Friday, January 08, 2021

A Literal Epiphany On Red State Blue State Cowboy

 January 8, 2021

   It's always darkest just before the dawn, or, so I've been told. With the ridiculous events of this week, I was heartened by an email this morning from a recent subscriber about a painting of mine that ran in the January issue of True West magazine:

Dear Mr. Bell,

   I am not from your area, or even in Arizona.  I live on the Central Coast of California, Los Osos to be exact.  I recently subscribed to True West magazine and saw your artwork and sentiments which were printed above.  Your words are exactly what Americans should be doing.  I am neither red nor blue, having been born in Bowie, Texas and raised in Arkansas, with my family coming from the Fort Smith Area.  I have valued both parties at times, but now we must learn yet again how to be Americans first, and leave politics to a secondary status.  I was a river pilot on the Mississippi system for years, but left it to go to graduate school.  Now I am a United Methodist pastor and clinical pastoral counselor.  I received the magazine on the eve of Epiphany, and our capital was invaded on Epiphany.  Your words were part of the Epiphany that helped me to understand and create some wisdom of how to treat these events of our time personally, and for my congregation and community.  As a person whose vocation is comprised of words, I appreciate your words."
—Blessings, Stephen Meadors

   This is so heartening and hopeful to me. Of course, when this same painting and caption was posted on the True West Facebook page last week, it got ugly fast. Here is the nicest comment I could find:

"I appreciate your opinion True West, but to use an old term, 'we have no truck' with socialist democrats."

   On the other hand, here is a response from one of our contributing editors to Stephen Meadors' letter:

   "Oh, cripe.  Beware those Methodist pastors.  Wes Hardin's daddy is a case in point. But seriously, his viewpoint is more common than we might think.  The great, quiet majority seeks peace and unity in this time of turbulence.  Your art spoke to their hearts."

—Pastor Mark Boardman

"Your religious and political beliefs don't make you a better person. How you treat those different from you is what makes you a good person."

—Russ Shaw, Jr.

   All well and good, but let's don't forget the words of a certain ear biter.

"Everybody has a plan until they've been punched in the mouth."

—Mike Tyson

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