John Schmalzbauer's blog

Praying in Joplin

Sunday's tornado broke the heart of the Evangelical Ozarks. The deadliest in fifty years, its devastation continues to horrify.

March Madness in the Evangelical Ozarks

Today March Madness turned into March Sadness in the Evangelical Ozarks as the Missouri State University Bears basketball team went down to defeat at the conference tournament in St. Louis. It was a far cry from the mood just one week ago when the Bears vanquished Wichita State University in front of a hometown crowd of 11,000 that included Congressman Billy Long and Senator Roy Blunt.

Paradoxes of the Evangelical Epicenters

To paraphrase Allen Ginsberg a whole lot, I saw the best minds of my children's generation enrolled in character education classes, basketball leagues, and theater programs, dragging themselves through the streets of Nixa in search of academic achievement and career success.

The disappearing social issues

Whatever happened to the social issues? During the 2006 midterm election, our Ozarks home received numerous mailings from the Republican National Committee and the Missouri Republican Party.  Several focused on abortion and gay marriage....

Fireworks and politics

July 4th is a high holy day in the Evangelical Ozarks. At yesterday's worship service, Springfield's Second Baptist Church reenacted the debate that produced the Declaration of Independence, complete with booing and huzzahs. According to Pastor John Marshall, "No matter how upset we are with the political status quo, as long as we have liberty, we need to celebrate."...

Politics heating up in the Ozarks

For most Americans, the civic rituals of Memorial Day mark the official start of summer. Summer came one week early in Nixa, as Ozarkers gathered to celebrate the delicacy of the lowly sucker fish last Friday and Saturday....

The Sacred Constitution

References to Holy Writ are everywhere in the "buckle of the Bible Belt." While Salon 3:16 and Philippians 4:13 Heating & Air incorporate biblical texts into the names of local businesses, thousands study the scriptures at area Bible colleges, Christian liberal arts...

Bridging Social Differences in the Evangelical Ozarks

This week FOX commentator Glenn Beck criticized churches that speak about "social and economic justice," urging viewers to abandon such congregations.  Not surprisingly, Beck's comments have elicited a firestorm of criticism, including here in the Evangelical Ozarks. In reality, many of the religious groups prevalent in the Ozarks advocate social justice on their web sites, including the...

There is a spectrum

It should go without saying, but not all Nixa residents think alike. Though most are politically conservative, there is a spectrum of opinion. This ideological diversity is apparent on many issues....

Conservative Populism on the March

The passage of the health care bill by the United States Senate is evoking strong reactions in the Evangelical Epicenters. One of the loudest protests comes in the form of a YouTube video by former Branson performer Ray Stevens....