Cowboy Hypocrisy

Over the years of my wanderings I have had the misfortune of being present during what is misnamed a ‘Cowboy Service.’ These services tend to based on some Christian service, but never seem to elevate to actual worship. Most such services are held in and around the western parts of these united States. However, I suspect they may show up any where.

I recently was made aware that there is a published ‘Cowboy Bible.’ I have seen a copy of this piece of work, but have yet to open it. So, I will save any comments on it for another time. It simply should be noted that all of the dissenting sects have their own version of a bible. Each is written [translated] to rationalize and substantiate the sects own dogma. Most are terribly infantile and so poorly written as to bring tears to the eyes of more sensitive beings.

As for the ‘Cowboy Services,’ each has its own peculiarities, but the ‘minister’ is usually a well dressed movie, urban, or drug-store type. He, less often she, extols the virtues of the cowboy. Apparently, this creature is God’s favorite. It appears that God has given up on shepherds since cowboys came along. Yes, sheep are range maggots and do not mix with cattle. Most actual ranging examples show this to be false as well.

Cowboys are close to God, call on him daily, and thank him for saving themselves and the cattle they work. These guys are patriotic also. They are the ‘my country, right or wrong’ crowd. These are hard working Christian men (or boys) that are the salt of the earth and the knitting that holds the world together. At least that is the picture one gets from these ‘Cowboy Services’ with their ministers in boots.

All of the above gives me a good laugh.  Once again, the deception of these ministers and the gullibility of the masses make for highly humorous behaviors.

One need delve very briefly into the literature to discover something slightly different. A prime example comes from Andy Adams who wrote ‘The Log of a Cowboy; A narrative of the old trail days.’ As a sixteen year old, Adams left the San Antonio area to work with some cowmen and boys. They took charge of a herd in south Texas and moved up the western trail to Montana. Adams’ book is a travel log of his journey and one of the best documents of actual cowboy life and ways in the early trail driving days.

Adams’ writes that during one river crossing a young fellow is drowned. The crew finds his body and one of the boys knows the family. It would seem that the mother, described as a ‘Christian woman,’ has lost two other sons to drowning in the Red River. The boys decide to give this poor unfortunate a decent burial, so that it can be reported back to the mother that the boys had done the best they could by her son. So, one of the boys heads off toward the nearest town for a coffin while a couple of others begin to dig the grave.

Then Adams’ writes the most profound line. He writes, ‘There was not a man among us who was hypocrite enough to attempt to conduct a Christian burial service…’ Instead they send a rider to a wagon train of immigrants, one of which is described as a ‘superannuated minister who gladly volunteered his services.’ Well, the funereal goes off well as the minister’s daughters sang hymns and the word struck the hearts of all the boys.

What stands out here is the attitude that the boys had concerning their own standing before God. They were not hypocritical enough to believe they could pull off a Christian service. In other words, these simple boys who followed cows for living were humble enough to stand down and let God provide. This He did by having a ‘superannuated minister’ in the area.

Did they have a special service just for themselves? No. Did they have a specially written bible just for themselves? No. Did they dress like move or urban or drugstore imitations? No, they were the real thing. They simply waited on God and humbled themselves before the great mystery which no man can grasp.


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