Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Farm News Gospel

FARM NEWS GOSPEL. I read this passage in the Gospel -- the parable where the sower cast seeds upon the rocks and among the thistles and thorns and also on fair ground.

Well, duh, he was a pretty useless sower. I mean, why did the guy throw seeds on the rocks, didn't he know? And the thorns and thistles, it sure was dumb to throw any seeds in there.

The lesson from this parable is get a smarter sower. Here is the text in the King James Version:

Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the birds of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, some an hundred. He said unto them, He that has ears to hear, let him hear.

— Mark 4:3-9

Bobby and Dixie Mutz talk about their son, Mitchel, a soldier who died in Iraq in 2006

I wrote this story in 2006. I went to interview the parents a few days after their son died in combat in Iraq. I had not met Bobby and Dixie Mutz until the day I knocked on their door for the interview. However, the Mutzes knew and trusted the newspaper I represented, the Wilson County News, and they agreed to give an interview so that local people who did not know Mitchel Mutz personally might learn the story of his life.

It was a difficult interview, as you can imagine. It was important that I become as still as possible and let the Mutzes talk in the way they chose to talk about their son. I also interviewed several people in the very small town of Falls City, where the Mutzes lived.

So I am running this story today because I promised the Mutzes that I would not forget their son. He was a good and brave man who gave his life for his country.

--from the Wilson County News--

FALLS CITY, TEXAS — The last time Sgt. Mitchel Mutz
called home was Oct. 21, the day his brother, Nathan
was married.
“He called us at the reception,” his father, Bobby,
said. “I heard the cell phone ring in my pocket and I
knew it was him.”
Mitchel had stayed up 24 hours straight in order to
make that phone call at the right time, speaking in turn
to Bobby, Dixie, Nathan, and Nathan’s new wife,
“It was the last time I heard his voice,” his mother,
Dixie, said. “He told me he loved me.”
Mitchel sent several e-mails after that, short notes
that said not to worry, but on Nov. 10 he sent a long email
to his brother, Nathan.
The e-mail to his brother described a more dangerous
situation at his new location in Baqubah, asking
Nathan not to share that information with his parents.
Mitchel’s foreboding came to pass Nov. 15 when a
roadside bomb exploded near the Humvee that he and
Sgt. Schuyler Haines, his platoon leader, occupied.
It was not surprising to Mitchel’s parents that he
spent his last moments with a man he admired.
“Mitchel and Sgt. Haynes were pretty tight,” Bobby
said. “Sgt. Haynes was 40, older than the other guys.
He didn’t have kids, but he was like a father to some of
his soldiers.”
Haynes was from New York City. He was buried in
a military cemetery in Albany, New York.
“We’ve spoken to his family several times on the
phone,” Dixie said, indicating a mutual understanding.
Mitchel was a scout in the First Cavalry Division,
based in Fort Hood.
He served in that role during campaigns in Najaf
and Falluja, and it was a dangerous assignment, occupying
advance positions and scoping out the terrain for
troops that would come later in force.
“That’s what he wanted to do,” Bobby said. “That’s
the kind of kid he always was. He wasn’t one to complain.
He never regretted joining the Army.”
When Mitchel was sent back to Iraq this summer for
his second tour, he told his father he was getting bored
at Fort Hood and he was ready to go again.
Kim Moy, his fourth and fifth grade teacher in Falls
City, remembered a much younger Mitchel Mutz. “He
was a very sweet boy,” Moy said. “He had such good
“He came to school every day with a pack of his
friends from the neighborhood, and you couldn’t get
them apart,” she said. “Sometimes they would have
furious arguments, but they were all basically pretty
good kids.”
Mitchel’s boyhood home, where his parents still
live, is only two blocks from the school.
Bobby and Dixie said it was just like what the
teacher said, “Those boys were together morning,
noon, and night, playing football in the street,” Bobby
said. “There were four or five boys and one girl, and
that one girl played just like the boys did.”
Sometimes they went fishing at a tank just past the
end of the road or played other games, but the overall
image is one of rip-roaring, good-natured fun, and lessons
learned, and chores done, and other good things
about growing up in a small town in Texas, where
everybody knows you and you can’t get away with too
much, because everybody will find out.
That closeness is what made so many people in Falls
City sad about losing Mitchel.
“It was like it happened to my own child,” one
neighbor said. “I knew him since he was a baby.
Around here you do for someone else’s child just like
you do for your own.”
The town’s grief was palpable.
Mitchel’s “big” brother. Nathan, is four years older
than he was.
“They squabbled a lot when they were young,”
Bobby said. “Mitchel would irritate Nathan, but
Nathan would always stick up for Mitchel when that
was needed.”
As the two brothers grew older, they grew closer,
Dixie said, “but they were very different from each
Nathan went to Texas A&M and then became a
Texas state trooper, stationed in Floresville.
Mitchel loved the Aggies and always liked going up
to College Station when his brother was in school.
“That’s one of the things he talked about just recently,”
Bobby said. “He said when he got out of the Army,
he wanted to go to Texas A&M.”
Bobby encouraged his son to
continue his education and suggested
that he begin taking classes
online while he was still in the
The Mutzes had no more words
for a future that did not come to be.
“We’re holding up as best we
can,” Bobby said.
“We’re very grateful for the love
and support we’ve received from so
many people,” Dixie said. The
Mutzes have received cards and letters
from people all over the country,
expressing sympathy and gratitude.
“It’s been hard to bear, but that
makes it a little easier.”

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