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Rural America

The settlement and development of rural America was driven by a social vision attributed to Thomas Jefferson. He believed that our nation would become primarily characterized by the majority of people living and working on small farms. Nearby, typically within three miles, there would be a village where the farmers could market their products and […] Read More

Over the past decade many rural hospitals have had to close their doors. Reasons cited have included the lack of physicians serving rural communities, high costs of providing care, lower rates of Medicare reimbursement for rural hospitals, issues with Medicaid, cut backs in funds from local and county governments, smallness and the related lack of […] Read More

Those short-sighted people prospering from the abuse of our rural places and peoples are not listening. And they have the ears of our governments. Young men and women from the rural South, Baptist young folk, will be much more highly represented in terms of percentages, if not real numbers, than any other segment of the […] Read More

The Great Plains “Dust Bowl” of the mid-1930s provided a wake-up call for farmers, ranchers and the federal government. The topsoil was being blown off the plains, leaving sterile hardpan behind. Natural resource conservation was added to the agenda of the Department of Agriculture. Through the years, three distinct approaches have been employed—mechanical, chemical and […] Read More

The season of rural church homecomings arrived across the South with the first Sunday in May. Cemeteries are spruced up, church houses and grounds are cleaned up. New carpets are installed, and steeples and church signs are improved. The date for an annual church homecoming was almost always set a generation or two ago, and […] Read More

On May 5, the small town of Aliceville, Ala., will add another event to its community calendar—a Cinco de Mayo celebration. The fun begins at noon with a soccer tournament, followed by a worship service and then a traditional Hispanic meal. The event is sponsored by Aliceville’s Hispanic congregation and the Baptist, Presbyterian and Episcopal […] Read More

Even while the small textile and electronics plants of rural America have been closing, modern agriculture has become increasingly industrialized. Traditionally, family farms produced a healthy assortment of row crops, forage and livestock. Presently, they are being replaced with massive operations that specialize in one or two products. De-industrialization in one facet of the rural […] Read More

The rural sociology department of the University of Missouri asked pastors and lay leaders of about 400 rural churches across that state to list the advantages and disadvantages of rural church life and ministry. Responses seemed to cluster around 10 advantages and 10 disadvantages: Advantages 1. A relational, “like family” atmosphere. The members share many […] Read More

Social ethicist and theologian Reinhold Niebuhr warned us in the mid-20th century that a “free market” economy leads ultimately to monopolies controlled by corporate lords, not to some Adam Smith utopia. A truly free market is too risky. Monopolies ensure large profits for some and feed human avarice. Niebuhr claimed that despite corporate America’s cries […] Read More