part. Isn't this the definition of Ad Hominem argumentation? Here is an excerpt from his post with my [comments in red]:

The story relates more than facts to be scrutinized for truth. It places you and the facts in the realm of emotion. [Nothing wrong with that right?] Perhaps the particular experience described also strikes a cord in your own experience. For Mr. Lim's story, did any of his questions about epistemology resonate within you? For instance, can you, my Reformed friend, recall when you were in your non-Reformed church [Yes, I can.] like Mr. Lim and came across "an anti-intellectual ethos, and the study of too much theology, which was often held in contrast to the Bible, was sometimes frowned upon"? I sure can. [So can I!] Can you, like Mr. Lim, recall coming into contact with deep Reformed systematic theology like Calvin, Berkhof and Bavinck for the first time? I sure can. [Again, me too! So far so good. No manipulation here, just a normal experience we all relate too.] Then, having such deep theological tomes at your fingertips, have you ever wondered why, as Mr. Lim recounts, "Luther felt that it was necessary to separate from the Catholic Church, Zwingli from Luther, the Anabaptists from the Magisterial Reformed, the Calvinists from Arminians, and on and on- all on the conviction that I have the correct interpretation of Scripture"? [Yes! I know what he means! I relate to Mr. Lim here. Still no manipulation right?] If you've scratched your head "yes" then the story is probably manipulating you. [Huh? So when the dice roll for the Reformed they are fair, but when they don't they must be loaded?]  These sorts of recollections of experiences are attempting to provoke you to question the validity of your own experience. [What is wrong with this? This is how I came to faith in Christ, and later, this is how I came to be Reformed. Part of it was people telling me stories that made me question my experiences. "Maybe those things I have done are really sins after all?" "Maybe I was wrong to think otherwise?" "Maybe I need a saviour after all?" "Perhaps that gnawing feeling in my heart is my yearning for a saviour!" These are all questions we want people to ask themselves... to challenge the validity of their own experience! I guess not James Swan though.] The more times you can empathize with a CTC story, the more you're being manipulated. [So the more times I empathize with a parable of Jesus am I being manipulated too? Or can a story be a way to help us relate to the truth?] If you haven't had the same experience as that being presented, why not? Is it because your experience wasn't as real as the account in front of you? Don't you want something real?
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar Mr. Swan. People like conversion stories. And yes, being able to relate to someones thinking through a true life story of their experience is a great way to communicate. Is this really news? Think of the parable of the Good Samaritan. This story does exactly what you criticize! In this story we find Jesus is "attempting to provoke you to question the validity of your own experience." Jesus uses a story to make us think about the question of "who is our neighbor". It is a very effective story! Was Jesus being "manipulative"? Is it true that "The more times you can empathize with [the Good Samaritan] story, the more you're being manipulated"?

If Reformed theology is true, James Swan has absolutly nothing to fear from these conversion stories. Nobody is going to convert to Catholicism because they are jealous of someones story. Have a bit of respect for peoples intelligence. Instead of accusing people at CTC of manipulation perhaps give them the benefit of the doubt that they are trying to help people. If, I repeat IF they are trying to help people... then they are not manipulating people. They might be wrong, and the pope might be the antichrist, but it ain't manipulation. Likewise I don't think your boss James White is being manipulative when he asks Catholics to question their beliefs about salvation or the Church. I know he does these things out of a love for the truth.
Why does Mr. Swan have to resort to ad hominems though? Well if I wanted to throw one out there myself and try to get into his head like he seems to want to get into others heads... I would say he is secretly intrigued by these stories. Perhaps a bit insecure about his theology. Perhaps he wakes up at night in a cold sweat with the smell of incense in his nostrils and Gregorian chant in his ears... pope Benedict XVI beckoning him with that humble smile he has... holding out the Eucharist. Or perhaps that little story was trying to get too much into James' head and a bit over the line.

Mr. Swan says:
"This isn't simply taking the allegedly simple rudiments of Reformed theology and sprinkling them with magic Roman dust so as to watch it flourish into a full faith."

Uhm. We use holy water for that dude. It's called a sacramental. And it isnt magic, but it does prepare the recipient to recieve grace, which is pretty cool.

