A couple of weeks ago, I happened to be in Barnsdall, Oklahoma. I had a little time to snap a few pictures. I love rural Oklahoma. One of the reasons I can tolerate Tulsa is that you only have to drive about fifteen, twenty miles in any given direction, and you're in rural Oklahoma. Shoot, there are neighborhoods in Tulsa where you wouldn't know that you weren't in rural Oklahoma if it weren't for the fact that you drive out of that neighborhood to go to work every day.
If the post seems a little unrelated to the blog's overall purpose--well, I don't know. It seems to me that it does, though perhaps not so much in a didactic sort of way.
You can get bigger images if you click on the pictures.
This is just a thoroughly bucolic scene on the way into Barnsdall. Gotta love the scenery.
Here's the Barnsdall police station. That's the ideal: things are supposed to be under sufficient control, due to a thoroughly Christianized population, that your lone police officer is bored to tears.
I like this. Every town ought to have some old artillery pieces, or an old tank, or something of the like. It's a good way to remember and honor those who've given their lives for their country.
I love this building. Only God knows how old it is. I just love the appearance, the stonework. There are old buildings like this all over the state, and I love them all.
This is about how I eventually want my own Bronco II to look. Gotta love the somewhat simple and easy-to-maintain coloring, and the cow-catcher up front. I would probably add a winch up front; not that I've ever actually needed a winch,mind you, but it's one of those things that seems to find a need once you get one.
I'm not really a vehicle snob. I will, if driven by economic necessity, drive almost anything. But given my druthers, I'd much rather drive an old four-wheel-drive or pickup truck than anything else. And truth to tell, I'm not sure I really understand how anyone in Oklahoma gets along with anything else. It almost seems unnatural to me to see Oklahomans in things like a Prius. And God forbid you should see one in a "smart car." It's weird, know what I mean?
I have only passed this place--it's Victory Baptist
--two or three times, but everytime I do, it provokes the wildest ideas in my head. I don't know what it is about the place. I wrote about it once before. As best I can recall, it was that a whole flood of images came into my mind. I pictured it as a church where, on Sunday mornings, the Gospel was preached, the text of Scripture was expounded, and Christ exalted. Then there'd be a potluck lunch, and maybe a softball game, or maybe some indoor games (chess or go, anyone?). Then everyone'd go home for a nap, and come back at night for more preaching, teaching, and prayer, maybe followed by some sandwiches.
Monday night'd be visitation. Not like most churches, where "visitation" means visiting people who should've been removed from the rolls years before, or visiting people that brought their kids to the "Fall Festival" five years in a row, but visiting, first, the members who couldn't be at church due to illness or frailty, those who are having a hard time in one way or another, and then just going door-to-door, asking people how we could pray for them, and sharing the Gospel where the Lord opens the door.
Tuesday nights, the karate club'd meet. I picture an energetic, sweaty class, where the emphasis is on health and self-defense, not fighting, not aggression, with maybe just enough free-sparring thrown in to satisfy those that want to compete in an occasional tournament.
Maybe some other clubs'd meet, too--whatever people were interested in. Maybe Praisemoves for some.
Wednesday nights'd be for discipleship training. Classes on all sorts of stuff, from in-depth study of various books of the Bible, to home economics (we all need to know how to stretch a dollar, folks), to New Testament Greek. Maybe a homeschooling support group (Everyone'd be homeschooling, of course). Classes'd be preceded by a potluck meal and followed by a prayer session.
Thursdays, the karate club and Praisemoves'd meet again.
Fridays and Saturdays, you'd have "off," so to speak. You gotta cut the grass sometime, y'know?
If that sounds like I'd like pretty much my entire social life to revolve around the church, like I'd like to spend my time around God's people, especially when they share some of my other interests, like I'd prefer them to all others in the world, well--
Yeah. You just about got it. I think that's the way church oughta be. That's what, in part, I'm working on for the future. I may die before I see it fully realized. But that's the direction I'm headed.
I don't know why Victory--I'm not really sure whether it's considered to be in Prue or Barnsdall, or somewhere in between--puts these images in my head. But man, the place is gorgeous, and gorgeously countrified. I think it used to be a school once, a long time ago. I just have these mental images of classroom after classroom, all just begging to be used by someone in the church.
In Barnsdall, proper, we have First Christian. Gorgeous little building. Many times I think the ideal is to have a little church like this in every neighborhood, with the social life of the whole neighborhood revolving around it. I'm about half-convinced that when we got to the point where you had to drive to church instead of walk (or ride your horse), it allowed us to be too darn selective about who we'd associate with.
You see, it doesn't take long to figure out that I'm never, ever going to find the ideal church, the way I've described my "visions of Victory" above. No one ever will find the "ideal" church. The church, the ekklesia, has people of all stripes in it, people with widely disparate interests, whose only common interest, quite often, is the work and person of Jesus Christ. And we're supposed to love one another in spite of those differences. The one huge thing we have in common is supposed to be of such moment that all our differences don't prevent us from loving to spend time around one another. Being able to drive--I've run across people that drive thirty or more miles to church, folks--well, it seems to me that it makes it easier to ignore the people who are right around us, in favor of people that we find it easier to love. Is that really the way Christian brotherhood is supposed to work?