Nevada is a godless wasteland.
Now, this might not be a surprise to anybody who’s spent any time in Las Vegas, but I have never spent any time in Las Vegas; I’ve driven through it once, and I’ve flown in for a retreat in St George, and the retreat staff put me in a car and drove me straight to Utah before the sin could get me.
So my perceptions of The Silver State are colored by movies and books; I don’t have much in the way of actual experience to guide me.
However, I have determined the godless wastelessness of Nevada via logical induction.
In Arizona, Utah and Colorado, which is where I have lived for the last fifteen years, the Lord’s Prayer is ended with the following phrasing:
“….for Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory…”(pause)
“….forever and ever” (pause) “…amen”.
But here in the East Bay, the locals ends the Lord’s Prayer like this:
“….for Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever” (pause) “…amen”.
Now the reasons for the differences are unclear. It could just be that Californians are in a bigger hurry, because they have to go sit in traffic for two hours to get to their job where they will work for twelve hours to pay six prices for a house two sizes too small. That can leave a fellow feeling kinda impatient, like he doesn’t have time to add an extra pause and the phrase “…and ever”.
Got places to go, traffic to drive in, work to do. God will understand.
But the fact of the differences is itself unimportant. Here’s the thing – how can the differences exist?
If the West was a single continuum, then that would mean that there was some place between Salt Lake City, UT and Pleasanton, CA where the people on one block said “forever and ever, amen” and the people one block to the west said “forever, amen”.
Should such a situation exist, then there would be hurt feelings, arguments, fights and holy wars over which way was the proper way to say the Lord’s Prayer. One town would have the “Forever and Ever Baptist Church” and the town to the west would have the “Church of God of Forever”.
The social and religious tension would be unbearable, and thus one of the versions of the Lord’s Prayer would overwhelm the other, and would migrate west to the Pacific (if that one won) or east to the Great Plains. Folks in Denver would say the same prayer as folks in Marin County.
So this means that there must be some Liturgical Demilitarized Zone; some place in the middle where the folks aren’t saying the Lord’s Prayer at all, and thus nobody is noticing the differences. It would have to be a large area, such that the “Forevers” weren’t rubbing shoulders with the “Forevers and Evers” on a regular basis. People in this theoretical region would have to be busy doing other things with their time together than praying.
And if you can think of a better example of “large place between Utah and California where people wouldn’t pray much” than Nevada, then I’d like to hear about it.
“Forever and ever. Amen”.