G.K Chesterton, Drunk Truckers, and a Couple of Churches

Traveler’s Tip #323 
If you find yourself in Montana, make it a point to visit Ovando, population 94. Such wonderful people! But, if you’re playing in the log church on the hill there, try not to continually say Or-vando. This is the west, and most people are armed. Thankfully, they’re too polite to shoot.
What a great Sunday in Ovando! Hope to come back and I promise not to add an R.
 
 
I drove through a tiny town in Idaho recently. A pretty place with a short main street, a scattering of houses, obligatory log tavern, a town library in a single-wide trailer—these are the places I love. At the end of Main Street there were two old churches, almost identical, right across the street from each other. So close they could have thrown open the stained glass and had a spitball fight. It brought to mind the old joke about the lone castaway on the desert island with his three huts—his house, his church, and the church he used to go to.
 
I wonder about us Christians sometimes and our churchianity chest thumping. We love our doctrine and—be it conservative or liberal or cautiously in between—we’re proud of it. We talk about it, teach it, arm-wrestle over it, write thick, important books about it so we can teach it some more…
 
The problem is you and I can have doctrine in common but if we don’t have Jesus in common we’re just wind banging a loose shutter against the house. We’re a general annoyance with nothing real to offer. I’m not just talking about the idea of Jesus—the historical, print Jesus—as wonderful and important as the Christ story is. I mean the reason-to-get-out-of-bed-in-the-morning Jesus. The one who gives us breath today. The one who walks with us and guides us on the minute-by-minute, second-by-second paths of our lives. The Love that rescues us from the storm and calls us friend. Doctrine without that Love exemplified as its foundation is nothing but a scattering of dead leaves. Worthless and forgettable.
 
I wonder which of those two churches Jesus would walk into? Both most likely. Because both would be filled with the beautiful and broken. And afterward He’d be down at the tavern chatting with G.K Chesterton and C.S. Lewis and other thinkers with initials for first names. He’d most certainly be hanging with the prostitute and the drunk trucker over in the corner by the Coors sign. He’d find me, and you, and offer us hope from our helpless posturing.
 
Oh the infinite love of Jesus! A bottomless ocean. A shoreless sea.
 
I guess if you need me I’ll be down at the tavern too. You know what? Maybe we could unload the guns, kick down the church walls, and all meet there. It’s easy to find. Just across the street from the hardware store. I’d love to ask C.S. a couple things. Who knows, maybe J.K Rowling and J.D. Salinger will show up. We could call the prostitute and the trucker over and watch the things of earth grow strangely dim in the light of God’s glory and grace. Let’s put the inescapable love of the resurrected Jesus in the middle of our lives and see where the conversation goes…
 
See you there. I for one could stand to learn a few things.
 
Fair winds,
Buck        

3 comments

  • Davalynn Spencer

    Davalynn Spencer Colorado

    You write real. How's that for a butchered sentence? But it's all I can say. When my flood pool in my heart begins to push at the banks, I know it's good writing.

    You write real. How's that for a butchered sentence? But it's all I can say. When my flood pool in my heart begins to push at the banks, I know it's good writing.

  • Bob Bennett

    Bob Bennett Behind the Orange Curtain, CA

    I _love_ keeping up with your writing ... it'll have to do until I can hang out with you in-person again, with guitars in our hands. With love, your pal Bob.

    I _love_ keeping up with your writing ... it'll have to do until I can hang out with you in-person again, with guitars in our hands. With love, your pal Bob.

  • Jennifer O'Connor

    Jennifer O'Connor Newport Beach, CA

    Really, really beautiful.

    Really, really beautiful.

Add comment