Small Towns…. And Churches, Have Changed

When I moved into the small rural town that become my home twenty-one years ago, I was proud to proclaim that I was no longer a big-city guy. When I went back to church after a twenty-year absence I was proud to proclaim that I was part of a congregation once again. But then, everything sort of changed.

The last nail in rural/church life coffin happened in November 2016, when otherwise nice people chose an extreme narcissist wannabe dictator as their savior. For the life of me, I just couldn’t understand how that happened, and I still can’t fathom it.

Maybe, both of these idyllic states were all in my head. I had been living in apartments and subdivisions all my adult life and was ready for the change. I had never lived in one place more than seven years before I bought my rural homestead surrounded by trees, with the nearest neighbor a quarter of a mile away.

I had been looking for some meaning beyond myself but my question-everything, analytical mind just brought enough doubt that God was not the answer. Maybe, my small-town/church-driven life was all in my mind. It was a momentary lapse in judgement?

I thought I loved my church life, but that changed when I was told by my church pastor that I didn’t believe the “right” things. I was told if I wanted to stay a member I had to profess that the earth is only 6,000 years old, and that the vast majority of people on earth were doomed to an eternal agony in hell, no matter how good they might be. But, I kind of think the underlying reason for rejecting me was that I was asking too many questions in the Sunday Bible classes that were just too uncomfortable for him to answer. Then, when the big bad wolf kidnapped the highest office in the land by a whopping majority of my small-town church going citizens, everything seemed to have changed. There was nothing he could do to make them see him other than the way he saw himself.

The final straw was the stupidity of the anti-vaxxers all around me who defied any kind of logic to cause what should have been a short-term pandemic into something that is stretching into its third year now. Sanity just seemed to have evaporated in my small-town/church-going life. So, when my wife died last year, I couldn’t wait to get out of that now toxic environment. I am now living in a county that is about 20 miles away, but is almost the exact opposite of the one I spent twenty-one years in. I am happy here, but still have those pleasant memories of the past. Will those times ever come again, or has a person who says Russia’s Putin is his hero poisoned that lifestyle forever? Sadly, only time will tell, I guess? But, for me, it is sadly gone.

2 thoughts on “Small Towns…. And Churches, Have Changed

  1. I’ve been missing-in-action for a while, dealing with health issues. This is the first post I’ve read today. I’m glad I took time to go back. I was enamored with our small town when we moved here in 2007, but my alienation began sooner than yours. In 2009, our Democratic congressperson held a town hall. Or, tried to. Some of our beloved new friends joined with others in the Tea Party movement to shout him down each time he tried to answer a question, physically fighting Democratic attendees to force their way onto the stage, blocking our congressperson way when he left and otherwise displaying the behaviors that are so well known to us now but new to us then. One of our close group was depicted in national newspaper articles as escorted out of the gathering by local police because of his threatening behaviors. Later, he began producing reams of “proof” at our gatherings that there was no such thing as global warming. Our disenchantment with our small town had begun. It ended with my husband being told he could not continue to be friends with the other men unless he produced a several-page document describing all the horrible things Hillary Clinton had supposedly done. We sorted out who were true friends during that period. If we ever choose another small town, the first thing I’ll look for is one that has a university or junior college associated with it. Ours continues to fight the location of a satellite of a junior college here, as “not all kids should be going to college” and it will cost us money.

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    1. I hope you are feeling better, Linda. It so happens that the place I landed after the 21 year homestead, is a college town. Love it here, there are many things to do and not nearly as many of those tea party type folks. The two counties, although they share a common border are almost exact opposites. I just can’t understand what makes those folks act against their on best interests?

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