Today I want to finish up my thoughts about life and Church in Alaska.
5. In Alaska, You can lose touch with the world “Down Below.” Since life up here is so different and separate from life in the lower 48 (we affectionately call it “Down Below” or simply “Outside”) it is easy to lose touch with everything going on in the rest of America. I read local and state papers and they have only small sections about the US or World news. Just think of it the opposite way, how much do you know about what is going on in Alaska?
For Church – I touch on big issues in sermons but I focus more on local issues. I try to address Alaskan needs and viewpoints in my sermons. Most of the info and assumptions I brought from down below do not fit here. That has made preaching hard here at times since I don’t know the issues and that is why the most effective ministers have lived here a long time.
6. In Homer Alaska, My town has a Church everywhere. There are roughly 4,000-5,000 people who live here and we have at least 28 different Churches. There are 35 if you draw the circle a little wider. I totally expected a frontier life with rugged people and hard lives who had never heard the gospel. Instead I found a place where most people attend Church. It is a mixed blessing. It is great to have so many people of faith everywhere you turn. It is also very hard to do any kind of outreach to lost people. My analogy is this. Imagine 28 people are asked to pick 100 pieces of fruit and now imagine 28 people picking 1,000 pieces of fruit. The second group is likely to pick much more fruit per person based simply on the larger numbers. My theory about the number of Churches is this; since Homer is such a beautiful place to live every Church group had one person very willing to come and start a new Church here. As a result there are Churches everywhere.
There are numerous more conclusions I have drawn, but these are the big ones. If you have any questions I would be more than willing to answer them in the comment section or as an entirely different post. Life in Alaska is different and I hope you know a little bit more about it.