Sign of the times
February 22 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Sign of the times | Friday, Feb. 22, 2002

Friday, Feb. 22, 2002

Sign of the times

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

A recent meeting of state paper editors gave my family an opportunity to explore the southwestern environs surrounding Albuquerque, N.M. We reveled in the broad vistas broken by rocky mesas and snow-capped mountains jutting straight from the high plains. Local plant life in February offered little color, but the stark cliffs wore bands of cream and red, peach and burgundy and brown.

We scrambled through ancient Indian cliff-dwellings, walked through a recreated uranium mine, and ate burritos for breakfast. I attended meetings while the others shopped and visited museums.

One thing I will not forget is a sign we passed on "the Turquoise Trail," a back road leading north from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. Just a few miles north of the artsy, hippie village of Madrid, we crested a ridge and saw two low but expansive buildings at the top of the next hill, one on either side of the road. Both looked like school buildings but were surrounded by heavy-duty fences capped with razor wire.

"Aha," I thought, "this must be a state penitentiary."

As we drew closer, my suspicions were confirmed by a large and hilarious sign warning drivers against picking up hitchhikers.

Evidently, prison officials had so little confidence in their ability to keep inmates inside the fence that they had to caution motorists against aiding and abetting escapees.

I laughed until I realized that we often have the same problem with keeping people in church. We don't try to hold church members with physical fences, of course, but with communal bonds of friendship and worship, inspiration and encouragement, inclusion and on-mission involvement.

When those things aren't happening, we might as well put up a sign.

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2/22/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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