Yet another update:
Mr. Swan says:
"I'm tempted to launch into the story of Athanasius as he stood alone against the church of his day."
Correction: It was Athanasius AND the pope. Don't forget Peter! Of course Jesus promised that the pope would never err, so it follows that he would be with Athanasius contra mundum.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Protestant Superstition

God coming to earth bodily
 G.K. Chesterton writes,
“All these are possible as general views of life; and there is a [fifth] that is at least equally possible, though certainly more positive. The whole point of this last might be expressed in the line of M. Cammaerts’s beautiful little poem about bluebells; le ciel est tombĂ© par terre. Heaven has descended into the world of matter; the supreme spiritual power is now operating by the machinery of matter, dealing miraculously with the bodies and the souls of men. It blesses the five senses; as the senses of the baby are blessed at a Catholic christening. It blesses even material gifts and keepsakes, as with relics or rosaries. It works through water or oil or bread or wine. Now that sort of mystical materialism may please or displease the Dean, or anybody else. But I cannot for the life of me understand why the Dean, or anybody else, does not see that the Incarnation is as much a part of that idea as the Mass; and that the Mass is as much a part of that idea as the Incarnation.

“A Puritan may think it blasphemous that God should become a wafer. A Moslem thinks it is blasphemous that God should become a workman in Galilee. And he is perfectly right, from his point of view; and given his primary principle. But if the Moslem has a principle, the Protestant has only a prejudice. That is, he has only a fragment; a relic; a superstition “If it be profane that the miraculous should descend to the plane of matter, then certainly Catholicism is profane; and Protestantism is profane; and Christianity is profane. Of all human creeds or concepts, in that sense, Christianity is the most utterly profane. But why a man should accept a Creator who was a carpenter, and then worry about holy water, why he should accept a local Protestant tradition that God was born in some particular place mentioned in the Bible, merely because the Bible had been left lying about in England, and then say it is incredible that a blessing should linger on the bones of a saint: why he should accept the first and most stupendous part of the story of Heaven on Earth, and then furiously deny a few small but obvious deductions from it—that is a thing I do not understand; I never could understand. I have come to the conclusion that I shall never understand. I can only attribute it to Superstition.”
Any Catholic who tries to defend his Catholicism for more than a minute has run into this in a hundred forms: Pick a doctrine that is shared by Catholics and Protestants out of a hat... say, the Trinity or the incarnation. And compare it with one we disagree on like... say, the Eucharist and mass. How in the world could they get up in arms about the latter and sit quietly by happily defending the former.
Take the Trinity. It's a crazy doctrine! Last Sunday was Trinity Sunday and I was sitting on my porch smoking my pipe after mass and asking my kids to explain it to me. They mostly could, but I couldn't blame them for not understanding it. I don't understand it myself. Three persons in one God? Eh? How is that again? Oh and the incarnation. The uncreated God who is being in himself becomes part of creation? Huh? Don't get me wrong, I believe these mysteries with my whole heart. They are beautiful. But, with Chesterton, I cant help be perplexed when incarnation-Trinity-believing Protestants get up in arms about bread becoming the Body of Christ! (next Sunday is the feast of Corpus Christi btw)

What is harder to believe?-
A. Uncreated God takes on human flesh.
B. A piece of bread becomes that same flesh.
Hmm. Both are pretty mind blowing to think about. But to get up in arms about B while affirming A as quite reasonable -as Protestants do- is just baffling. It is Superstition.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Farm real estate values by distance to populations centers

While looking for info about the cost of farmland, I came across two interesting facts.

1. It is widely believed that there is a "bubble" in the price of farmland right now similar to the housing market a few years back. I find that interesting, and I hope it is true. And I hope a lot of corporations lose their shirts in it and get out of the farming business when the bubble pops.

2. The cost of land goes down as you get further from a populated area (duh... no surprise there right?) but -and here is the fact that surprised me and has me scratching my head- it mostly doesn't matter what size the city is that you go out from.

Here is a tidy graph to explain it:

There is a big difference between 5,000 and 500,000 people! but apparently when it comes to farmland a city is a city is a city. Hogwash. There are lots of things I can think of that it is nice to be near a metro area for (all else being equal). 50 miles from the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area is the boonies. But I could drive 50 miles once in a while to do the 1,000 different things that are only in a metro area. This is why I am surprised by these numbers. I would have though that a farm 50 minutes away from a big city is more valuable than one which is 90 minutes. But it ain't.