Thursday, February 05, 2009

Small town pastors: the second post

Forget Mitford.

Forget Lake Woebegone.

Instead, think Children of the Corn.

Much as it pains me to say it, small towns are not quaint; neither are they are filled with simple, godly people whose homespun wisdom will see you through the hard times (and make you glad you turned down that call to Big Sur).

No, satellite TV has brought big-city ways to even the smallest village. Meth has brought big-city crime. And changes in logging, fishing, mining, ranching, and farming have made some rural areas even more poor than the worst big-city slum.

Still, there are good reasons to pastor in small towns. I've already mentioned the way it teaches you to deal with a variety of problems. Now I'd like to mention:

Advantage #2: You learn to deal with a variety of people.
I grew up in a middle-class suburb on the West Coast. I went to a college to where most of the students grew up in middle-class suburbs on the West Coast. And if I'd gone from there to pastor churches in the middle-class suburbs of the West Coast, then I would have fit right in . . .

But I would have spent the rest of my life with a kind of "situational Asberger's," i.e. I'd know how to deal with middle-class yada yada yada -- but nothing else.

Instead, I pastored churches where "environmentalist" was a swear-word, and latte the girl who married Sven. Often, the members and I had nothing in common -- not education, not politics, not music -- no, nothing except our faith (and often precious little of that).

So yes, I've had to work with people who don't share my views.

In fact, I've even had to pray with these people -- people who were way outside my comfort zone.

But I'm not entirely sure that's a bad thing.

Not for them.

And maybe not even for me.

Sunday: Advantage #3

1 comment:

richies said...

Looking forward to reason #3

An Arkies Musings