I grew up in the ‘metropolis’ of Cable Wisconsin with a population of about 280. Highway 63 travels through Cable, and rush hour was from 7:45 am to 7:47 am, and returned from 4:58 pm to 5:02 pm. Traffic jams was only urban legend warning us of the EVIL big city.
I now live in Coon Rapids, a suburb of Minneapolis Minnesota. (the big city) and for years have experienced real rush hour traffic. I know first hand about traffic jams, busy streets, road construction, and the skyline of downtown Minneapolis is just a few miles away and is filled with impressive tall buildings. The skyline of downtown Cable is.. trees. This is my skyline of choice.
In Cable the night is quiet, the few stores in town close down by early evening, with only maybe an occasional car can be heard in the distance going down highway 63, and the sky is filled with stars. I live in a quiet neighborhood in Coon Rapids, but the busyness of the city is never too far away, and the city lights make the stars in the sky appear dim. I love it here, BUT I do miss my hometown.
So the moral of the story.. You can take the BOY out of the small town, but you can't take the small town out of the BOY.
So in honor of small towns .. let me share a tribute to.. Small Towns and Rednecks.
Small Towns ..where we might not be like dem city churches with a la-ti-da pipe organ. and GEE-TARS, but we gots us a BANJO! We are God fearin' people who Pray real good, and though we might not dress in any fancy suits we are lookin plenty spiffy in our own way, and have set high standards regarding our men wearing HATS while makin' exceptions in Wisconsin where Women can wear 'hats' like the FELLAS every fall.
But don't you worry yer little ol self none.. our pastor may be preachin from behind a Freight Crate Pulpit, where you hear sermons with practical life object lessons on DUCT TAPE. And.. every service ends we are sent out into 'the woods'? with the Red Neck Great Commission GIT-R-DUN!
But like all churches we did have a split a few years back over theology. No it has nuttin to do wit' baptism (once the ice is off the lakes we baptize everything but cats), or raisin yer hands, or speakin in tongues (couple fellers know pig latin). We don't care if U-R-A Calvinist, or even a Viking fan... but we don't handle Snakes.
So come join the country folk worshiping the same God as the city folk. One body, many parts. One family, many cuzin's. One church.. some from the city and some in the woods.. but the important point to make is - If yer KIN Yer In!
Well that is all for today. I am sure my whole website has a small town flavor and not just the toons I listed above. Small Town is a very good thing.
Have a great day, blessed by God in great ways.
note: In reality my home church is nothing like the redneck toons above. It definitely has a small town flavor, but it is a great church where the word of God is preached and is the place where I gave my heart to the Lord when I was 6 years old... and so small towns (specifically Cable Wisconsin) will always be special to me.
Praise God for small town churches, and for His people.
Jeff (country boy at heart) Larson
I love Matthew 6: 5-15, where Jesus teaches how we should pray, and I return to it often to remind me how I could better pray.
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Those are the beautiful calm words of Jesus on prayer and the power of prayer. In contrast this world plows forward without purpose like an rusty old truck without a muffler, blowing it's horn, leaking motor oil while all ready being two quarts low. This world is distracting, and without prayer, without our Lord this life does not go well.
So this brings me to a lazy Saturday morning where I was discussing life with my wife while eating an egg with toast, and drinking my daily allotment of coffee. Mary is a school teacher anxiously preparing for school that starts next week. Also in our conversation Mary shared about a little baby boy born last week with some serious health unknowns. With this in mind and other issues in life we decided we should pray.
As I started to pray out loud, our dog Cooper sniffed over to Mary's breakfast plate she was holding and started licking it. Mary moved the plate across her body, but Cooper was happy to move too. So she then stacked it on the table out of reach. As we chuckled I continued to pray only to be drowned out by loud engine sounds like on a race track from not too far away. There are no race tracks near me but a classic car show was being held that day, and while a classic car show sounds like fun, it was distracting. We chuckled again, then Cooper heard a neighbors car, a chipmunk crossing our yard, and/or maybe a gathering of 'nefarious cat lovers' up to no good at the end of the block. No matter what it was he ran to the door barking. We chuckled again, calmed our dog, and continued to pray.. finally my wife inserted. AMEN.
It was funny, but we did persevere though if there was an angel nearby my wife and I could have been pulled over and ticketed for 'Praying while Distracted'. Sorta like distracted driving for our prayer lives.
Now while this distracted prayer did not fit nicely into the Lord's teachings in Matthew 6 I know this sometimes is how our prayers look. I confess too often my prayers are fit into my day without setting aside a time to be QUIET. Yes this world's dogs may bark, the engines roar, there is 24/7 entertainment and news available to us on our literal fingertips via our smartphones, TV, and the internet calling for our attention, but I know I should do a better job of being quiet, and pursuing God in this quiet.
Again read.. Mt 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
I am not at all saying, those quick prayers, and impromptu conversations with God are wrong. I am simply wanting to encourage us to seek our Lord in the quiet without distractions using Matthew 6 as our model. Let the dogs bark, phones rings, and the world rage all while finding God's people quietly pursuing to be obedient to the Lord, and not man.
May God bless each of you with a relationship with Him where your prayers become adoring conversations with our creator. May we seek and are blessed with the quiet alone times with our God knowing He hears our prayers.
Jeff (distracted in the Back Pew) Larson
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson