Composting physically and spiritually

Photo by Edward Howell from Photo by Edward Howell from

Transformation and growth follow us and may happen even if we don’t feel ready. In this issue, our editorial team has made a special effort to offer space to various perspectives before the special delegate session of Mennonite Church USA on May 27-30. 

As readers, I’m sure we all will feel drawn more to one perspective than another. I hope we can practice empathy, as some perspectives might be challenging, yet they represent a lived experience within our faith family. 

As delegates plan and discern, we are prayerful that the Holy Spirit may guide each one.

In my previous work at Mennonite Mission Network, a friend and colleague, Sharon Norton, introduced to me the idea of spiritual composting. The practice combines actual composting — saving biodegradable scraps to be transformed into soil fertilizer — and the spiritual act of giving to God the scraps of our lives, in faith that they, too, may be transformed. 

Every time I put a potato peel in my compost bucket, I try to take a moment and think about something I have been disappointed by or anxious about — something out of my control. I name that and give it to God as I put that food scrap into the bucket. 

It makes me think of 2 Corinthians 5:17: “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”

Spiritual composting is an act of faith that even in my shortfalls and disappointments — all the things I don’t want and didn’t deserve — God has the power to make things new and to use difficult experiences to create insight, growth and strength. 

What I love about this practice is that it’s so tactile and represents our life experience so well. Compost is stinky. The scraps we offer for transformation are not beautiful. It takes time to change them into fine compost for growth. 

As those of us in North America enjoy warmer weather and get more active in our gardens and soil, I encourage you to try spiritual composting. I’ve found it to be a profound experience. It is on my mind not only because of springtime but because in our faith communities and world we will continue to experience moments of discomfort. In Christ we have faith that even our pain can be transformed. 

Danielle Klotz

Danielle Klotz is executive director of Anabaptist World. She lives in Goshen Indiana with her partner Nata and their sons Read More

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