Vignettes from the road: Church and religion

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 “The Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” off I40 in Texas;    190 feet tall 

The Pacific Northwest where I have lived is not a highly churched area. The difference between Seattle and cities in the South and Midwest is marked as we travel. Gigantic crosses can be seen from the interstate. Some campground offices are closed on Sunday mornings for church; one we visited held services in its community room. Interstate truck stop “stores” offer religious inspirational cards and books.

Depending on the state and county, alcohol is not sold on Sundays or sold only after 11am or only beer can be bought. Billboards ask if you believe in God and announce “Jesus is coming soon” “Hell is real” and “God expects spiritual fruit not religious nuts.”  The main newspaper in Oklahoma has a daily prayer at the bottom of the front page along with the weather forecast. It has a whole section dedicated to “The Spiritual Life.” Our newest neighbors in the campground are from Tennessee. The license plate on the front of their truck says, “Jesus, the heartbeat of the world.”

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I learned yesterday that there is a Trail of Faith in Indiana. It’s a historic church trail featuring 19 churches over 100 years old. I’d like to visit it someday.

Religion in these areas is a visible part of the fabric of life. Religion can be invisible and still be powerful. Religion can also be dangerous. The etymology of religion lies with the Latin word religare, which means “to tie, to bind.”

The most important question is to what do you bind yourself on a daily basis that creates your religion? Being on the road gives me lots of time to ponder that question.

 

Post by Diane

 

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