DAY 5:

Spent the day on gravel roads going up and down hills. We camped on a broad grassy shoulder between road and creek, a mile or so from Holton. I had only started to make camp when I lay down to sleep in the old rut of a tractor tire. Reba and Jill slept on either side of me, like right next to me (Reba on the other side of a rope that made up her portable pen). While we slept, a man named Ted passed by on his way home from work. Ted didn’t stop, but returned a few hours later with his grandson Cody. Ted also brought a sack of produce from his garden, and a bag of dog food for Jill. I thanked Ted for his kindness and gave Cody a ride on Reba. I also gave Ted one of my cards and explained what I was about. And because Ted had Hispanic roots, it was only natural that he felt a little uncomfortable. He didn’t say so but, along with his good nature, his discomfort was obvious. I assured him of my belief that we are all God’s children, and I explained that my people had been dwindling for decades and I was only trying to help them survive. Then as now, I am doing my best to deliver a truth that God has shown me. It helps to start with a definition of culture: Culture begins with love and loyalty for one’s people and their way of life. Culture, as God intended it, is human poetry in motion, rich with mannerisms and ways of expression not defined by statements of income, or even by great works of art, but rather by what we hold dear in our hearts. Though love and loyalty, sense of appreciation, and of belonging, a strong cultural bond makes for peace and harmony in small town America, something that big cities, for all their power and wealth, cannot honestly claim. Culture, not as defined by those who look for it in art museums, or in Hollywood movies, or Fifth Avenue adds, but rather, real flesh and blood culture is a gift, from God, given to the smallest, that we may have peace, harmony, and happiness.

Unfortunately, those who would install a singular-super-culture that all must bow to, have gutted our children’s God-given right to feel good about where they come from, what they’re made of, and who they are. The void created in these kids is then filled with the values of a system that seeks obscene amounts of power, money, and control. We have allowed ourselves to be undermined. As a result, we are in a landslide cultural collapse; and when the smoke clears, what will remain of the gift that holds us together?

As a scout for my people, I have walked through the aftermath of a cultural collapse; broken glass, trash, and angry graffiti in amounts that have to be seen to be believed, with gang activity, vandalism, drugs, and child prostitution in plain sight, in a two-hundred mile stretch of desert; towns with no cultural bond, a mishmash of unhappy peoples, caught in a political warzone between socialist and capitalist forces. This was not the slow decay we all have seen; this was the end result of decay, being collapse. Saving what we love begins with one small step, taken in faith (God is waiting). How do we step? Jesus became the light of the world by being a man of His people, not by being a worldly man. This does not mean we are against other peoples, we are not. In fact, we never get credit for kindness to others among us even though it happens all the time, but let there be some racial incident and our enemies jump at the chance to hate us. We are a humble people (as proven by the way in which we have so quietly dwindled). Our little towns and farms are dying in a world that is too big to see how a life-sustaining bushel of grain is grown in the land of the free. For a golden bushel of grain sprouts not only from good soil and hard work, but from social stability, itself sprouted from the unity of a people bound by love and loyalty. It's a beautiful thing, and it feeds the world.

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