Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter… ©

I grew up down in the “pocket” of Indiana, what I call The Mississippi of the North, where my father once belonged to the KKK, where the Wabash and Ohio rivers meet. That’s where I became a hillbilly liberal, because of Forsythe Methodist, the little country church I attended. They had a black evangelist come in to do a revival. They asked for a woman pastor when there were only two in the whole Conference. They thought it was great that this welfare kid came to church, and gave by far the biggest contribution to endow a seminary scholarship with my name on it.

They were just ignorant hillbillies, who believed with kindly militancy that the Gospel and the justice that “rolls down like a mighty stream” are for everyone.

There are a lot of flooding stories down there. In fact, even in Greene County, where I did most of my early preaching, while still a college student, in places with names like Solsberry and Koleen and Mineral and Walker’s Chapel and Greene County Chapel, I was told by folks in most of those churches, “If there is water over the road when you’re coming here, just turn around and go back.” [Of course, that may have been because they had heard me preach and prayed for rain.]

The creek had risen, and the waters were high, and the whole family had retreated to the rooftop. There they watched the waters roll by, not with justice, but with tree limbs and pigs and cows and flotsam jetsam of all sorts. Then they saw an old hat come down with the current. But when it got to the edge of their lot, it turned around and went back upstream, against the current. But when it got to the other end of their property, it turned around and started back again.

One of the boys exclaimed, “I remember now. Grandpa said he was going to mow the yard today come hell or high water, and there he is.”

Put your old hat on. The creek has risen, and it’s time for action.


I really will get around to that Pentecost follow-up column some day, and one about Mary Jensen’s DST song, too.

Some think the original phrase was, “The Lord willing and the Creek don’t rise,” meaning the Creek Indians. That does not fit my needs above, so it must be wrong.

Also, some think the original phrase was “Come hail or high water,” not “Hell or high water.” See the second sentence of the paragraph just above.

My youthful ambition was to be a journalist, and write a column for a newspaper. So I think of this blog as an online column. I started it several years ago, when we followed the grandchildren to the “place of winter,” Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula [The UP]. I put that in the sub-title, ”Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter, where life is defined by winter even in the summer!” [This phrase is explained in the post for March 20, 2014.] We no longer live in “the place of winter.” The grandchildren grew up, so in May, 2015 we moved “home,” to Bloomington, IN, where we met and married. It’s not a “place of winter,” but we are still in winter years of the life cycle, so I continue to work at understanding what it means to be a follower of Christ in winter…

I tweet as yooper1721.

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