Ethics Daily Articles 2002

The Re-industrialization of Rural America : Even while the small textile and electronics plants of rural America have been closing, modern agriculture has become increasingly industrialized. Traditionally, family farms produced a healthy assortment of row crops, forage and livestock.

Bivocational Pastors Making a Difference in Rural America : Most of the row crops have been planted. The first cutting of hay has been made. The wheat harvest is moving well to the north across the Great Plains. Cultivation is underway elsewhere. Gardens are providing fresh vegetables. Rural America is green and beautiful.

Migrant Workers Impact Small Towns : On May 5, the small town of Aliceville, Ala., will add another event to its community calendar—a Cinco de Mayo celebration. The fun begins at noon with a soccer tournament, followed by a worship service and then a traditional Hispanic meal.

Environmental Concerns in Rural Communities:The Great Plains “Dust Bowl” of the mid-1930s provided a wake-up call for farmers, ranchers and the federal government. The topsoil was being blown off the plains, leaving sterile hardpan behind. Natural resource conservation was added to the agenda of the Department of Agriculture.

Churches Minister to Rural Schools : Traffic patterns, even on country roads, have changed in the past few days. Children gather at bus stops waiting to be picked up and carried off to school. Consequently, one may need to stop his car behind the big yellow bus and observe a gaggle of children getting onto or off of the bus.

Rural Values, Christian Values : Politicians and media preachers speak fondly of our “American values” today. Robert Bellah’s best-seller of a few years ago, Habits of the Heart, provides a detailed study of competition between values of individualism and of commitment to the larger group in our national experience. Bellah suggests that individualism’s victory threatens our American social fabric.

Congregational Study Yields Baptist Figures : Findings of the Religious Congregations Membership Study (RCMS) have recently been made public. About 140 denominational families cooperated in gathering information about congregations across the United States in 2000.

Columnist Tours Farming and Logging Operations : The most helpful “continuing education” experience for me these past five years as a rural minister has been the annual Country and City Tour Day. Something like it is provided by the Cooperative Extension in many rural counties across our nation. It has helped me better understand the everyday life of the people served by our churches.

Christmas for a Rural Church : Few, if any, rural churches will celebrate the season with “living Christmas tree” choral presentations complete with an orchestra. Few will have massive nativity pageants with casts of hundreds. Few will contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars to support overseas missions. But they will all celebrate Christmas in ways that are appropriate for themselves.

Comments are closed.