We talk a fair amount about Wheat and Tares, but sometimes we need to talk about beans and wheat. I’m sharing a guest post on the topic of monoculture wheat (“Monocots”), standing in rows and tangled beans (“Dicots”), growing and giving back at the same time.

Here is the guest post by Amateur Parent:

I read a lot of comments and essays about dichotomous or two-sided thoughts. In religion, sometimes, we feel unease for having seen two sides of a situation when so many around us seem satisfied with a singular or Monocot view.

Dicot and Monocot started out as agronomy terms. A Dicot is any plant that comes from a seed that has two halves … Like a bean. Monocots are plants that come from a seed that does not split and has only one part. Wheat is an excellent example of a Monocot.

Church culture would like us all to be wheat plants — wheat grows from a small  seed that never splits in half, wheat grows straight up, and has lots of side stems. Wheat plants produce wheat just as expected. Wheat has been bred to have a shorter and thicker stem. Modern wheat varieties don’t get knocked down as easily by poor weather, and more plant energy can go onto increasing wheat kernel size. Modern plants are all about uniformity and easy harvesting.  Because of the shorter stem, when wheat is planted tightly together, a field is stronger against the elements than individual plants are alone.

No matter how you cultivate a bean plant, the seed is going to split. It is not going to grow straight.  A bean plant will twist and turn in order to find its best situation. Some varieties like to climb and some have more of a bush shape.  Beans have lots of leaves and the pods can be a little hard to find. A field of beans lacks the majestic uniformity of a wheat field.

But ..

Remember in the midst of your dichotomous thinking, that a single bean plant ends up producing much more than a single wheat plant. A uniform wheat field is majestic to look at from afar, but the beans will produce more per acre and their roots bind nitrogen which improves the soil.  Beans give back far more than wheat.

Planting beans will enrich the soil so that future wheat grows better. Monoculture planting practices — when a field is just one type of plant — facilities harvesting and makes it easy to find any plants that do not belong in the crop.  Monoculture also reduces the micro nutrients found in the final harvest.

Mixing plants within a field is healthier for the land and for the long term health of the plant species but it makes harvesting very time consuming. It also makes a higher quality crop. The extra work makes it easy to resist what is really a better practice and a healthier one.

We have all heard so many church analogies about wheat fields and none about bean fields. Remember that wheat fields fail after a few generations of monoculture unless heavily fertilized and cared for, or alternated with crops that improve the soil. While wheat plants tend to support each other, they also tend to lay over or fall over in large swaths whenever a significant wind blows and or rain falls hard.  Their strength is also their weakness.

All plants grow with sunlight, and water. They all grow heavenward, just like people.

I always wanted to be a wheat plant out there with my peers, but I am a bean.

Do  you think we need to make room for beans as well as wheat?  If asked, what kind of crop do you see yourself as?  How do we get people to take the extra effort to accommodate a mixed field and not treat beans as tares?