Rockford and Culture

I just got back from Rockford Ill. on Monday.  I had a great visit there with family and some old friends.  But one of my favorite things about going out to Rockford is the slower pace.  It is remarkable that as soon as you set foot inside the town you know everything has changed.

I flew right into the Rockford airport which is an event in and of itself.  Leaving DIA which is one of the busiest airports in the world where it takes you 45 mins. to get through security and parking is a nightmare; I flew into Rockford where the lady who taxied our plane into the gate was also the same lady who ran the security desk, and ran the one luggage terminal.  I mean she was a one lady airport, I am not making any of this up.  As you get off the plane, which was a small puddle jumper you can not get lost there is only three gates, and parking is right there out the door.

In many ways this airport dichotomy was a good illustration of my time there.  No one I met or talked to had heard of Nalgene bottles and the more I tried to explain what they were the more confused I became as to what is difference between a Nalgene bottle and a water bottle.  And all throughout town you will see a mixture of cornfields and subdivisions.  I mean even the Super Wal-Mart is next to a cornfield.  There is no such thing as traffic there and most roads are two lanes only.  People are more friendly and seem to have more time for relationships and just hanging out.  They work hard and consider it to be a major bonus if there is overtime available at work.  Only 16% of Rockford has a college diploma but many have just as much smarts as any college graduate I know.  Life is just different there.

America is full of so many different cultures and they are closer to us all then a plane ride to Rockford.  The whole time I was there I found myself marinating and thinking about how would I communicate the gospel to these people.  How about the guy I saw at Sam’s Club wearing overall’s and buying more microwavable foods than should be allowed?  How do you build a church or community in a place such as this?  It is easy to see the values and ethics in this culture, hard work, family, stability.  As Christians I think we are all called to exegete the cultures we find ourselves in.  Rockford was a good place for me to practice this weekend and pray for a city that in a weird way I am quite fond of.

ryan

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