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Reports From The Road Less Covered: Atascadero

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(Atascadero, CA)
Friday, September 24, 2010

This past week, I was lost, and ended up at the Atascadero Bible Church parking lot with no cell phone reception---meaning I couldn't Mapquest my way back to highway 101. And so I got out of my car to ask for directions, and ended up meeting a tall man, with glasses, a wide smile and a slight gap between his teeth.

ABLES: My name is Jay Ables and I'm a pastor.

During my brief time with Jay, I watched him pastor, parent, counsel, groundskeep and put away folding tables. And even though it was two o clock in the afternoon, Jay still had a full day of work ahead of him.

ABLES: Matter of fact, we have a young couple that are somewhat new to our house today that are somewhat new to the church, and we want to get to know them and allow them to get to know us. You know, if that family that is at my house today, feels a little bit more connected to the church, and a little bit more closer in their walk with God because they are connected to the church, then we've accomplished something because we shared the love of God with them.

Pastors report working between 55 and 75 hours a week, often ministering at nights and on their days off. The irony is Jay says he quit his other job as a federal employee because he worked too much and wanted to spend more time with his family. He says he's working a lot more these days because so many in his community are jobless and need spiritual or financial help from his church. He says he knows what he wants to hear from Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman in their campaigns for governor.

ABLES: First and foremost what are they going to do to get the economy turned around. What are they going to do to balance the budget? What are they going to do to reduce the deficits? What are they going to do to bring jobs to California?

Jay, like many other evangelicals around the state, is also upset about the Proposition 8 court ruling, and whether the law banning same sex marriage will be overturned. He says he's actually open to both candidates on that issue.

ABLES: I don't expect Jerry Brown to stand up and say he's for Prop 8 and that's he going to do something differently or to suddenly become Pro-Life. I don't expect that. But where is the place of that in the government arena? I guess that would be the question, and Meg Whitman's the same way. 

And with that, Jay had to cut our conversation short to play the part of Church Office Secretary.

Jay Ables is a pastor at Atascadero Bible Church. His two top issues in the Governor's race are the economy, and prop 8. And by the way, Jay talked to me as long as I promised to make it clear those are his personal opinions, and not those of his churches. So there you go Jay, promise kept.
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