There are 8,600 total residents in Graham County. Subtract a thousand or so for the tiny tots, another few thousand for the 1/2 year cabin dwellers paying tax on their properties, another few thousand for those who are clean from drugs altogether, another thousand or so who have legitimate paliative needs, leaving us with, say, 4,300 or so. How’s my math? Now, divide that into 885,800 opioids prescribed for Graham County last year. That’s prescribed, mind you. The drug industry, besides the meth labs and heroin dealers (we’re behind the times here), is all about people taking prescription meds WITHOUT a prescription, buying the pills on the street, you know, cut with fentanyl, maybe a bit of heroin. Besides the open and protected moonshining (“dry county” laws protect the industry), the economy is all about drugs. We get needles in our church parking lot. Few use needles (its relatively more difficult). The irony is, people come here to get away from the drugs. Some pain relief is legitimate of course, even life saving, necessary. I know that.
If you look up a graph of this kind of drug use, you’ll see it absolutely skyrocketed after 2008, when people fell for the absolute entitlement brainwashing and subsequent depression and low self-esteem. It doesn’t help when a percentage of the backwater churches scream out that everybody is going to hell no matter what because that’s what’s in the Bible. But it’s not. That’s blasphemy. Jesus didn’t die for nothing. Sometimes I think that some “ministers” are simply political operatives who dumb people down and turn them away from religion as if this were their only purpose in life. They’re not political operatives, but, wow, you’d be tempted to think ole George Soros had a mountain retreat here. Oh wait! (I don’t know). It’s just that, I mean, can anyone be that mean and that ignorant of what’s in the Bible? I feel so sorry for them. They are truly sheep without a shepherd. But they are all my parish in a way, right? I’m to want to share with them the greatest love of my life, the Lord Jesus, right?
For years, decades really, I’ve been ruminating about evangelization in just such a place as this. I got a call just the other day which may coincide with this rumination, indeed, with what I see as the great need in this area. Anyway, do you have any ideas? Don’t think that the Legion of Mary hasn’t already bloodied their knuckles knocking on EVERY single door in the county! Jesus is working on people. And they are chomping at the bit wanting to know more. But we have to make it easy for them to learn. To be Catholic in this area is not at all politically correct. Prison ministry is one way. Visiting the sick and shut-ins another. O.K. But… Also, I’ve got swaths of two other counties.