The Epistle to California's Refugees

This is a short piece of creative writing that I started a few weeks ago.
I’ve spent a lot of time in 1 Peter lately, getting ready for my next preaching series, so the format of the letter is similar to that of 1 Peter (I’ve included hyperlinks in bold to all of the biblical references). It’s something of a “tongue in cheek” letter to those dear friends who have left California (California’s Refugees) to seek greener pastures in “redder” states.
I hope you enjoy it :-).

Pastor Drew along with the faithful remnant left behind in the "People's Republic of California,"

To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Texas, Idaho, Tennessee, etc. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I want you to know that I thank God in all of my remembrancof you and that I continually pray for you. Whether your journey has taken you to the upper reaches of northern Idaho, the big state of Texas, or the far reaches of Tennessee, you are no less near to my heart.

I am thrilled to hear of the newly rediscovered political, economic, and cultural freedoms that you have found in your new home states. It must be a relief to have straws available when you go out to eat, plastic bags to take your groceries home in, and a state government with some common sense. In short, I am glad that you are doing well.

It has been reported to me by "Chloe's people," that some of you may be wondering why we have chosen to stay in California. For me, there are four reasons that immediately come to mind (Careers, Community, Counties, and Calling).

  • Careers - There are quite a few people here who's careers simply require them to live in California (i.e. my wife's job only exists in California). There is also the question of income. I know that the cost of living is significantly lower in other states, but it seems that this benefit is often offset by a lower salary. For example, the average salary of a Correctional Officer in California is $77,520. The average salary of a Correctional Officer in Idaho is $37,800. For some of us, the difference between these two salaries is too great to make a move possible. In short, while we abhor high taxes and high gas prices, we are still making more money here than we would anywhere else.
  • Community - While all of the benefits of moving to another state are certainly enticing, I can't escape the fact that most of the people that I love most in this world live in California. Most of my family lives in California and all of my church family lives in California. I have several church members who's roots in this community run all the way back to the gold rush. Those kinds of roots have a way of anchoring you to a location.
  • Counties - California is a solidly democratic state and will likely remain so for a very long time. Nonetheless more than 13.3 Million Californians voted for the Republican ticket in the last election. That’s nearly twice the population of Tennessee and Idaho combined, which means that there are nearly twice as many conservatives in California as their are people in Idaho and Tennessee.  Many of those conservatives are clustered in various counties throughout the state (i.e. El Dorado , Kern , Yorba Linda, etc.). Even in “Red States” the city or county that you live in has a massive influence on the way you live your life. It wasn’t too long ago that the mayor of Houston issued sobpoenas for the sermons of multiple pastors within the city, threatening pastors who did not comply with being held in contempt of court. Of course, we don't need to look any further back than the last few weeks to be reminded of the truth that there really is no place for conservatives to hide, now that the entire federal government is in the hands of the left. In some ways, it seems that we all live in California now. I guess the point is that even within the "People's Republic of California" there are still many safe places for conservatives to gather, live, and even thrive. 
  • Calling - The famous missionary CT Studd used to say, “Some want to live within the sound of church and chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.” It's no secret that the great state of California has been steadily making its way closer and closer to the gaping mouth of hell. It's also true that California continues to lead the way for the rest of the country. In other words, what happens here will eventually happen throughout the country. For some of us, we sense God's calling on our lives to stay and to put up as much of a "last defense" as we can, remembering that if God can save the wicked city of Nineveh, he can surely save Sacramento.

I guess the main thing that I would like you to know is that I totally understand your desire to leave and start a new life and I am so glad to hear that you are doing well. I just hope that you can also understand our decision to stay. We know that we are fighting a losing battle, but we are doing the best that we can.

I know that it's easy to make fun of California and to talk about how glad you are to finally be out of here, but I would just like to lovingly remind you that many of God's people still call California home. So, rather than running down our home state, perhaps you would be willing to join us in simply praying for the good of this place, that God would be kind enough to grant our leaders repentance and wisdom to do a better job than they have.

In the meantime, those of us who remain in "Babylon" continue to send our greetings and our deepest love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.