Welcome to Rural Justified

Welcome to this new Rural Justified website. I am glad you found us, and I hope that the insights and content as well as resources profiled on this web site might resonate with you. Of course, I would welcome hearing from you directly, and look forward to hearing your own stories and observations as well as your suggestions of further resources.

As you make your way through the site, be sure to start with reading my About and Why Rural Justified? pages. I urge you to ponder your own response to my stated rationale and motivation for hosting this Rural Justified website. Take time, and I do mean, take time, to pay attention to the cascade of images and faces and stories evoked by reading this web site focused on “rural.” This includes paying attention as well―and I warn you, it will cost you the time and conscious effort to think about these things―to the cacophony of memories and experiences that may clash with more familiar sentimental images of “rural.” But that’s actually a good thing.

If you choose to keep reading and thinking and feeling, which is no easy feat in a madly consumerist North American culture that excels at dumbing down everyone and anyone en route to the closest shopping mall, you will have found the right place to celebrate and ruminate on things rural in ways that might surprise you and me… and I love surprises.

One final word on navigating your way through this site. Like a leisurely yet attentive walk through a forest, which I was fortunate to do on the edge of Montpelier, Vermont, last weekend, walk through this web site with the same excited sense of anticipation as you would strolling through unfamiliar woods.

I am reminded of a workshop I facilitated seven years ago on The Art of Pastoral Visitation, hosted by the Oklahoma Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church of America, in the town of Weatherford, Oklahoma. With fifty United Methodist pastors and ministers in attendance, I reminded them of the sheer pleasure and delight of “wasting time” visiting people in hospital, in their homes, in the local café, wherever.

Those of us involved in congregational ministry often overlook all the hidden benefits of visiting people―for all parties concerned. This investment in relationships, in spending time with people, which is the stuff of ministry, translates into what sociologists call “social capital.” If we are open, we might indeed be visited by the divine presence that attends our pastoral visitations…if we are open.

Visiting, as many of us know, is integral to rural communities and culture, and that is what this website is all about. So have fun wasting time visiting this new Rural Justified web site. Y’all come back at your own leisure. You’re always welcome here.

Marvin Lee Anderson




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