It seems a man in Topeka, Kansas decides to write a book about churches around the country. He starts by flying to San Francisco and working east from there.
He goes to a very large church and begins taking pictures, etc. He spots a golden telephone on a wall and is intrigued with a sign which reads “$10,000.00 a minute.” Seeking out the pastor, he asks about the phone and the sign. The pastor answers that this golden phone is, in fact, a direct line to Heaven, and if he pays the price he can talk directly to God. He thanks the pastor and continues on his way.
As he continues to visit churches in Seattle, Denver, Boise, Milwaukee, Chicago, New York, and on around the United States, he finds more phones with the same sign, and the same answer from each pastor.
Finally, he arrives in the South. Upon entering a church, lo and behold, he sees the usual golden telephone. But THIS time the sign reads “Calls: 25 cents.” Fascinated, he asks to talk to the pastor.
“Reverend, I have been in cities all across the country and in each church I found this golden telephone, and I have been told it is a direct line to Heaven and that I could talk to God, but in the other churches the cost was $10,000.00 a minute. Your sign reads 25 cents a call. Why?”
The pastor, smiling benignly, replies, “Son, you’re in the South now. It’s a local call.”