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Friday, Apr. 18, 2014

Looking Up

Posted Thursday, March 12, 2009, at 5:36 PM

I am in the "business" of religion. People have certain assumptions about me because of my being a pastor of a Christian based church. Friends of mine in Missouri tell me they can kill any party within fifteen minutes of arrival. He's a pastor, she's head of the Internal Revenue Service for the state. Conversations just stop, people walk away, ...

Greencastle is just large enough and just small enough for those in the "business" of religion. For my first two years as a new "foreigner" to this community I found that I could go nearly anywhere without being recognized. Now in my third year, no longer a foreigner but still waiting for the initiation to be over, I've lost my anonymity. This means I can pay by check because folks recognize my face. It also means that people will come up to me and want to discuss their problems even in places like a public Laundromat. Other pastors report that same two year factor. Sure, those who see your face on Sunday can now spot you in a crowd but the rest of the community will allow you to be faceless for a period of time. And then you become "the face of God."

One of the things I REALLY like about Greencastle is that most everyone is willing to accept the views and opinions of a wide variety of positions regarding the "business" of religion. That can be good and it can also be bad. I've lived in communities where the religious people prevented the sale of alcohol on Sunday. Some would say that's very good. I've also lived in communities where the religious people prevented restaurants from being open on Sunday. Most would say that's very bad, especially if you have to cook all the meals at your humble dwelling place.

Don't get me wrong. Greencastle has some strong religious components to it. And, I'm excited at how those components are expanding to include the positions of a wide variety of religious people. I've eaten with people who are Roman Catholic and others who are Church of Christ. I've eaten with people who are Buddhist and others who are Mormon. I've eaten with people who are practitioners of Native American spiritualities and I've eaten with others who are practicing Hindus. I've eaten with people who are Jewish and others who are Lutheran. Yes, all of these meals were in Greencastle at public restaurants. I like to eat out! And, what a great community this is when people can publically eat together, share ideas and opinions, and know that their views and opinions are being accepted. That doesn't mean that we always agree with each other! It does mean that you can be who you are without threat of harm or rebuke.

We all have assumptions we make about others, especially the people who seem like faceless foreigners. Greencastle is a great community in regards to there being a strong religious presence. And, Greencastle is even a greater community because we truly represent the American dream even in regards to religion. There are a variety of good people who are "the face of God" representing their "Truths" as understood by their faith community.

Let the sharing and discussions continue without fear of reprisal. And let there always be good restaurants in Greencastle!



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Sunshine for the Soul
Rev. P.T. Wilson
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P.T. Wilson is the senior pastor at Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church, Greencastle, and is also the University Chaplain at DePauw University.
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