in Branson, on signs, in gift shop trinkets, t shirts, shows, and billboards. There seems to be a little bit of him everywhere you look and on the main drag churches share the billing with music groups, animal shows, and the hollywood wax museum. In some ways he’s the unseen star of this little town tucked in the heart of the Bible belt.
Coming from the rest of the world its kind of odd, Jesus everywhere and people talking about him like they mean it and not just after hitting their thumb with a hammer. In Branson Jesus is just part of the deal, along with stores that sell knives, ozark buffets, and rich guys who pretend to be hillbillies for two shows a day.
It could be, of course, that I just come from up north where that kind of thing doesn’t happen as much. We don’t get a whole lot of Jesus billboards in Minnesota or restaurants with scriptures on the menu. Perhaps I’m just as much a fish out of water and someone driving up here from Arkansas might be. For sure it does take a certain amount of adjustment to take it all in.
Certainly if I don’t always understand or appreciate the whole tourist trap Jesus on bumper stickers and key chains sort of thing I appreciate the desire behind at least some of it. For some its probably just about what sells but for others it seems that at least some people think enough of Jesus to talk about him outside of church. There are true believers in these hills, regular folks who are trying to find their way through life and are looking to Jesus to show them how. I can respect that even if i don’t get all the trappings.
And if the truth be known I hope they would be able to respect me looking out over Table Rock lake, prayer rope in hand, and pondering the silence. I have my trappings too and I could just imagine what a person from the First Free Will Missionary Baptist Church in some small town would think when they walked through the doors at St. George.
Still, an onion dome or two down there might look nice…