Monday, September 28, 2009
Why National Parks are right with God
I grabbed the photo above from Black Hills Travel Blog. Please go visit there, by clicking here.
Years ago, when my teen-aged sister was having a crisis of faith because our babysitter/housekeeper had told us that we were going to go to Hell if we weren't baptized and confirmed in a church, she was tagging along with her friends to various churches.
And so on Sunday mornings, my mom would haul my sister to whatever church she was attending that week, and my dad would load me up and haul me to his church...Rapid Creek, shown above near Black Fox Campground. Back then it was just "the beaver dams."
Now, my father read the Bible nearly every day. And since his death, in 1981, his Bible has been on my nightstand and has become more tattered over the years. My father simply didn't have much use for religion. Oh, he was perfectly comfortable with God.
My father could flat deal with a shotgun. And, a spinning rod and reel were his slaves. But the 1 - 2 rhythm of a fly rod was among his greater challenges. And, with such a teacher, I would have to wait until my friend Don Polovich could teach it to me years later.
Yet, we would go to Rapid Creek with our fly rods armed with flies I had tied in my basement with the help of former Rapid City Realtor Bob Moore. And we would go often. And every time we went, my father would discuss the poor saps who found themselves henpecked enough to subject themselves to a lecture by a preacher with his hand out.
"Look up," he used to say. "That's God's cathedral." The seventh day is for rest, he used to tell me. And, there's nothing restful about a church pew and the sound of that money plate coming your way.
"It's easy to believe in God, isn't it Mike?" he'd ask. "Just look around you and tell me how you would make anything you see. This is God's gift."
So many of my conservative friends have told me that the National Park system is a waste of tax dollars. And, I think of my Dad, an extreme conservative, with his fly rod in his hand, slapping the water and rarely hooking a fish. And I think some of my conservative friends would sell this country's public lands – "God's Cathedral" – for the money they could make.
Another appeal to watch Ken Burns documentaries on our National Park system on PBS, nightly this week.
Posted by Michael Sanborn at 3:18 PM