The following is the text of a message delivered during worship by ESR student Travis Etling on September 22, 2015.
(Daniel and Travis)
Description of Cornville
I want to start this morning with a story. And before I tell the story, I want to give you the context for the story – because I was paying attention in my biblical studies classes and I know that context is everything! I also want to minimize or at least contextualize my own questionable behavior in this story.
The context for this story is a sheep ranch in Cornville Arizona circa 1984; which is where I grew up - from early grade school through early high school. Let me paint a quick picture for you. First of all, there is no corn in Cornville. Local legend has it that the founders of the town were named Coen. When the clerk recorded the name of the town over the phone, she assumed the Coen’s were saying “corn” with a southern accent. This is a highly dubious explanation I know, but that’s the story.
Cornville is in the high desert. There are rugged mountains, scrubby trees like mesquite and juniper. Cornville is in the Verde Valley, which means “green valley” in Spanish so it’s not your typical desert scene – no sand dunes or saguaro cacti – its actually quite green depending on the year. There is quite a bit of surface water. Our property was sandwiched between an irrigation ditch along the top of the ten acre pasture and the Oak Creek river which ran along the bottom of our ranch. The pasture was actually flood irrigated - which is why there is no more water in the Western United States. Actually the golf courses in Nevada and Phoenix probably have more to do with that. Anyway, you have a sense of the physical landscape – rugged but also lots of room to run and play and grow gardens and raise sheep – really very idyllic.