Monday, October 3, 2016

Bitter Root Presbyterianism

"In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing."
Nope, these scenes aren't from Montana. They are from the other side of the Bitter Roots in Northern Idaho. -But the similarity got me thinking. I attend a small Presbyterian church in town and I enjoy it very much. This past week, the pastor discussed his start in the ministry while serving as a Yellowstone and Yosemite park ranger.
That reminded me of that classic movie "A River Runs Through It." Pastor Norman (no relation to Norman Maclean) is not nearly as stern as Rev. McClean in the movie but his sermons are just as great.

Here are some great quotes from A River Runs Through It. This first especially tickled me because I was raised a Baptist and most of my family still are very active in the Southern Baptist Church.

"The Burns family run a general store in a one store town and still managed to do badly. They were Methodists, a denomination my father referred to as Baptists who could read."

The world is full of bastards, the number increasing rapidly the further one gets from Missoula, Montana."

"Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise. Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters."

"My father was very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe. To him, all good things - trout as well as eternal salvation - came by grace; and grace comes by art; and art does not come easy."

"The Lord has blessed us all today. It's just he has been particularly good to me."

"Long ago, when I was a young man, my father said to me, "Norman, you like to write stories." And I said "Yes, I do." Then he said, "Someday, when you're ready you might tell our family story. Only then will you understand what happened and why."

"Each one of us here today will at one time in our lives look upon a loved one who is in need and ask the same question: We are willing to help, but what, if anything, is needed? For it is true we can seldom help those closest to us. Either we don't know what part of ourselves to give or, more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. And so it is that those we live with and should know who elude us. But we can still love them. - We can love them completely without complete understanding."