God's Country


A man in Kansas decided to write a book about churches around the United States. He started by flying to New York City and working west from there.

Going to a very large church in the city, he began taking photographs and making notes. He spotted a golden telephone on the vestibule wall and was intrigued by the sign that read, "Calls: $10,000 a minute."

Seeking out the pastor, he asked about the phone and the sign. The pastor answered that the golden phone was, in fact, a direct line to heaven, and, if he paid the price, he could talk directly to God.

The man thanked the pastor and continued on his way. When he visited churches in Chicago, Dallas, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and elsewhere, he found more phones, all with the same sign and the same answer from each pastor.

Finally, he arrived in Washington State. Upon entering a cathedral he saw the usual golden telephone, but this time the sign read "Calls: 35 cents."

Fascinated, he asked to talk to the pastor, but as it happened the bishop was available. "Bishop, I have been in cities all across the country, and in each church I have found this golden telephone and been told it is a direct line to Heaven and to talk to God. But in the other churches, the cost was $10,000 a minute. Your sign reads only 35 cents a call. Why?"

The priest, smiling benignly, replied: "Son, you're in the State of Washington now, home of Mount Rainier, Puget Sound, the Olympic Peninsula, Starbucks, smoked salmon, and the most beautiful nature this side of heaven. You're in God's Country and it's a local call!"

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