THE CHURCH O THE PINES AT PINE POINT is a unique and marvelous place. And it has a history. We were hired as Caretakers by the local squirrels and bluejays 25 years ago, and have done our best to abide by and nurture the spirit of the place since then. On our arrival we did some research and learned that the point with the big pines had been logged in 1929, despite an agreement between the loggers and local conservationists to preserve the property. The agreement was ignored and broken. It is instructive that such agreements are fragile and often broken by humans with dollar signs where their eyeballs should be. One thinks of Minnesota’s treasured Boundary Waters and the exploiters’ new and frantic search for loopholes, now aided by the government itself. In 1929 the oldest pine on our point was 152 years old. The oldest now are about 130. The point will not be logged again.
The Church is interesting in other ways, primarily in the diversity of our humble congregation. We have blackbirds. But we also have redbirds. (Not too many white ones.) We have red squirrels and red foxes, but also gray squirrels and gray foxes. We have, among our bird friends, nearly every color of the rainbow. We have a fabulous diversity of different languages, and some of us cannot always clearly understand what others are saying; although with patience and careful listening we come pretty close.
We have members who are migrants—who travel great distances at great personal risk, often from other countries to the south—because of the perceived benefits of working and raising their families here. I note that not a single one of our northern members seems to hold this against them, or consider these immigrants—many of whom have fabulous personalities, voices, gifts, and talents—to be in any way inferior, or second class citizens. I am proud of our congregation for this openness and inclusiveness and, dare I say, humanity. We were heartened to learn this past week of our Minnesota Methodists, a sister church, taking a similar stand against Powers That Be, and for inclusiveness and love, as our Teacher plainly taught.
To our little church, such things seem obvious and uncomplicated. But then we live in the woods, and most of our members have feathers or fur, which seem to somehow be advantages toward clear thinking. In any case, we are enjoying a gentle, cloudy summer day here at the CHURCH O THE PINES, and we wish you peace and beauty and Good Sabbath wherever you are.