Here's the second in a series of photos and stories submitted by my brother, Jim King. Excerpted from his upcoming book, tentatively titled Abandoned Arkansas. His notes on the photo follow the story.
Copyright 2008, from Abandoned Arkansas, by Jim King
CHANGES OF THE AGES
They’re coming. I can feel it.
I’ve been here for what seems like a thousand years.
People came in to sing, people came in to talk. People listened, people cried. I don’t really get much credit. I am, after all, only a building.
But people change. They go through periods of enthusiasm, darkness, mirth, dearth. Death. Birth. Mirthdeathdearthbirth.
I like the way those words sound together.
I’ve been listening to people’s words since I was built. Born.
People talk a lot and I see the results. Mostly I’m not impressed.
They call me a house of God.
What do these people know of God?
What do they know of anything but themselves? All they do is tell each other what they can and can’t do, why they’re right, what will happen when they’re wrong.
That they do it without my consent isn’t surprising.
House of God.
What a lie.
I am a building, simple as that. What they say means nothing without something behind it.
Faith? Oh, that’s useful, to an extent.
Oh, please. God has a hard enough time adhering to their principles.
How about Truth? Fairness? Understanding of others?
I see and hear little of that.
And now it comes to this.
I’ve heard the talk. I’m not stupid, you know.
You should know. You taught me to listen. And if you had the ear, you’d know that you’ve taught me to talk.
So Now I’m Talking.
Open me back up. For almost twenty years I’ve been closed, silent, alone. I have so much to tell. Even if you don’t hear me directly.
I’ll be destroyed next week. That I know. The highway has to be widened, and where my congregation parked is now only a way station for those machines that will take my life.
I expect to live again. I will rise in the minds of those who would preserve the ideals of fairness. Of Goodness. Of Truth.
I only wish I could be there to laugh about our triumph with you.
I fully expect to meet those that hear me on the other side.
from Jim's notes:
The church is in Sweet Home in Montgomery County. I took the photo with and without the road grader (I merely changed my position), and had been looking for abandoned churches that day. I had no intention to use the photo with the tractor, but upon seeing the photo for the first time, had the virtual apple hit me on the head. Don’t worry; the church is in no danger and is apparently being cared for, though no services are presently being held.